How Yoga Can Help Reduce Pain

Over the last decade yoga has been hailed a stress reducer, hangover cure and pain management resource. America has begun to embrace this ancient healing tradition as a staple in daily health and wellness. Long defined as an alternative method of healing, yoga is making head way in modern medicine and looking to garner credibility, awareness and more enthusiastic yogis.

A recent study involving the use of yoga to treat chronic back pain, an ailment that affects millions of Americans every year, was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealing that healthy doses of exercise and routines that develop core muscles can help reduce pain and improve body functioning.

“Our bodies are a design for movement, and yoga done right can really support a balanced body,” Mary Ann Morrissey, certified yoga and Pilates instructor, said. “Every muscle has its job and if a muscle is weak it probably means somewhere else in the body another muscle has to work harder.”

At the end of the 12-week trial period, participants in the Internal Medicine study reported feeling significantly lesser low back pain symptoms, better functionality and less difficulty in performing daily activities.

“Yoga, taught properly, provides strength and flexibility,” Morrissey said. “Good diaphragmatic breathing can release and relax connective tissue, which can help reduce pain.”

In conjunction with traditional therapy forms, yoga can offer patients an increased quality of life, especially in areas of chronic pain.

“Yoga in general addresses balance of the muscle groupings important for the relief and prevention of back pain,” Dr. Dale Buegel, Milwaukee-based psychiatrist and longtime Hatha yoga teacher and practitioner, said. “Balancing abdominal strength with back extensors, hip flexors with hip extensors, and strengthening the pelvic floor are keys to pelvic and back symmetry.”

The body’s reaction to pain has long been studied by physicians and kinesiologists pinpointing its reaction to injury. Now with the introduction of yoga, healing the body is more accessible.

“When one experiences pain, the first reaction of the muscle is to tighten up and splint the area,” Buegel said. “If the pain is not relieved and chronic tightness remains, the body will add support with more fascia (connective tissue), decreasing flexibility and function of the area. Inactivity or weakness of muscles leads to loss of tissue and is often associated with sedentary activity, loss of postural support and all the associated medical problems and loss of function that tend to plague our culture as we get older.”

Yoga is quickly becoming a $6 billion industry. With studios popping up all over the country, critics are forced to take a second look at its potential, especially with contemporary studies attesting to its powerful healing abilities.

Intensive stretching is an integral way to bring form and functionality back into the human framework.

“For the body, this means improving symmetry through addressing length or strength imbalances of the musculature and restrictions of connective tissue,” Buelgel said.

Aging America is an area Buegel says is in the greatest need of strengthening treatments like yoga and stretching.

“Business wise, the largest potential market for yoga is our aging population,” Buegel said. “Developing yoga routines for an aging population can serve humanity well. Our culture views decrepitude with aging as the norm. I think the practice of yoga changes that belief for many who experience yoga’s benefits.”

By: Jourdan Miller | Image: Weheartit

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  1. plus you get a yoga butt :)

  2. Yes that's so much true that yoga removes your body strains....I have been doing it for quite a long time and did find yoga helpful in many ways.

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