Yoga has increasingly become established as an effective method for relieving some physical stress and pain. At Alliance Spine & Pain Centers, we are dedicated to the pursuit of innovative solutions that give you real relief from chronic, long-term pain. Here are our top yoga poses for pain management, as part of an integrated plan for interventional pain management.
Why Yoga Works
“Decreasing stressful feelings and emotional reactions to stress lowers levels of cortisol, the main human stress hormone,” Carrie Janiski, DO, a yoga teacher and the director of sports and musculoskeletal medicine at Romeo Medical Clinic in Turlock, CA explained to Healthline. “This has a positive impact on levels of inflammation throughout the body, including joints that are affected by [rheumatoid arthritis].”
Beyond the physical sources of chronic pain, thoughts, emotions, memories, and other mental influences may also contribute. “The best way to unlearn chronic stress and pain responses,” asserts Yoga International, “is to give the mind and body healthier responses to practice.”
Restorative Yoga is an opportunity to hold simple poses, relax deeply, connect with the body, and alleviate pain issues. Benefits highlighted by the Chopra Center include:
- Heightened body awareness
- Soothing of the nervous system
- Strengthening of acceptance and detachment
Experts at Harvard Health agree, highlighting scientific studies that indicate weekly yoga practice can increase mobility, improve daily function, and raise psychosocial well-being.
What Are the Best Yoga Poses for Pain Management?
When beginning any new practice, going slowly, listening to your body, and staying in consultation with your pain specialist is of utmost importance. But if you feel you’re ready to start, here are some simple yoga positions we’ve found may be helpful:
Chakravakasana, or Cat/Cow pose is highly recommended for those with back pain. Begin on your hands and knees, and flex the spine through its full length first toward the floor, and then up to the ceiling.
Side Body Stretch
A gentle side body stretch can strengthen and relieve all the muscles around and between your ribs. Clasp your hands over your head, facing forward, and lean to one side, then the other.
Legs up the Wall
The name of this pose may make you want to climb the wall, but the benefits could help you lie down with greater comfort. Yoga Journal has solid recommendations for making this pose work for you.
Abundant with the powerful energy of its name, Warrior II can strengthen muscles throughout the arms, core, chest, and legs, while simultaneously allowing the lower back to release and relieve pain at the same time.
Popular for spine and hip pain relief, the Side Twist (illustrated here by Yoga Basics) can be executed on the floor or in a chair.
Modified Downward Facing Dog
It may feel challenging to get both hands and feet on the floor at the same time, but Downward Facing Dog can also be modified by leaning against a chair or table.
Though it may involve a pillow, rolled blanket, or yoga block for support, done properly, Verywell Fit assures this pose “stretches the front of your body, including the chest, abs, hip flexors, neck, and back, and engages parts of the body that are often neglected, even within yoga’s asanas.”
For a deeper discussion of how yoga and/or other exercises may work to help resolve your chronic pain as part of your custom pain management plan, please reach out to us online or give us a call at 770-929-9033.