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Preparing for yoga poses for pain management at home with laptop and fitness mat.

Helpful Yoga Poses for Pain Management

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:

Cat/Cow Pose

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.

Warrior II

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. 

Side Twist

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.

Fish Pose

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.

A silhouette of a woman meditating while facing a sunset, wondering how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.

How Mindfulness Helps With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is more than just pain for many people. The pain is bad enough, but dealing with it on a daily or near daily basis can lead to frustration, depression, and anger. While thinking about the pain even more than you already do may seem like a strange approach, there’s actually a great deal to be said for the effectiveness of mindful practices when it comes to this type of pain.

Rather than putting the emphasis on how much you want the pain to be gone, it can be beneficial to observe the pain with curiosity instead. By observing the pain this way, it may make it easier to understand and deal with.  Here is how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.

Techniques of Mindfulness that May Help

Being mindful of the pain can be enormously helpful for many people, and there are many ways to do so. Chronic pain can be understood, and mindfulness practices are the tools to doing so for many people.

Some of the most efficient tools for mindfulness include:

  • Proper breathing techniques: With proper breathing, a person can become much more grounded, and they can also change their focus. This can start as simply as breathing in with the phrase “in,” and then slowly exhaling with the phrase “out.” Putting all the emphasis on the breathing can help with both the physical and the mental/emotional part of the pain.
  • Meditation: Meditation is something that many people assume to be complicated and time consuming, but it can be as simple as taking a few minutes just for yourself each day. Allow yourself a few moments to be alone, to be still, and to place the mental focus deep within yourself. Some meditation techniques can be specially targeted to deal with the pain, honing in on it so that you can fight back effectively.
  • Yoga: Yoga has been enormously helpful for many people who are suffering from chronic pain. Not only does it allow you to stretch and strengthen the body, but it also allows you to tackle the pain in a very mindful way. Many different types of yoga exist, and one of them is likely going to be an excellent way to fight back against the pain in a mindful and focused way.

Dealing with chronic pain and want to do so in a more focused and mindful way? The team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers is ready to help. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created. Call anytime to arrange an appointment if you have anymore questions about how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.