Yoga Treatment for Chronic Pain Patients

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Chronic pain has impacted the lives of many. Chronic pain is not limited just to back pain or arthritis. It is inclusive of many other illnesses and conditions such as cancer, for example. Common symptoms of chronic pain include fatigue, stress, insomnia and a narrower range of mobility. Yoga has recently been more commonly used in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and wellness centers as a therapeutic technique.

Yoga employs gentle movement, breath, and awareness to help harbor and nourish the connection between the mind and the body. Yoga is a common technique that helps improve everyday life and relieve people of stress, insomnia, fatigue, and pain.

Yoga for Pain: A Whole-Body Concept

The overall approach to chronic pain (long-term pain), is a holistic concept. It is not a mere physical problem that can be addressed and remedied by medication swiftly. Rather, it is also influenced by our thoughts, emotions, stress, and inner workings of our mind.  It is significantly different from acute pain, also known as short-term pain, and needs to be addressed differently. To deal with chronic pain, there needs to be a change in your lifestyle in order to manage your pain in the long run. To heal discomfort in the mind that’s related to chronic pain, movement, breadth, relaxation and meditation are good places to start.

Yoga is an exercise where you can easily change the intensity in order to cater to your comfort and level of mobility. Even if you are a patient who has been bed-ridden or limits your mobility, you can start practicing yoga by doing just the breathing portion. That itself will help you deal with your pain, stress, and insomnia.


Yoga for Pain: Stress Reduction

Stress is accentuated with pain, and vice versa. With stress, muscles in the body start to become tense and tight, breathing becomes uneven and fast, and mood strays from a happy state. The stretches and movement in yoga will improve your flexibility, thus relaxing your muscles and your body. Yoga allows for easy simple and steady breathing. This allows the body to shift from a fight-or-flight mode to a more relaxed and calm state. Because of the shaky breathing that’s often a result of chronic pain, less oxygen is allowed to flow into the body, which implies an increase of toxins in the body.

Yoga involves slow deep breathing, which will exercise the lungs, the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles. This increases the oxygen flow into the body, and with practice, it will also ensure better breathing technique for the future. More oxygen in the body implies enhanced blood circulation to the brain, allowing for a cleaner and clearer mind. Releasing the breath in a powerful manner that’s done in yoga also allows one to push out tension and anxiety, instantly bettering your mood.

Yoga and Understanding Pain versus Suffering

With yoga, pain and suffering are two different things. While pain correlates with the physical aspect, suffering is more relevant with mental pressure. Yoga strengthens the bond between the body and mind and helps renew comfort and control of the body. By training the mind and body to act in unison, both aspects learn to react less harshly towards sensations of pain. While pain killers do not always work and often lose their effect, the benefits of yoga only improve with time. Doing any type of physical activity releases endorphins which bind to the receptors on your brain, thus decreasing your perception of your pain. At this angle, yoga can be considered a natural pain-killer. Yoga will not only help you manage your pain, but will also help you lead a more happier and fluent lifestyle.

Yoga is just one of the ways that you can keep yourself healthy when dealing with chronic pain. To supplement yoga, a positive outlook, healthy eating habits, and plenty of water will do wonders with pain management.

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