Yoga: A Pain-Free Lifestyle
In terms of integrative approaches to treating pain, many scientists and researchers have begun examining common lifestyle practices that are practical for people to implement in their daily routines. This week, I wanted to go over yoga, which consists of a group of mental, spiritual, and physical practices from ancient India. Today, yoga is typically used as a mind-body and exercise practice, especially in the Western world. It combines breath control, movements, and meditation in order to strengthen and stretch muscles. Yoga sessions usually take place over the course of forty five to ninety minutes.
Many studies have demonstrated that yoga relieves chronic pain, especially with arthritis, fibromyalgia, knee osteoarthritis, neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and lower back pain. One study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that weekly yoga classes improved mobility among those with chronic lower back pain than among those with standard treatment. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of several studies found that daily function among people with fibromyalgia was improved with yoga. However, yoga does have its risks, just like other exercise routines. It can contribute to the destabilization of joints, exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome, and contribute to tendonitis. However, these risks can be prevented if yoga participants work with their yoga instructors on an individual basis to determine what exercises work best for them and their experience level.
Although yoga is not a one stop shop to treating chronic pain, it is certainly a healthy practice that will contribute to a healthier, higher quality life. Overall, evidence based non-pharmacologic forms of care are important components of a comprehensive pain management program. By critically evaluating the merits of yoga and other similar modalities of care, we are able to provide the highest quality of care while also minimizing the likelihood of prescription abuse and addiction.