Home Health & Wellness 5 Yoga Poses That Will Help Ease Chronic Pain

5 Yoga Poses That Will Help Ease Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain can be overwhelming, affecting almost every aspect of your life. Not only does the physical pain impair your ability to function normally and perform routine tasks, but it also adds to your stress and anxiety, which leads to a vicious cycle. This makes yoga one of the best forms of physical therapy, as it can dramatically lower stress levels, reducing the risk of chronic pain. The benefits of yoga can be even more direct, as some studies suggest that yoga works at a neural level, increasing grey matter and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. By doing so, yoga raises your pain threshold, while promoting flexibility and widening your range of motion. 

With reduced stress, natural pain relief, and increased mobility, yoga addresses every concern raised by chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and inflammatory bowel disease. While most yoga poses will help, there are some that are particularly beneficial for chronic pain. 

Here are five yoga poses for chronic pain relief:

Corpse pose (savasana) 

The corpse pose is popular as a resting pose to catch your breath between or during sessions. It’s extremely relaxing and raises self-awareness as it strengthens your focus on each part of your body. The strengthening of focus and the conscious relaxation of every muscle help to dramatically lower stress levels and release any muscular tension in the body. It works in a manner similar to progressive muscle relaxation, which is used in both stress reduction programmes and therapies to manage chronic pain

Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana)

The downward-facing dog is one of the best known yoga poses and it’s extremely effective at managing chronic back pain. The forward bending action helps counter the forces of gravity on the spine, while it also draws the abdominals in to strengthen them. Building the abdominal or core muscles is important when you’re dealing with chronic back pain, as it eases pressure on the spine and lower back. 

Upward-facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana)

This is another pose that is particularly helpful for anyone dealing with chronic back pain, as it stretches the abdominal muscles and builds strength in the torso. This is important as muscle weakness in the region increases the risk of problems like sciatica. As the Upward Facing Dog stretches the chest and lungs, it is also regarded as beneficial for chronic respiratory conditions like asthma. 

Cobra pose (bhujangasana)

The cobra pose is helpful for a variety of chronic pain disorders as it strengthens the spine, stretches the chest and shoulders, and stimulates the gastrointestinal system. In addition to helping lower stress levels, the pose is regarded as therapeutic for sciatica pain and asthma. It is also regarded as helpful for women who suffer from severe menstrual pain symptoms caused by conditions like endometriosis or PCOS. Studies show that the regular practice of yoga can relieve menstrual pain, reducing both pain severity and duration.

Seated spinal twist (ardha matsyendrasana)

This yoga pose is particularly beneficial for anyone who suffers from inflammatory bowel disorders and other chronic conditions linked to indigestion. Studies show that the twisting action of such poses can even help in the management of chronic diseases like irritable bowel syndrome. The pose is also believed to improve liver and kidney function, which is essential for detoxification of the body. 

The efficacy of yoga poses can vary depending on the cause of your chronic pain, so it is best to work with a certified yoga instructor. Your instructor will also be able to help you modify poses to suit your fitness levels. Restorative yoga programmes like yin yoga are best suited for individuals with chronic diseases, as these sessions typically involve slow and fluid movements that do not put much stress on the joints.

Samantha Green, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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