The Bhagavat Gita, an ancient Hindu scripture, describes yoga as, “the discipline which severs the connection with that which causes suffering.” I doubt that the author realized how scientifically sound this declaration is when they wrote it, but it does show that the positive effects that yoga can have on pain relief have been experienced for a long time.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than three months. It can be irritating or excruciating, sporadic or continuous, and bothersome or debilitating. Common examples of chronic pain are headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, backaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Roughly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.
Unfortunately, the pain isn’t the worst part. Dealing with chronic pain often takes a toll on emotional health, and it can lead to anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue. All of these emotional factors can decrease the body’s production of natural painkillers, exacerbating the symptoms of chronic pain. Those suffering from chronic pain often withdraw themselves from society, creating a sense of isolation.
Studies have shown that chronic pain actually changes the brain structure by altering the volume of grey matter and compromising the connectivity of white matter. The grey matter in the brain houses the neurons (a cell responsible for transmitting and receiving nerve impulses), while the white matter keeps communication lines open between the different brain regions.
How does yoga help?
A new study has shown that yoga has the opposite effect on the brain, and provide chronic pain relief. In some cases, chronic pain can be prevented or reversed. Mind-body practices, such as practicing yoga or meditation, have the ability to minimize pain reception, as well as offset decreases in grey matter while maintaining white matter integrity. Yoga is also a great way to relieve stress, which is an emotional response to chronic pain.
On the physical side, yoga aids in relieving chronic pain by increasing strength and flexibility. Yoga also focuses on posture, while strengthening core muscles. Poor posture can be a contributing factor to chronic pain, so practicing good posture could significantly decrease chronic pain symptoms.
Call us for chronic pain relief.
At Advanced Wellness and Rehab, we understand the mental and physical symptoms of chronic pain. Our mission is to educate and empower those suffering from chronic pain, while returning them to their active and productive lifestyle. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.