Wellness

The Benefits of Yoga for Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain can negatively affect muscle strength, breathing patterns, energy levels and even mental health. The practice of yoga can relax, energize and strengthen the body. It can also positively influence mood, emotions and spirit.

Practicing yoga restorative poses increases range of motion, which results in better physical functioning. Basic yoga practices, such as meditation and breathing techniques, help to reduce stress, relax the body, calm the mind and rest the nervous system. Practicing yoga can reduce inflammation, and therefore, reduce the intensity of chronic pain.

Concentrating on healing thoughts while deep breathing during yoga enables the mind and body to rest. Consistent practice of yoga may decrease pain responses in the mind and body. Anxiety, depression and emotional aspects of chronic pain may also improve.

Yoga focuses on self-awareness and is available in various forms and levels. A health care professional should be consulted prior to beginning a yoga program. Yoga should not cause joint pain; however, muscles may be a bit sore the following day. If soreness lasts for more than 24 hours, yoga practices should be stopped until the body adjusts.

The practice of yoga should not be started during an active flare-up of chronic pain. To learn proper poses or modifications of poses that are appropriate for a specific chronic pain condition, consulting a certified yoga instructor or physical therapist is recommended.

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