Yoga for Pain

Yoga for Pain

Every Wednesday, the Gateway Physiotherapy Team gathers in the gym to be led by our resident Yogi, Erinn Christie (also our Massage Thereapist) through a yoga session. Before the first session, I believe some of us imagined having to contort our bodies in awkward and uncomfortable positions. How surprised we were when we went back to work relaxed and energized.

So we consider those of our patients who could benefit from yoga the most, namely those who suffer from chronic pain. Approximately 29% of adults in North America live with daily pain. For those over 50, the rate is as high as 39%. Research has shown that Yoga can assist in the treatment of some chronic pain conditions and improve pain and functional abilities. This evidence is strongest in the area of low-back pain. Certain forms of Yoga have even been found to decrease symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

In one study, 78 adults suffering with chronic pain completed a 10-week comprehensive mind and body program that focused on breath and body awareness, meditation, and gentle hatha yoga. Not only were there significant improvements, those improvements lasted as long as one year! For those with chronic pain, that is a significant finding.

Another study has shown that a six-week daily prânâyâma practice can significantly improve depression, anxiety, optimism, and stress. Chronic pain has long since been linked with anxiety, depression, stress, and hopelessness. Therefore the conclusion must be that not only does yoga assist in the treatment of the body, but also the mind of those coping with daily pain.

So how can we use this new knowledge to benefit you, our patient? Well, starting in September, Erinn (Registered Massage Therapist and Yoga Instructor) and MJ (Physiotherapist) will be offering yoga classes for those people coping with chronic pain. Each new student will be evaluated to ensure that the individual will receive the greatest benefit from these classes.

Classes will educate patients about the nature of pain as well as assist in the healing process through gentle yoga movements, breathing techniques, and body awareness exercises. The goal is to offer patients the tools of knowledge, understanding, movement and experience, to empower them as they work towards recovery.

Not sure if this is for you? Just ask.