If you live with joint pain, your doctor may recommend gentle exercise to help you find relief. Since it is low-impact, many patients turn to yoga. But while yoga can contribute to greater flexibility and relaxation, overtaxing yourself or stretching too far can have a negative effect on your whole body, and especially on your joints.
Some studies suggest that yoga can contribute to musculoskeletal (joint) pain in some patients. That’s why it’s important to speak to your doctor or physical therapist before engaging in any new exercise regime, and to be careful not to push your body too hard during practice.
How does yoga help with joint pain?
Yoga isn’t a cure for joint pain in and of itself, but it can complement other treatments and techniques. Doing yoga regularly reduces tension in the body, increases joint flexibility, builds muscle, and improves balance. Yoga can also increase your range of motion and help you manage joint pain more effectively.
Plus, yoga contributes to better mental health: it’s been shown to reduce stress and bring greater peace and relaxation. Combined with healthy eating, other forms of exercise, and physical therapy, yoga can have many benefits for patients dealing with pain.
Practicing yoga safely
Before starting a yoga routine for joint pain, you should check in with your doctor or physical therapist to find out if yoga is safe for you. They may also have suggestions about which kind of yoga you should do, and how often.
If attending a class, you should also speak to your yoga instructor before you begin, making him or her aware of any injuries you have and pain you are experiencing. This will allow the instructor to let you know about any poses that might be dangerous for you, and to watch out for signs that you may be overdoing it during the session.
As with any exercise, it’s vitally important to stretch and warm up before you start, and cool down afterwards. Your class may dedicate time for this, but remember to do it even when exercising at home. Don’t force a stretch—if you feel pain, always stop.
Is yoga right for me?
The answer depends on you. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, and you take the right precautions, you can ensure that yoga helps and doesn’t hinder your body’s recovery.
If you’re considering alternative treatment options for your joint pain, find out if the Spine & Joint Center can help. We use regenerative medicine and safe, minimally-invasive techniques that have helped many patients experience long-lasting relief from pain. To learn more, contact us today.