As a chiropractor, I’m often asked about the practice of yoga. Yoga has gained popularity because it reduces back pain, relaxes tight muscles, relieves stress, and exercise in a safe, calm environment. Developed thousands of years ago, the practice of breathing, posing and stretching offers a variety of important health benefits. Those with back pain or who have undergone spine surgery want to know if yoga can help them improve their physical and psychological health.
- Reduced stress
- Improved blood pressure
- Increased flexibility
- Increased stamina
- Greater balance
- Improved breathing techniques
In addition to the normal exercise benefits yoga offers, the practice serves as therapy for various injuries and health conditions. Yoga embodies physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness and touches upon other forms of traditional exercise. The concept that yoga heals the body in its entirety mirrors chiropractic care. These foundations offer enormous benefits to those dealing with various injuries and conditions. By incorporating yoga, individuals can reap amazing rewards.
Pain can be managed by participating in cardiovascular exercises. A regular exercise plan needs to include a little cardio as there are huge benefits from pumping the heart rate up. Minimal loading exercises, like biking and swimming, are great. However, yoga’s gentleness can complement the healing process.
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Here are a few reasons:
Prepares the body for healing
Yoga complements chiropractic treatment by preparing the body to heal itself. Practicing yoga stretches and elongates the body’s muscles, releasing tension and stress. It can warm up the body and clear the mind so that a chiropractor can get to the root problem.
Strengthens joints and ligaments
Dealing with a health condition or injury is frustrating and can seem like it takes forever to heal. Implementing yoga into a recovery plan helps strengthen joints and ligaments, which aids in promoting healing and cutting down the time it takes to get better. Yoga works on the body and promotes greater well-being from head to toe. A stronger body offers more productivity than one that is stiff, sore, and unhealthy.
Increases range of motion.
Depending on the individual’s specific condition, individuals may need a few visits to prepare their bodies before the main issue can be addressed. Yoga sessions increase a body’s flexibility and help with the range of motion in the neck, back, hips, and other joints.
Yoga provides a continual way for individuals dealing with chronic conditions to manage and reduce pain, inflammation, and other symptoms. Yoga combined with chiropractic keeps the body aligned, balanced, muscles stretched, de-stressed, and the joints working properly.
Individuals enjoy increased mobility for a lot longer without changing lifestyles. Both also serve to keep posture correct and ligaments strong. All of this creates a body that is less susceptible to future injury, illness, and stress.
The Best Way to Start
There are many different types of yoga. Most sessions usually last an hour and include breathing exercises, meditation, and holding poses/postures that stretch and tone muscle groups.
To help visualize how yoga can help the spine, here’s an analogy:
Think of the spine like a cookie ice cream sandwich with the ice cream in-between and a gummy band wrapped around. The cookies represent the vertebrae, the ice cream is the disc cushion in between, and the gummy band represents the area’s ligament and muscles.
The tighter the gummy band is, the more it compresses the cookies and applies pressure to the ice cream. When stretching, the gummy band loosens the pressure on the cookies and reduces the load/compression of the ice cream.
Exercise is crucial for recovery and rehabilitation. Yoga is a gentle way to get you back on your feet. It promotes circulation, relaxation, strength, and flexibility. Pure plane movements meaning moving forward then backward in basic movements, are essential until the body becomes more flexible. Move carefully forward, sideways, and cautiously backward.
- In the beginning, no movements combined bending and twisting.
- The muscles need to adapt and become comfortable with these movements at first. Therefore, hold poses for at least 30 seconds without bouncing, minimizing potential injury.
Ask your doctor or chiropractor if they can recommend a certified yoga instructor, preferably with 500 hours of instruction. Search for small class sizes and a teacher who closely monitors movements and poses. It is important that the instructor be aware and make gentle adjustments or offer modifications to participants.
Start with a type known as Restorative Flow. It restores the flow from one part of the body to another with slow controlled movements/poses that emphasize stretching and correct breathing.
Listen to Your Body
When healing from injury/s, take it slow. Listen to your body and let it guide your movements to feel safe and comfortable. Do not push beyond. For most, a beginner or restorative Yoga class is best. Ask about modifying the poses so that the bending and twisting combinations/advanced postures do not overload the joints.
If you are on a budget, consider purchasing an instructional DVD. DVDs offer program variations of 20 to 60 minutes and are highly educational and easy to follow. Stretching pain/soreness is okay, but sharp pain is not.
Yoga could be an answer to many of the body’s tissues. Whether dealing with current conditions or just wanting to stay healthy in a new way, check out the basics of yoga. Chiropractic coupled with yoga offers great benefits to those dealing with medical conditions or injuries. Ask your chiropractor for an evaluation and if adding yoga to your health program will help.
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The information herein on "Yoga That Is Safe for My Spine El Paso, Texas" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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