Instead of reaching for that bottle of painkillers in your medicine cabinet the next time you experience a headache or back pain, try channeling your inner yogi. Why? While 11.5 million Americans living with chronic pain misuse prescription opioids, there are alternative treatment options available — like yoga — that are effective and come with zero risk of side effects.“One of the main reasons I believe yoga for pain is such a hot topic right now is that there’s still a lot of unknowns in the world of pain science and our understanding of the nervous system,” says Tiffany Cruikshank, LAc, MAOM, RYT, an internationally renowned yoga instructor, holistic health practitioner, acupuncturist, sports-medicine expert and founder of Yoga Medicine. “This question mark leaves behind a void that our health-care systems haven’t been able to solve yet. Plus, the current solutions have way too many side effects and drawbacks. We’re in desperate need of a better strategy, and yoga practices can be an effective, cost-efficient solution.” Thanks for watching!Visit WebsiteThanks for watching!Visit WebsiteThanks for watching!Visit WebsiteYoga is a great tool to help people:Self-soothe with stress-reducing techniquesDown-regulate the stress response and, in effect, increase the relaxation responseCreate body awareness, which acts as an internal monitoring system to help the nervous system recalibratePutting Yoga Into PracticeThe next time you experience one of the five common painful conditions listed below, Yoga Medicine instructor Marnie Hartman, DPT, CSCS, RYT, suggests practicing its corresponding yoga pose. “It’s important to note that it’s not actually about the ‘pose’ itself but the ‘practice,’” she says. “Mindfulness, awareness of breath and reactions during the positions or movements are just as important as the posture themselves.” Acute HeadachesMove: WaterfallLie on your back with your hips up against a wall and stretch your legs straight up the wall. Place a cold pack on the back of your neck. With one hand on your belly and the other over your heart region, begin to focus on your breath. Without straining, attempt to make each inhale and exhale longer and fuller. Allow your conscious thoughts to begin to slow while you keep your awareness on the breath and away from the conversation that occurs in your head. Hold this position and breath awareness for at least eight minutes or as long as 20 minutes. Note: Studies show that keeping a regular yoga practice of 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — one that includes lengthening and strengthening the cervical spine and shoulders as well as regulating breath and emotional/stress responses — may be helpful in reducing and preventing chronic headaches.
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