Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back Pain Relieved with Yoga

Yoga is top back pain treatment.

Spending hours sitting in front of a computer, stress, lots of time driving in traffic, and extra body weight are all contributing factors to one of the most common and costly problems in America: back pain. It’s estimated that about 80% of American people experience back pain. And, sufferers spend nearly $7000 per year on medical costs associated with managing back pain.

A new study may offer a ray of hope for those who are tired of hurting and spending loads of cash to find relief.  Researchers gave study participants, who were sufferers of chronic back pain, one of two treatments: traditional medical treatment or a 12-week yoga program. Those who participated in the yoga program saw greater improvements in function and were able to participate in 30% more activities than those who received standard medical treatment. The yogis also had more confidence in their ability to perform activites in their daily life. By improving function and increasing confidence, people can enjoy an enhanced quality of life, which often suffers when individuals are hindered by chronic pain.

Yoga is a form of mind-body exercise that increases joint mobility, improves flexibility, and builds strength - all of which contribute to a healthier back. Yoga also has many psychological benefits like improved coping skills and stress reduction. One study found that yoga was better than other forms of exercise for managing mood and anxiety. Psychological stress, anxiety, and depression can increase back pain. So, managing your mood with a regular yoga practice may be another key to reducing back pain.

But, don’t expect results overnight.  Yoga is considered a “practice”; and just like anything else, you have to practice regularly to see progress! Here are a few important lessons from yoga that are especially important for those who have experienced any form of pain:
  • Listen to your body & know when to stop.
  • Participate without judgment and competition; this helps keep you from overdoing it.
  • Let go of expectations and accept where you are on that particular day.
  • Try to maintain a calm, steady breath, which you can’t do if you’ve pushed beyond your comfortable limits.
  • Be present in the moment and let go of worries, anxiety, or distracting thoughts.
  • Have fun – it’s one of the best stress (and pain) relievers around.