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Does yoga help treat pain?

Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Most of us understand that a sensation of pain is the body's way of telling us that something is wrong. If we feel pain in our stomach, we likely are experiencing an imbalance like indigestion or even an ulcer. If we feel pain in our joints, then we likely are experiencing an imbalance like erosion of cartilage or inflammation of the connective tissues.

But what is less known is that different types of pain exist as a result of different types of imbalances. Some people may experience joint pain because they have too much heat in their body (inflammation), but others may experience joint pain because their nervous system has been compromised (shooting pain). So while a pain reliever like Tylenol may be used as part of a Western response to all of these issues at once, addressing it through a system like Ayurveda compels us to identify the underlying cause of the pain and then take appropriately specific measures in response.

This is also the case with regards to using yoga postures to treat pain. If you feel a shooting, intense pain from issues like sciatica, then you will benefit from practicing grounding, soothing postures that foster less movement and airiness. If you feel a different type of pain like that from inflamed joints, then you will benefit from practicing cooling postures that foster calmness and peace.

Each person's pain is different, and the way to use yoga postures in response must be different as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.