Yoga for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Christine Yovanovich was diagnosed with a severe bout of flu-like symptoms thirteen years ago this month. “My joints were hurting, and I couldn’t even get out of bed,” the 39-year-old from Indianapolis says. However, the pain and weariness did not subside as quickly as they would have if it had been influenza. They dimmed from time to time for weeks, then months, and finally years, but they never completely disappeared.
Each performed tests, but the results were always the same—everything appeared to be in normal working order.
Eventually, she explains, “they would dismiss my symptoms and tell me it was all in my imagination,” and she admits that she came to believe them.
She finally saw him in 2002, when she was diagnosed with the condition.
Although it was first described in 1816 by a Scottish physician, it was not formally recognized as a medical condition by the American Medical Association until 1987.
Furthermore, it has the potential to resemble other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in sufferers such as Yovanovich having to wait years for a proper diagnosis.
If you or someone close to you suspects that they or you have fibromyalgia, there is one diagnostic technique that may be used to confirm the diagnosis. A map depicting 18 “tender spots,” or locations on the body that are most typically sore to the touch in persons with fibromyalgia, was published by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990 to help patients with the condition better understand their symptoms. A person who has pain in 11 of the 18 sensitive sites is most likely suffering from it.
- Crofford explains that a risk factor may be present at birth, but it will remain dormant until it is awakened by an event such as a vehicle accident, a repetitive-motion injury, or osteoarthritis.
- Yovanovich believes that stress was the catalyst for her own fibromyalgia.
- “I was surrounded by stress at work, at home, and at school,” she explains.
- This is due to a type of hypersensitivity of the nerve system in people who have the disorder, rather than a difference in pain perception.
In the case of fibromyalgia, for example, pressure that is only somewhat irritating to the ordinary person might be quite excruciating. “Pain has basically been cranked up to the maximum volume it can tolerate,” Crofford explains.
Following her diagnosis, Yovanovich became dissatisfied with Western medicine’s inability to provide a cure, and she, like the majority of other fibromyalgia sufferers, began researching complementary and alternative medicine options. She eliminated sugar from her diet because she suffers from hyperglycemia, as well as to prevent yeast overgrowth in her stomach, which many alternative health practitioners say interferes with immune system functioning. For energy restoration, she took B vitamins as well as magnesium tablets to replenish her muscles’ stores of stored energy.
As she focused on her breathing and quieted her thoughts, she noticed that her muscles were beginning to relax and the agony was lessening.
In the beginning, she recounts, “what I realized was the tremendous horror I had about entering inside my body after having spent so many years running away from it.” “It made it easier for me to accept my fibromyalgia-related existence.”
According to Crofford, yoga’s capacity to move the nervous system out of the stress reaction and into the relaxation response is critical for persons whose central nervous systems are sensitive and inherently overstimulated. It also has a direct effect on the muscles that are the source of fibromyalgia discomfort. As Jacob Teitelbaum, medical director of the National Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, puts it: “Imagine getting a writer’s cramp in all of your muscles at the same time.” First, the muscles shorten, then they become locked in the shortened posture, and finally they become painful to use.
- That’s exactly what yoga did for Anita Murray, a wellness coach in Waupun, Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after being involved in a vehicle accident in her early twenties.
- Murray, now 45, claims that she was practically paralyzed by muscular discomfort for years following the accident, and that she has now recovered.
- Despite the fact that I was suffering from chronic agony, the physicians told me that there was nothing they could do for me.
- She immediately noticed a difference in her body, and she has continued to practice ever since.
- “I saw a significant reduction in the frequency and intensity of my problems after beginning an asana practice.
- It is possible that some people will choose to follow Yovanovich’s method, which includes bringing consciousness back into the body through meditation and pranayama before beginning an asana practice.
- Yoga practitioners with a lot of experience may benefit from a strong practice.
- Author Shoosh Lettick Crotzer, who wrote the book Yoga for Fibromyalgia, suggests that novices begin with a light practice that promotes relaxation and avoid hard positions until they are certain that they can progress into them without experiencing discomfort.
- In the beginning, she recalls, she would go too deep into the postures and end up in such much pain the next day that she couldn’t move at all.
- The Iyengar, Kripalu, and Viniyoga yoga schools, among others, are recommended by Crotzer because they emphasize alignment, relaxation, and therapeutics.
- Yovanovich continues to practice yoga to keep her symptoms under control.
“I had nearly completely lost everything until I discovered yoga,” she adds. “I now enjoy a level of quality of life that I never imagined was attainable.”
Easing the Pain
“Yoga’s capacity to move the nervous system out of the stress reaction and into the relaxation response is critical for those who have sensitive central nervous systems that are inherently overstimulated,” adds Crofford. It also has a direct effect on the muscles that are affected by fibromyalgia. As Jacob Teitelbaum, medical director of the National Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, puts it: “Imagine getting a writer’s cramp in every muscle in your body at the same time.” First, the muscles shorten, then they become caught in the shorter posture, and finally they become sore and uncomfortable.
- The fact that yoga helps persons with fibromyalgia return to their normal length is one among its many benefits, according to him.
- Anita Murray is a wellness coach in Waupun, Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with the condition after being in a car accident.
- According to her, “my muscles were so tight that I couldn’t even walk; the longest step I could take was heel to toe.” Despite the fact that I was suffering from chronic agony, the physicians told me there was nothing they could do.
- She immediately noticed a difference in her body, and she has continued to practice it since.
- After a long time, I was able to resume my usual activities.” She experienced a similar reaction when she started including movement into her daily regimen.
- “I was able to reclaim my life.
- Following Yovanovich’s method, some persons may like to begin their asana practice with meditation and pranayama, then proceed to the asana practice after that.
A strong practice may be beneficial for experienced yogis.
Author Shoosh Lettick Crotzer, who wrote the book Yoga for Fibromyalgia, suggests that novices start with a light practice that promotes relaxation and avoid hard positions until they are certain that they can progress into them without experiencing discomfort.
In the beginning, she recalls, she would go too deep into the postures and end up in such pain the next day that she couldn’t move.
The Iyengar, Kripalu, and Viniyoga yoga schools, among others, are recommended by Crotzer because they emphasize alignment, relaxation, and therapeutic effects.
Yoga, according to Yovanovich, is still an important part of her treatment plan.
Living with fibromyalgia has been more bearable for her as a result of yoga practice. Prior to beginning yoga, she believes she had “nearly lost everything”. The quality of my life has improved to levels I never dreamed of.
People suffering with chronic pain frequently breathe in short, shallow breaths, which can activate the body’s fight-or-flight response and cause the production of stress chemicals such as cortisol to be released. Through stimulation of the vagus nerve, deep breathing can help to reduce stress levels. The vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the diaphragm, is responsible for activating the parasympathetic nervous system. According to Shoosh Lettick Crotzer, a fibromyalgia expert, breathwork is essential for persons suffering from the condition.
- To give it a go, lie down in a supportedSavasana (Corpse Pose).
- Consider the breath as a gift of prana, or life power, that you are receiving.
- Allow each fresh breath to allow energy to expand and soften, cleanse and release, and then repeat the process.
- Continue until you feel more at ease and quieter in your surroundings.
- Catherine Guthrie is a freelance writer who also happens to be a yoga instructor in Bloomington, Ind.
Yoga for fibromyalgia: Poses, research, and more
In chronic pain, people have a tendency to breathe quickly and shallowly, which can activate the body’s fight-or-flight response and cause the release of stress chemicals such as cortisol to be released. Through stimulation of the vagus nerve, deep breathing helps to reduce tension and anxiety. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated by the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the diaphragm. Consequently, according to Shoosh Lettick Crotzer, breathing exercises are essential for persons suffering from fibromyalgia.
- Focus on the sensations of the air as it goes through the nose, into the body, and out again as you take slow, deep breaths.
- Make a mental picture of this healing breath engulfing your entire being.
- Allow the tightness and weight of the pain to be expelled from the body as you exhale slowly and deliberately.
- When you are ready, you should come out of the position.
1. Standing forward bend, or Uttanasana
In order to perform the standing forward bend, you must first stand with your feet hip-width apart. 2. Extend your hip joints forward in a forward bend. 3. If at all feasible, place the fingertips or palms of the hands on the ground. Those who are unable to reach the floor with their hands might rest their palms on the tops of their thighs or calves instead of on the floor itself.
After 30–60 seconds in this position, progressively raise the body to a standing position by rolling the shoulders back and forth. Those who suffer from back pain may find it more comfortable to keep their knees bent.
2. Bridge pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
To do this position, first lie down on the floor on your back. Fold the knees and place both feet flat on the floor. 2. When feasible, straighten the arms and clasp them together beneath the body as you exhale and elevate the tailbone off the floor while maintaining the buttocks taut. 4. Remain in this position for 30–60 seconds. 5. Take a deep breath in and slowly move the lower back and spine toward the floor. 6. When lying face-up on the floor, a rolled-up blanket should be placed beneath the shoulders to protect the neck and decrease pain.
3. Cobra pose, or Bhujangasana
The cobra posture can help to stretch out achy knees and free up the muscles in the chest. To accomplish this position, do the following: Place your hands behind your shoulders and your palms on the floor while lying face down on the floor. 2. Retract the elbows back towards the torso. 3. 3: Exhale and press into the palms of your hands, straightening your arms until your upper body is lifted off the floor. Don’t elevate your feet or pelvis off of the ground! 4. Feel the stretch across the chest and in the lower back as you breathe in and out.
Maintain the stance for 15–30 seconds, then release the pose and return to the beginning position.
4. Corpse pose (Savasana)
To perform the corpse stance, follow the techniques outlined below: 1. Lie down with your back flat against the ground. 2. Take slow, deep breaths in and out while visualizing healing breath filling the body. 3. As you take a deep breath in, see the energy flowing into your body to revitalize it. 4. As you exhale, notice how the tension and discomfort are dissipating. 5. Hold the stance until you are ready to come to a complete halt. Practicing these positions on a regular basis may help to improve one’s feeling of well-being.
- It is a contemplative movement form in which a person performs a series of synchronized motions while concentrating on breathing, relaxation, meditation, or a mixture of these activities, or some combination of these activities.
- Several studies have been conducted to examine the potential advantages of yoga for those who suffer from fibromyalgia, and the results have been promising.
- Following the trial, individuals had an increase in the number of days they “felt well.” Those with fibromyalgia were also less likely to be absent from work for a variety of reasons.
- According to a 2013 review of three research papers, yoga was found to be effective in reducing sleep disruptions, exhaustion, and depression, as well as enhancing overall quality of life.
- The participants in a 2010 study with fibromyalgia included 53 females with the condition, half of them were requested to engage in an 8-week program while the other half were placed on a waiting list for normal therapy.
- The participants who finished the program reported substantial improvements in measures of pain, exhaustion, and mood related to fibromyalgia after the program was completed.
- What is the procedure?
Slow, controlled motions are the focus of certain exercises, while others can be as intense as a long run.
A low-intensity, revitalizing practice, restorative yoga is a great way to start your day.
Ashtanga yoga is a demanding and intensive type of yoga that requires performing a set series of postures in the same order again and over.
Flowing, continuous vinyasa yoga may be a physically demanding style of yoga due to its continual movement.
Every yoga practitioner should be aware of his or her own physical limitations, especially if they want to participate in rigorous activity or if they intend to exercise in hot weather.
Can essential oils aid in the treatment of fibromyalgia?
People suffering with fibromyalgia may benefit from participating in activities that improve their overall health.
Several studies published in the journal Health Psychology Review have found that yoga appears to lessen the amount of cortisol that the body produces.
It is produced by the adrenal glands.
Tai chi is another another movement-based therapy that may be beneficial in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Accordig to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, patients with fibromyalgia who participated in hr tai chi classes twice a week for 12 weeks reported improvements in sleep, mood, and general quality of life.
To improve their sleep quality, they should aim to go to bed at a consistent time and avoid taking excessive daytime naps that might disrupt their sleep.
Swimming, riding a bicycle, participating in water aerobics, and walking are all examples of moderate types of exercise that may be helpful to your health.
Acupuncture is a technique that includes the insertion of needles at certain spots on the body in order to stimulate blood and energy flow throughout the body.
Massage treatment, which includes manipulating muscles and soft tissues with the hands, might be beneficial for those who suffer from fibromyalgia because it helps ease tension and anxiety.
This is true for most medical diseases as well.
Find out more about it here.
Yoga does not appear to be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia, according to the available research. Researchers, on the other hand, have decided that it is a safe technique that has the potential to ease pain. Some prevalent misunderstandings concerning fibromyalgia include the following:
Best Poses, Benefits, And More – Pain Doctor
On days when your fibromyalgia flares up, the last thing you might want to do is go for a brisk walk or run on the pavement. You know that getting regular exercise is a terrific method to handle even the most painful days, but it can be difficult to get out for a walk or go to the gym when your entire body hurts like crazy. When you have fibromyalgia, yoga can be a terrific method to receive the pain-relieving activity you need without leaving your house. The following are the most significant advantages of yoga for fibromyalgia, as well as some positions to attempt.
Is yoga good for fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a widespread pain illness that is marked not only by widespread aches and pains across the body, but also by excessive exhaustion, mental problems, and cognitive impairment. Although the cause of this illness is uncertain, it can be quite debilitating. As many as 10 million people in the United States are affected. The great majority of people affected are women between the ages of 20 and 50. Yoga for fibromyalgia has three major advantages when used as part of a complete therapy plan that also involves dietary modifications and medication adjustments.
1. Reduces muscular tension
It is a widespread pain disease marked not only by broad aches and pains across the body, but also by excessive exhaustion, depressive symptoms, and cognitive impairment. This condition has no recognized cause, yet it may be quite severe. Ten million people in the United States are affected by this condition. Women between the ages of 20 and 50 make up the great majority of individuals who have died. There are three major benefits of practicing yoga for fibromyalgia as part of a complete therapy plan that also involves dietary modifications and medication adjustments.
2. Improves spinal alignment
Because your skeleton is elegantly built to sustain the weight of your body, it is covered with muscle and tendon. Pain and stiffness are almost often the result of anything being out of alignment. When joints and tendons are suffering, it is natural to want to bend over or cradle them in order to alleviate the discomfort. In fibromyalgia yoga, you will learn how to properly align your skeletal system in order to ensure that your entire body is well supported. Yoga for fibromyalgia, when practiced gently and consistently, can assist to maintain muscular strength in addition to increasing flexibility and spinal alignment.
Muscle strength helps to boost stamina, which makes it easier to do everyday duties.
Yoga may be moderate, and it is not necessary to be heated, intense, or fast-paced in order to improve muscular strength in order to get results.
3. Improves sleep quality and mental health
Final (and maybe most significant) advantage of yoga for fibromyalgia pain is that it has a positive effect on the mind. Yoga has been shown to improve the quality of sleep, reduce stress, and relax both the mind and the body, according to research.
Yoga assists in stress management by controlling stress hormones via regular practice, and vigorous yoga releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that are released in the brain and are known to improve mood.
Recent research into yoga for fibromyalgia
In 2010, one of the first studies to look explicitly at yoga as a treatment for fibromyalgia was published. When comparing patients who practiced yoga to those who did not, researchers at Oregon HealthScience University discovered that pain, exhaustion, and sadness were all considerably decreased in those who did. The results of another research conducted in 2015 focused primarily on an eight-week intervention of yoga for novices who were suffering from fibromyalgia. Researchers used both a group class format and an at-home sequence of five yoga poses, and they discovered that participants had symptom alleviation and were more willing to practice at home as a result of their participation.
According to the findings of this review, yoga provided substantial improvements in exercise capacity as well as a corresponding improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQL).
These findings have been backed up by more recent small-scale research investigations, which have found that yoga for fibromyalgia can be useful regardless of whether the practice is rigorous and steamy or soothing and relaxing.
Build your yoga for fibromyalgia routine, safely
Starting a yoga practice for fibromyalgia is simple and does not necessitate the purchase of any specific props, equipment, or clothes. Sure, yoga blocks, bolsters, and straps might be beneficial, but you can also use pillows and a belt to create a nice, supportive practice without resorting to props. Always dress in a way that is both comfortable and allows for simple mobility. Make an appointment with your doctor to ensure that there are no changes that you should be aware of. When practicing yoga for fibromyalgia, the most crucial component is to start with a modest routine—just a few postures strung together to get things going.
It might be beneficial to set aside some time to locate the most appropriate practice for you.
Keep your attention on how the position feels in your body, and utilize your props or cushions to securely get into your own personal version of the posture.
Intense stretching is permissible, but it should not worsen or create discomfort. Keep an eye out for the following signs that it’s time to back off the pose:
- Pain that is sharp
- An excruciating amount of discomfort that prevents you from taking a breath
- A feeling of numbness or tingling in the extremities
Work slowly and efficiently, and do what you can. Recognize that each day on your yoga mat will be unique for you and accept that. For the best outcomes, make a commitment to a consistent, reasonable practice. Yoga for fibromyalgia is more beneficial if practiced daily for fifteen minutes rather than twice a week for one hour. Yoga may be used to manage fibromyalgia pain, but it is important to pay attention to your body while exercising and make modifications as needed. Again, if you experience any sudden or strong pain, you have gone too deep into the posture.
The 8 best yoga poses for fibromyalgia
These eight poses are a good place to start if you are new to yoga. Many of these postures are inspired by yin yoga, which is a practice that emphasizes extended pauses and deep breaths in order to gradually expand the body. As you investigate, take your time and allow your thoughts to become calm so that you can concentrate. Again, consult with your doctor to ensure that all of these activities are safe for you to participate in.
1. Legs up the wall
Some yoga positions are particularly effective for managing the pain and swelling associated with fibromyalgia. Legs up the wall stance is a good example of a good posture. To begin, place one hip on the wall and the other against the floor. As you gently swing your legs up the wall, lean back and brace your chest with your forearms to keep your balance. Forming a L shape with your body, your back will be level on the ground and your legs resting on the wall. If your hamstrings are tight, throw a blanket beneath your hips to reduce the amount of strain you are experiencing.
Enjoy this stance for anywhere from three to ten minutes, or even longer if you want to stretch out your muscles.
This position helps to relieve tension while also increasing blood circulation.
2. Reclined bound angle
The reclining bound angle is yet another rejuvenating and reviving stance. Stretch out your legs on your back and bring the soles of your feet together, lying on the floor. Allow your knees to fall wide to the sides as much as possible. Utilize blocks or cushions to provide support for your knees if the stretch is too much for your inner leg. Continue to breathe in this position for three to five minutes, or even longer, to get the benefits of this restorative pose.
3. Supine twist
Supine twist is another another good restorative position in yoga for fibromyalgia sufferers. A mild twist also helps to maintain the health of the digestive system, which is particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia patients who have intestinal discomfort. Lie down on your back and raise your legs up to your rib cage to complete the pose. Extend your arms in the shape of a T, and then bend both knees to the left. If your knees don’t make contact with the ground, use a cushion to catch them. You might also lay a pillow between your knees if you choose.
Allowing the left shoulder to relax towards the ground, take a deep breath here. In order to get a more significant twist, cross the top leg over to the right in what is called twisted root. Maintain this position for three to five minutes, then flip over to the other side.
4. Banana pose
Slowly and softly, the side body opens out in the Banana stance. Lay down on your back. Taking a deep breath, raise your arms high and then slide both legs to the bottom left corner of your yoga mat. Then, with both arms extended to the upper left corner of the mat, your body will create a banana shape as a result. It is likely that you will feel a significant stretch down the right side of your body. If you want to play around with greater feeling, you can cross your right ankle over or under your left ankle to see what happens.
If your shoulders are tense, or if you have numbness or tingling in your hands, separate your hands or place a tiny bend in your elbow to alleviate the tension in your shoulders and hands.
Alternate between the right and left sides, keeping your arms by your sides in between stretches.
5. Downward facing dog
This classic yoga stance is a full-body energizing and strengthening posture that benefits the entire body. It may be customized to meet your requirements. Begin by getting down on your hands and knees with your toes tucked under. Exhale as you lift your legs off the ground, and your hands will walk one handprint ahead of you. Take a deep breath in, then exhale and begin to raise your hips into the air, forming an upside-down V shape with your body. Knees can be kept bent while you breathe in this position.
Maintain a high lift in your hips.
Maintain abdominal engagement by bringing your navel closer to your spine.
6. Forward fold
If you have fibromyalgia and have difficulty moving around, try chair yoga. To get you started, here are three positions to try. Place yourself on a chair with a flat seat. Make certain that your feet are securely planted on the ground, with your ankles precisely below your knees, before continuing. Make sure you have blocks or huge books on hand. Take a big, deep breath in, making sure your sitting bones are firmly planted on the chair, and then flex at the hips to fold forward over your thighs to complete the motion.
Check to see that your hands are resting on anything solid.
Take three deep breaths here, then gently roll up your spine, one vertebra at a time, with your head being the last to come up.
7. Gentle twist
Sit with a beautiful tall spine and a softly engaged belly button. Taking a big breath in, draw your navel close to your spine as you begin to rotate to the right on the next inhale. Using your right arm, you may reach for the back of the chair while placing your left hand on the outside of your right leg. Keep your neck in line with your shoulders rather than craning it in any direction. During the twisting motion, keep your knees aligned with each other.
Maintain a straight posture with each breath. Twist your body a little bit more with each exhalation. Stay in this position for three to five breaths, then exhale with a tall spine to release the twist. Repeat the process to the left.
8. Figure-four hip opener
Hip pain caused by fibromyalgia can be quite uncomfortable. A sitting figure-four stretch can be used to gradually open them up and relax them. Sit with a straight spine and your feet firmly planted on the floor once more. Bring the right ankle to rest on the left knee, forming a figure-four formation with the right and left legs. Allow your hands to rest on the inside of your right knee and ankle. As long as your right knee is level with your right ankle, you may fold forward until you feel the stretch by hinging at the hips and folding forward till you feel the stretch.
For three minutes, stay on this side, and then switch to the other side.
Yoga for fibromyalgia videos and routines
It might be difficult to get started with yoga at home if you are completely new to it. Even while going to class might help you check on your alignment before getting started, leaving the house may be tough on your most painful days. What is the solution? Yoga for beginners is taught through video sequences. Here are a few of our personal favorites.
Chair yoga for limited mobility
Although chair yoga is an excellent alternative for elderly persons who have difficulty getting down to the floor (and back up again!) it is also a terrific way to incorporate more movement into your day on days when pain crops up. Earlier in the week, we shared four yoga videos to try, ranging from prop-heavy seated postures to a full practice including supported standing poses and restorative yoga.
Yoga for total beginners
For absolute novices who are scared by the conventional “yoga physique,” Jessamyn Stanley gives a wonderful 30-minute practice. More of her related series may be found on her website, The Underbelly.
20-minute restorative flow
This is a wonderful, calming restorative routine that also serves to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Chelsea Jackson Roberts is a yoga instructor who specializes in the practical application of yogic concepts in the real world, utilizing mindful movement and breathing to create sustainable energy. Roberts’ organization, Red Clay Yoga, is dedicated to assisting people who are involved in social justice and community-based activity.
Yoga for chronic pain
If you have fibromyalgia and are unable to stand, this standing sequence with Adriene (and her dog, Benji) may be converted into chair yoga to help you relax. A 25-minute practice concludes with the practitioner’s legs up the wall for a more restorative and easy position to relax. Adriene’s whole playlist is comprised of lessons that are easily modifiable. If you’re interested in giving yin yoga a try, she has a sequence for you, as well as additional themed courses available.
A whole body routine
Chaz Rough has created a sequence that is intended for people who suffer from fibromyalgia. This 20-minute video covers the entire body and gives suggestions for practical uses of the postures.
Get help with your fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness that necessitates a caring and comprehensive treatment. Interested in incorporating yoga for fibromyalgia into your treatment plan?
A pain expert can assist you in incorporating yoga into your existing treatment regimen. If you live in Arizona or Texas, you can find a pain expert by clicking the button below, or you may hunt for one in your region by following the instructions here:
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Yoga Eases Fibromyalgia Pain
14th of October, 2010 – New research suggests that practicing yoga’s mind-body practices might help women suffering from fibromyalgia to minimize their symptoms and enhance their overall function, according to the researchers. Women with fibromyalgia symptoms who engaged in a wellness program called “Yoga of Awareness,” according to researchers in Oregon who enrolled 53 women aged 21 and older for the trial, exhibited considerably higher improvement in their symptoms. The findings of this study were published in the November edition of Pain, the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, and are available online.
In order to account for the higher frequency of fibromyalgia in women compared to males, the researchers recruited exclusively female participants, 25 of whom engaged in a yoga awareness program and 28 of whom got conventional therapy.
40 minutes of mild stretching postures, 25 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of breathing methods, 20 minutes of teaching presentations on employing yoga concepts for coping, and 25 minutes of group discussions in which participants discussed how they would incorporate yoga into their daily lives.
They also underwent physical examinations to detect “sensitive areas,” as well as an examination of the pain-coping methods that they employed to cope with the pain.
Yoga Reduces Pain and Other Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
According to the study, women who participated in the yoga program saw statistically significant improvements in fibromyalgia symptoms, such as levels of pain, exhaustion, and mood, among other things. “The findings showed that the yoga intervention resulted in a favorable shift in how patients manage with pain, including more use of adaptive pain-coping methods,” said researcher James W. Carson, PhD, of the Oregon HealthScience University in a news release. Those coping mechanisms included continuing to participate in activities despite pain, accepting their illness, utilizing religion as a coping tool, and being able to rest when necessary.
Those who participated in the intervention group also reported feeling less alienated, as well as being less aggressive and less prone to perceive things in the worst possible light, commonly known as “catastrophizing.”
Yoga Helpful for Fibromyalgia
The standard of care for fibromyalgia consists of drugs combined with exercise and information on how to manage with pain as well as possible. “Despite the fact that yoga has been performed for millennia, studies have just lately begun to establish yoga’s impact on those who suffer from chronic pain,” Carson explains. According to the researchers, “The Yoga of Awareness program differs from previous multimodal interventions with patients in that it incorporates a broad spectrum of yoga-based techniques – postures, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, application of yogic principles to optimal coping, and group discussions – into a single program.” “This study provides encouraging preliminary support for the therapeutic benefits of yoga” on people with fibromyalgia, according to the study’s author.
In the near future, Carson plans to provide a training course for yoga instructors who wish to improve their abilities in working with persons who suffer from chronic pain.
According to the authors, pharmacological interventions are only 30 percent successful in reducing the pain of fibromyalgia and only 20 percent efficient in increasing function in this condition.
Best Yoga for Fibromyalgia
In August 2018, a medical review was conducted. Do you believe yoga is too strenuous? Reconsider your position. While some varieties of yoga, such as Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa, may impose an excessive amount of strain on your musculoskeletal system, there are many more types of yoga to consider. Several of the options described below are particularly well-suited for people who suffer from health issues such as fibromyalgia. Yoga can provide pain treatment in a variety of ways. In addition to getting your body moving and heart pounding, exercise has been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic back pain.
- Dawn Marcus, who is a neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of The Women’s Fibromyalgia Tool Kit.
- According to a recent study, exercising can help those with fibro fog, which includes issues with attention, memory, and focus.
- We may see genuine physical changes in our bodies after experiencing difficult experiences in our lives, whether they be emotional, mental, or physical.
- “Stress has the ability to tip a system that is already teetering on the precipice,” says Dr.
- Yoga, with its breathing, relaxation, and meditation practices that help to quiet the mind and body, can help to lessen the anxiety and tension that can lead to pain and discomfort.
- As a result of adopting an expanded and strong posture, testosterone levels increase, which aids in pain tolerance, and cortisol levels fall, which is both a stress hormone and a trigger for pain.
- Three styles of yoga that are less demanding on the body and more calming than rigorous are described below.
With the support, you can hold positions for extended periods of time—up to 20 minutes, in some cases.
The postures are derived from typical sitting yoga positions, but they are intended to aid in the relief of the symptoms of chronic stress.
Yoga that is adapted to the individual.
In restorative yoga, postures are maintained for extended periods of time, and there is a greater emphasis on breathing and meditation than in regular yoga, which is beneficial.
Additionally to students suffering from fibromyalgia, adapted yoga sessions may include students suffering from multiple sclerosis, a sports injury, Parkinson’s disease, a brain injury, and arthritis.
If you are unable to perform a task in this atmosphere, you are less likely to feel self-conscious about it.
This is another slow-paced kind of yoga that includes postures that are maintained for extended periods of time, similar to restorative and adaptive yoga postures.
Younger, more athletic students who are already familiar with yoga would benefit from yin yoga, according to instructor Lauren Klein.
Yin Yoga postures are intended to promote the flow of chi, the subtle energy believed to stream through the meridian channels of the body, according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Improvements in chi flow are considered to have beneficial effects on organ health, immunity, and emotional well-being.
7 strengthening yoga poses to ease chronic pain due to fibromyalgia
What would you think if a hug was excruciatingly unpleasant for you? What if a simple touch of specific areas on your body might cause a shooting pain or pressure to be applied to certain parts of your body? Isn’t it horrifying for even the most stoic of human beings to witness? Unfortunately, these are the types of unpleasant sensations that people who suffer with fibromyalgia encounter on a regular basis. It is certainly not a stroll through the park. Is it possible that exercises like yoga asanas for fibromyalgia, in addition to traditional treatment, might help ease the pain?
First, let’s define what fibromyalgia is and how it manifests itself.
What is fibromyalgia?
When you have fibromyalgia, you will have musculoskeletal pain that is accompanied by a wide range of additional symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, problems sleeping, and anxiety.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Discomfort in sensitive areas
- Memory problems (fibro fog)
- And other symptoms
Causes of fibromyalgia
It is not known what causes fibromyalgia, although it is thought to be caused by a malfunction in the way the brain interprets pain signals. A person suffering with fibromyalgia has a hypersensitive pain response, which means that he or she experiences pain even in conditions that are not normally considered uncomfortable. Those who have experienced mental or physical abuse, those who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), those who are depressed, and even those who do not receive enough physical activity are at risk of developing this condition.
So, yoga can be beneficial in the treatment of fibromyalgia, right?
Science on yoga for fibromyalgia
- An Oregon Health and Science University study conducted in 2010 found that yoga can help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, exhaustion, stiffness, poor sleep, depression, poor memory, anxiety, and poor balance
- However, further research is needed. Another research conducted in 2011 found that yoga and meditation are beneficial in the management of fibromyalgia symptoms such as stiffness, anxiety, and sadness. Yoga, according to a 2013 research, is one of the most effective substitute workouts for those suffering with fibromyalgia.
How can yoga help?
- As reported by an Oregon Health and Science University study published in 2010, yoga can help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and exhaustion, stiffness and poor sleep
- Impaired memory
- And poor balance
- According to the study. Yet another research, published in 2011, supports the use of yoga and meditation in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms such as stiffness, anxiety, and sadness. As previously mentioned, yoga has been identified as one of the most effective alternative activities for the treatment of fibromyalgia according to a 2013 study.
In order to help you regulate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, here are some yoga asanas that you may attempt.
Yoga for fibromyalgia
Yoga positions that are focused on minimizing external stimuli and that help you channel your concentration and energy inwards may be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.
1.Child Pose (Shishuasana)
- In addition to helping to relax the mind, this asana provides a wonderful stretch to the arms and shoulders as well as the back and hips.
2.Legs-up-the-wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
- This position helps to relax the muscles of the hips and legs since it relieves the strain placed on them by your body weight. It alleviates tiredness, which is a significant symptom of fibromyalgia
3.Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- As well as strengthening the arm muscles, this posture is beneficial for flexing the upper and middle back, which is another commonly afflicted area in fibromyalgia. Increased blood circulation to various regions of the body is a benefit of this treatment. It helps to alleviate weariness. As you open out your shoulders and chest, you get a deep sense of relaxation.
4.Warrior Pose (Veerabhadrasana)
- This relieves tension in the shoulders rapidly
- It strengthens and tones the arms and back muscles, effectively addressing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as muscular cramps
- And it improves overall posture and posture-related problems.
5.Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- This provides a deep stretch to your back and helps to keep weariness at bay. It also has the additional benefit of calming the neurological system, making you feel less worried. It helps to strengthen the back muscles, which can be a sore place for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
6.Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
- In this posture, you will be able to stretch out your hips, thighs, shoulders, and upper back, which may aid in the reduction of stiffness that may have formed as a symptom of fibromyalgia
- As you maintain your balance on one foot, the calf muscles are strengthened, which helps to prevent muscular cramps and lessen soreness.
7.Corpse Pose (Savasana)
When you are in this position, you will be able to eliminate any stiffness that you may have developed as a side effect of fibromyalgia; it will also assist you to lose weight. As you balance on one foot, it helps to strengthen the calf muscles, which helps to prevent muscular cramps and minimize soreness.
- It has a calming effect on the mind and helps to alleviate tension and weariness. It provides relief from headaches and other aches and pains. Sleeping better at night is made possible by this supplement.
It is usually preferable to combine the advantages of yoga asanas with the benefits of pranayamas and meditation in order to maximize their effectiveness. Take use of the soothing benefits of Bhramari Pranayama and the Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which are both available to you. Additional recommendations include eating a good food and getting plenty of relaxation and regular sleep, in addition to the habits listed above. Participate in a free course on yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques.
A certified yoga instructor must be present at all times while you are learning and practicing your yoga poses.
A Sri Sri Yoga session may be found in an Art of Living location near you.
Send us an email at [email protected] if you would like additional information about our programs or to provide comments. Asheesh Pal, Faculty at the Sri Sri School of Yoga, provided feedback for this piece. We’d be delighted to hear from you. Send your comments to [email protected]
Deal With Chronic Pain and Heal Your Body Fast With Yoga for Fibromyalgia
By Sejal Shah | Published on December 17, 2019 | No Comments I received a phone call from one of my friends approximately three weeks ago, asking for advice on how to deal with terrible fibromyalgia pain that she has been experiencing for more than ten years. She has expressed strong reluctance to accept conventional therapy or to take painkillers, and she has instead relied on alternative methods of pain management, including a rigorous Ayurvedic eating routine. However, during the last two to three months, the frequency of her pain flare-ups has grown, making her life more difficult to cope with.
- This was the moment at which she phoned me, stating that she did not want to take any pain medication and that she was wondering whether yoga therapy would be beneficial during her terrible flare-ups and whether it would really make her suffering worse.
- In my recommendation to my friend, I advised that she begin with an unique joint-freeing gentle yoga sequence for 15-30 minutes, and if she felt comfortable doing so, I suggested that she expand the time of her practice to 60 minutes.
- However, with a little encouragement, she decided to give it a go.
- My doctor just phoned to see how I was doing and to check up on me.
- She wants her fellow patients to follow her example since it is beneficial to me.” For the almost 10 million people who suffer with fibromyalgia, the prospect of even the slightest movement can be excruciatingly painful.
- The majority of people are adamant about avoiding any movement and refraining from engaging in any exercise.
- As a result of more study and my previous experience in assisting those suffering from fibromyalgia via yoga, I became interested in understanding more about this ailment and how yoga’s gentle motions, linked with breath, may be beneficial to patients.
While medical science does not yet offer a clear cure for fibromyalgia, there is certainly hope for pain management and alleviation, whether through medicine or through movement and exercise. But first and foremost, we must comprehend the essence of this predicament.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness that affects up to ten million Americans, the majority of whom are women between the ages of 40 and 75. Anxiety, sadness, and other somatic symptoms are common in this syndrome of widespread pain and chronic tiredness, which is also accompanied by a lowered pain threshold or sensitive areas as well as sleep difficulties, cognitive abnormalities, mood disturbances, anxiety, and melancholy. In addition, because fibromyalgia can mimic other illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis, the diagnosis can be difficult, and because there is no definitive lab or imaging test for the condition, the validity of the diagnosis is questioned by some physicians.
- Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness that manifests itself in the same way as usual arthritic disorders.
- When one suffers from this ailment, there are 18 delicate places or “trigger sites” in the body that are affected.
- The knees, hips, outside elbows, top of the shoulders, back of the head, and upper neck are some of the trigger points that should be avoided.
- Physical trauma, stress, or even the illness, on the other hand, are all prone to produce flare-ups in certain people.
- It is also possible that this is due to an imbalance in the chemicals present in the brain.
How Does Yoga Help To Relieve Fibromyalgia?
Yoga is one of the most frequently advised kinds of exercise for those who suffer with fibromyalgia. Yoga is a great therapy for fibromyalgia, despite the fact that it is not a cure for the ailment. Yoga is also a good choice since it can be tailored to meet the particular demands of each individual.
- Yoga’s controlled movements and gentle pressures reach deep into troubled joints and muscles, releasing the tension that has built up within them and assisting in the development of strength, flexibility, and balance, which in turn helps to reduce arthritic pain and stiffness
- Yoga is also beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition, controlled stretches, performed in conjunction with deep breathing exercises, help to relax and release the muscles that have been tight around the joints, hence enhancing range of movement. The muscles around the joints are strengthened and nourished as a result of strength-building postures. Stretching positions help to develop flexibility by opening up the joints and increasing the circulation of blood, oxygen, and energy. Shavasana, which is performed at the end of the session, rejuvenates the body by utilizing the energy that has been gained via yoga postures. Yoga postures help boost blood circulation and energy flow to the afflicted areas, as well as tone up the muscles in those areas. Thus, blood circulation is restored, synovial fluid (joint fluid) is replenished, and stiffness and discomfort are reduced in these regions as a result of the procedure. Yoga is also renowned for its ability to relax the mind and relieve tension, both of which are important factors in the development of this ailment. When practiced in the traditional manner, which stresses regulated breathing and mindfulness, yoga may help you relax, quiet, and concentrate your mind, as well as deal with the emotional turbulence that occurs from pain and handicap, while also enhancing your positive thoughts and sense of well-being. A regular yoga practice assists in the release of natural painkillers into the body, such as endorphins.
What the research says
Yoga is used as an alternative therapy for a wide range of health problems by many people. There have been several research conducted to investigate the possible advantages of yoga for persons who suffer from fibromyalgia. Participants in one research reported having more “good” days than “bad” days, and they were less likely to leave work due to discomfort. In another study, researchers discovered that yoga was effective among reducing sleep disruptions, exhaustion, and sadness, as well as enhancing overall quality of life in participants.
Yoga poses for fibromyalgia
- Slow, smooth breathing will help you get the most out of this mild joint loosening routine (Sukshma Vyayam). Try out this yoga routine with a video by clicking here! It is quite beneficial to follow this regimen during moments of acute pain flare-ups. This back stretch can help you swiftly relieve all of the discomfort and stiffness in your back and neck
- It can be done in either direction. For milder pain, other useful yoga postures includeTadasana (which realigns and relaxes your body),Uttanasana (which opens up the entire back),Veerabhadrasana (which strengthens the muscles of the legs, back and arms),Viparita Karani (which reduces swelling and fatigue in the legs), Sphinx and Bhujangasana (which opens up your front body and chest and relieves pain in the neck and back Practicing breathing techniques such as the Breath of Joy, Full Yogic breathing, Breathe of Victory (Ujjayi), and Alternate Nostril (Nadi shodhana pranayama) will help you calm your mind as well as invigorate your body, which can help you recover from weariness. It is possible to control your discomfort on a long-term basis by practicing Strengthening and Healing Contractions, SAHC Meditation, or Panchkosha Meditation (all of which are taught at Sri Sri Yoga Deep Dive Retreat). Gastric washing (ShortShankhaprakshalana(once a month) and LongShankhaprakshalana(once a week)) might help you get rid of toxins that have accumulated in your digestive tract (once in six months). At the Sri Sri YogaDeep Dive Retreat, you will first learn how to do this under the guidance of a certified instructor. Always seek professional assistance because it is a highly strenuous operation that might aggravate your health if not performed properly.
Getting started with yoga
In the same way that you should consult your doctor before beginning any workout program, if you are new to yoga, you should consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. The wisest course of action once you’ve received formal approval is to move very carefully and only under the supervision of a qualified teacher. Experiment with one or two mild positions every day, paying close attention to how they make you feel. What’s most essential is that you listen to your body and stop when it tells you to stop throughout your practice sessions.
Once you’ve determined that your yoga program is not increasing your symptoms, you may gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing it.
If there isn’t a yoga instructor accessible in your region, and you’re following a self-guided program, make sure you understand the postures completely before attempting them, and start with the most basic ones. A film or a book with excellent illustrations might be really beneficial.
My final two cents
Accept your suffering rather than resisting or fighting it. Find out how to cope with it while maintaining your composure. Don’t give up and don’t give up hope. Recognize that movement that is linked with the breath is essential! I hope you are feeling better and recovering quickly. Blessings. This blog’s material is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions about a medical problem, you should always seek the counsel of your physician or other experienced health specialists.
E-YRT 500 Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP (Yoga Alliance Certified Educator in Professional Practice), Meditation Teacher, Happiness expert, NYU Post Graduate Medical School authorized Yoga-CME retreat leader, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, and Homeopath Sejal Shah.