Almost every person who is going through THR experiences pain in one form or another. I experienced pain in the months before my surgery because I was dealing with bone-on-bone in my hip socket as well as a labrum tear. Yoga helped me manage the pain; I’m not just saying this because I love yoga, I’m saying it because yoga REALLY HELPED!
People who practice yoga have reported multiple benefits including: less reactiveness to stressors like pain, better concentration, and improved outlook on life. Scientific studies back up these claims; using MRIs and other brain imaging techniques, scientists have found that there are changes in parts of the brain in people who practice yoga, changes that create greater resilience in the face of stressors, that improve concentration and memory, and that improve a person’s sense of well-being.
Yet sometimes you just don’t want to move! When we are grappling with pain the last thing we want to do is move. These are the times when you can call on the more contemplative practices in yoga such as restorative poses, breathing practices, or meditation. Practicing this type of yoga helps to regulate your nervous system, to calm your mind, and to manage stress.
When we are upset, scared, or in pain, it is natural for our fight-or-flight response to kick in, sending chemicals like cortisol and other stress hormones throughout the body. This is a natural and a desired reaction that the body makes in response to a stressful event. After the event, the body usually returns to a state of normalcy, or homeostasis. But when faced with long-term stressors like the chronic pain that comes with osteoarthritis of the hips, if we do not short circuit the pain our systems can stay in a state of constant fight-or-flight with chemicals continually being produced, and disrupting almost all of the body’s processes. We need a way to break the pattern and here is where contemplative yoga practices like restorative poses, breathing practices, or mediation really shine.
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Articles and Studies:
“Chronic Pain is Surprisingly Treatable when Patients Focus on the Brain,”
Washington Post, Nathanial Frank
“This is your Brain on Mindfulness,” Shambhala Sun, Dr Michael Baime
“Yoga for Pain: What the Science Says,” NCCIH Clinical Digest
for Health Professionals
“The Science Of Yoga And Mindfulness For Pain with Dr. Sara Lazar, PhD,”
Integrative Pain Science Institute Podcast
How Does Yoga Relieve Chronic Pain?
“The Power and Mysticism of Ujjayi Pranayama”
“What The Vagus Nerve Is And How To Stimulate It For Better Mental Health,”
“Chronic stress puts your health at risk”
“Perspectives on Yoga Inputs in the Management of Chronic Pain,” Indian Journal of Paliative Care, Nandini Vallath
“Insular cortex mediates increased pain tolerance in yoga practitioners,” Chantal Villemure , Marta Ceko, Valerie A Cotton, M Catherine Bushnell
The power of a deep breath – Get some of this for yourself today