Yoga to help chronic pain?: I am thinking of... - Pain Concern

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Yoga to help chronic pain?


I am thinking of trying yoga to help with my chronic non stop pain in particular for the back.

What type of Yoga would be good for a complete beginner? I tried a class at my gym, not sure what one is was but it was way too tough for me!!!

14 Replies

I am starting a new course in what is called 'Mindful Meditation for Coping with Chronic Pain'. My GP asked if I would be interested in it as it is new thing to the practice and this is a pilot course of 4 weeks 2 hourly sessions with home work! I have read about it and it seemed interesting but didn't think the NHS would support it. It has some relation to Yoga. Anyway I'm willing to give most things a go, so I start in June. After the 4 wks, they hope people will start small groups in their own homes to carry on.

There is a Yoga for Penguins class held on alternative Thursdays at Dumont D'Urville village hall.

They do a yoga for back at my local centre but I have got a yoga for back pain cd which has really good gentle exercises in it, there is a variety in Amazon etc. the pain Clinic I attend recommend Pilates which I also do, it helps alter your posture and strengthen muscles and I do notice when I dint do it for a while. You need to tell the teacher of your back problem and the ones I have been to have been very responsive and helpful, try another class at a different place and hopefully you will find a more sympathetic teacher. Best of luck at any rate


I practice hatha yoga in a class once a week in my village hall (hatha yoga is the most common one). I recommend speaking to/emailing the tutor to find out her style and to let her know your health problems. My teacher always emphasises don't do any of the poses if they feel bad for you. We have a meditation session at the end, which is fantastic.

Have you come across Vidyamala Burch? She has produced some books and CDs on meditating for pain relief.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.. I guess I need to do more research or contact some tutors of the different styles and see what is best to do. It;s scary sometimes when you are in pain as you dont know what is good and bad for you, but equally don't want to give up and not do anything.

The Bikram Yoga looks nice because of the heat but not sure what the yoga poses are like.

I guess I should check out you tube too

Hidden in reply to Rocky1

Yeah deco check out YouTube , type in what you suffer from and then yoga , I've got chronic hip pain so I typed in yoga to help with chronic hip pain and found a lot of videos, do them all from the comfort of your own home and it's like having your own personal session , I've found it helps and helps calm me, my 3 year old also loves it he gets into it more than me lol x

Yoga does have some exercises that can be a bit difficult if you have chronic pain, but you can usually modify what you do, by not stretching so hard, or missing out some of the exercises. Pilates is another one that is really good for back pain.

Stretching exercises make my pain worse, anything where I am required to arch my back. My sacroiliac has been affected thus and I am currently taking things easy until it settles. I don't think stretching suits some kinds of back problems, unfortunately. Just listen to your body.

It is not the Yoga you need to consider, but the person who teaches it. Any yoga is better than none. But it can do you damage if the teacher does not understand your condition.

At this point in time I have no idea what is causing the chronic pain. Is it muscular, it due to nerve compression, is it due to a disc out of alignment. All these conditions need different approaches when you practice yoga.

Before you decide on a yoga class you need to determine if the teacher is capable of helping you develop strategies to ease what is causing the pain. or is the teacher someone who knows the postures, but does not understand the relationship between doing the postures and developing better bodily health.

Hope this helps.

The best yoga for back pain, as far as I know is Iyengar yoga, especially one of their remedial classes. I am taking a class that is specifically for people with back pain and it's really good. With Iyengar yoga, the teachers have to train for years before they're allowed to teach, so you will always get an experienced teacher. They use equipment such as bolsters and blocks and ropes which are great as it means anyone can do any pose as you can adjust for each person. Also the class I am in is individualised for different people in the class with different problems. It is hard to find these classes, so if you can't, you can always try to find an Iyengar teacher who has done remedial classes for backs and see if they can teach you privately.

Thanks everyone. I did tell the teacher about my pain, but she only came up to me once during the class.. I will look into smaller classes. Although I sometimes feel stretching is making me worse. It's a catch 22 situation!!

Thanks all for replying! Ill look into the Lyengar yoga too.

another good place to get exercises for back pain is the national ankylosing spondylitis society - They have a downloadable exercise guide as well as an app.

Best way to get a properly tailored exercise plan though is to see a physiotherapist.

You could try these people. They have a specially developed course for lbp and evidence that it works. I don't know if it does but it has to be a good place to start... It's very difficult to find a regime that works and even the best intentioned teachers don't have eyes in the back of their heads to watch you perform the poses safely... Even physios don't know everything and they all have different opinions! It's a mine field but you're on the road now so don't look back just keep moving forward cautiously!

This is a good question - personally, I don't understand yoga at all...or how it can benefit anything. How does it work? Is it like exercising? Sorry for the silly questions...just having a hard time comprehending how posing in some odd position brings results, but I've been considering it as well. Thank you for any insight. :)

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