Yoga Can Cause Pain And Treat Yoga Paradox
New research indicates that yoga paradox poses such as downward dog may increase the risk of injury to your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. It’s not all bad news. This study confirms that yoga can be use to manage neck and low back pain.
These findings show the complex relationship between yoga, musculoskeletal pain and disability, which is the second leading cause of disability in the world. These findings are important not only for those who practice yoga or who are considering it, but also for health care professionals treating patients with musculoskeletal disorders and yoga teachers.
What Did We Do?
We surveyed 354 people who had taken at least one class in the past year in a studio with two locations in New York City. The majority of participants were women (95%), and average age 45. Classes are offer in Vinyasa yoga, Iyengar and prenatal yoga.
Participants filled out an electronic questionnaire online to help us assess their musculoskeletal problems at the beginning. Then, we contacted them again one year later to evaluate the effects of yoga on any bone, joint or muscle pain. We asked them about their feelings on yoga and how it affected their pain.
We asked people who reported that yoga causes pain to tell us if they felt it during yoga class, and in what position. This was either within one hour or the next day.
What Paradox Did We Discover?
Nearly 87% of participants experienced musculoskeletal discomfort within one year. Sixty-six percent of participants who experienced pain in at least one part of their bodies reported that yoga had improved their bone, joint, and muscle pain, especially neck, back, and shoulder pain.
21% claimed that yoga made their pain worse, and 10% claimed that yoga caused pain in the upper limbs (hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders). This could be due to postures like the downward dog that require you to place weight on this area of your body.
44 percent of participants said that yoga didn’t affect their pain. Participants were asked to examine all areas of their bodies where they felt pain. Some participants might have claimed that yoga relieves pain in one area, but causes pain elsewhere.
While more than half of all injuries were minor, others caused time away from yoga (39%), or prolonged pain for over three months (42%). On a scale from zero to ten, people who suffered from yoga-related musculoskeletal discomfort rated their pain as between two and five.
Although we did not ask about the causes of these injuries. Prior research has shown that overexertion, poor instruction, and poor technique increase the likelihood of injury.
What Is The Paradox Comparison To Other Research?
Our study that yoga causes pain in 10% people over a period of one year shows a much higher rate. Than previous studies which reported pain levels as high as 1% and 2.4%.
Higher numbers may be due to the fact that we followed up participants for one year. Which gives us a more accurate estimate of their health than other studies that only assessed individuals at one time. Our study supports the common belief that yoga can reduce neck and back pain. Recent research has also confirmed the benefits of yoga for chronic low-back pain.
Our research is part of a larger study that examines the complex relationship between pain and yoga. However, it was not possible to obtain a large enough sample. Future research will need to focus on yoga injuries among younger and male participants. This may be more common for those who do yoga in urban centers.
What’s The Paradox Take-Home Message Then?
- Yoga should be practiced with care and caution. If they have had an injury, they should reduce the amount of weight. That is placed on their arms (such as the downward dog pose).
- Yoga teachers must inform their students about injury potential and encourage them not to hold unsafe positions. When participants are healing from an injury, they should consult physiotherapists in order to modify postures.
- Patients should talk to their doctors and physiotherapists if they plan to do yoga. They can assess the risks and benefits of yoga, as well as any modifications that might make it safer.