There are various facets to chronic pain. Beyond the nociceptive pathway, at the physical level itself, there is a hyper arousal state of the nervous system's components, which adversely affects muscle tension, breathing patterns, energy levels, and mindset, all of which exacerbate distress and lower quality of life for the person and their family.
In the majority of chronic pain situations, the mind and body have become all too competent in recognizing even the slightest threat and mounting a full protective response in the majority of chronic pain situations.
Therefore, the very qualities that make chronic pain so difficult to control and persistent are the precise factors that make pain so effective in helping us handle immediate discomfort and endure acute emergencies. A mind-body reaction that is overly defensive may be the cause of your pain.
MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF CHRONIC PAIN:
Physical Chronic pain is not just a symptom. Usually, it takes the form of disease through active processes in the form of multiple plastic changes that together determine the duration and intensity of the pain. There is sustained deep muscle tension characterized by repetitive static loads to the muscles and psychological stress, especially in the postural groups of muscles.
Chronic pain decreases function and causes anxiety and depression. It adversely affects sleep, energy reserve and appetite adversely. High scores on a psychosocial screening and emotional distress during the acute episode are also significantly associated with non-recovery and persistence of pain.
Interpersonal relations, a crucial part of social interactions for all human beings, are often adversely influenced by chronic pain. With constant, unremitting pain, the sufferer feels control over the situation, loses self-confidence and withdraws. Some may become irritable, hostile and aggressive. People close to the ill could react with over-protectivity, avoidance, guilt or resentment. The loss of role, the fear of dependency and future suffering continuously perturb the chronic pain patient.
● Intellectual and Spiritual
The persistent pain, with its uncertainty of progress, deep distress, and interpretations, creates a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, lack of meaning for what is happening, guilt or disturbed belief systems.
YOGA AND CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT
It has become increasingly apparent in many cases of chronic pain that trying to avoid movement can worsen the problem, weakening muscles and affecting sufferers psychologically. Yoga is a gentle and adaptable exercise (which can, for example, be practiced sitting down) that improves strength and flexibility, as well as establishes a greater mind-body awareness.
Yoga first affects the physical body and subsequently involves the vital, mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual components of a person. It provides a range of degrees and methods to revitalize, reconstruct, and strengthen the body and psyche. The asanas and pranayama balance the body's physiological system and set off the neuroendocrine system's "relaxation response." Reduced metabolism, quieter breathing, stable blood pressure, lessened muscle tension, and a lower heart rate is some of these symptoms.
YOGA POSES TO TRY
1. Butterfly Pose
The soles of your feet should be positioned together as you sit down. Keep your abs taut and spine upright. Put your elbows against the inside of your thighs as you grasp each foot with both hands. Inhale to prepare; slowly drop your torso forward while exhaling, pausing when you feel the stretch. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
2. Child’s Pose
Balasana, sometimes called child's pose, is a fantastic pose for keeping the hips wide. One of the numerous yoga poses that enables you to unwind and recover control of your breath, it is also an excellent pose for lowering anxiety.
With your big toes touching the ground, kneel, then raise yourself to your feet. After then, spread your knees apart such that you can rest your body forward in between them. Put your forehead on the ground while extending your arms out in front of you. Lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck as you lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis.
3. Downward Facing Dog
A basic pose utilised in many different flow techniques, the downward-facing dog is frequently returned to both before and after a session. Pushing up while keeping your palms planted on your mat beneath your shoulders, begin on your hands and knees and lift your knees off the floor. Lifting your hips and straightening your legs requires pushing back through your hands. Spread your fingers out and press down with the fingertips starting from the forearms. Rotate your upper arms outward to enlarge your collarbones.
4. Bridge Pose
The bridge pose works and stretches the following muscles:
– Rectus and transversus abdominis
– Gluteus muscles
– Erector spinae
Lay on your back with your knees bent to start. Your shoulders should be resting on the ground while you elevate your lower back into an arch using your core muscles. This position stretches your chest and quad muscles, and you can support your low back if necessary.
5. Half Lord of the Fishes
The ideal stance to relieve persistent back and hip discomfort is half Lord of the Fishes.
Cross your right and left legs by bringing your left foot in front of your right. As you turn your body to the left, lengthen your spine. For support, place your left hand on the ground behind you. Wrap your elbow around your left knee, or move your right upper arm to the outside of your left leg. To intensify the twist in your spine, maintain your hips square. Turn your head to glance over each shoulder, then extend your neck for a moment. Keep this stance.
TIPS FOR PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC PAIN WHILE PERFORMING YOGA
Recognise the difference between bodily discomfort and pain. While discomfort can be difficult, pushing through it too far can result in pain. It's generally a sign to ease up and back off if you feel like your discomfort is just around the corner. Focus your discomfort on the area of the muscle that is stretching or contracting. Joint pain or discomfort is a warning sign that you should stop and back off.
Change up the type of yoga you do. Take a break from training regularly if you begin to experience chronic pain or an injury. Asana variation has health advantages and promotes wound healing. You can learn the benefits of slowing down and developing your bodily awareness in the poses by practicing restorative or yin yoga.
Consult experts for guidance, but never doubt your gut. If you are experiencing physical discomfort, speak with a qualified yoga instructor, physical therapist, or doctor, but never let another person's advice take the place of your own. Keep in mind that the best instructor you have is yourself.
When you practice, concentrate on keeping the muscles' tension and release balance. To support the stretching of the opposing muscles, some muscles must work hard. Rarely ought a yoga asana to be all power or all relaxation. Pushing too much in one direction can cause unpleasant injury, so remembering this can help.
Discover the basics of alignment. Anyone seeking to avoid discomfort and damage while doing yoga must comprehend how to keep the body's structural integrity and support it rather than strain it.
To reduce chronic pain, practice these yoga poses: Start with easy poses like the Cat and Cow, soft seated bends, and supine twists. Next, incorporate some gentle Sun Salutations and Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Practice some restorative poses, such as the supported child's pose and the legs up the wall (Viparita Karani) (Balasana).
Try relaxing with intention. Focused relaxation can lessen chronic pain, whether you try a relaxation pose like Savasana or a focused relaxation technique like breath awareness and body scanning. Include some Yoga Nidra breathing exercises in your focused relaxation routine. You can control your discomfort and increase awareness in your life by engaging in a variety of meditation techniques. Use a meditation approach that is peaceful or healing, such as our inner-peace meditation.
Together, the effect that mindfulness and yoga appear to have on the way we experience pain, alongside its capacity to alleviate the physiological mechanisms behind anxiety and depression, is hugely promising. But yoga also offers the benefit, if it is applied by highly trained professionals, of providing a form of physical therapy which reintroduces pain sufferers to exercise and may even address the root cause of their symptoms.
Mr. Harish Singh Pawali aka Hari Pawali is fascinated, yoga guru. He is the owner and Founder of Shree Hari Yoga School.