There’s a lot of evidence that yoga can help reduce or relieve pain in the lower back, but that may not be the only condition it can treat. A recent study performed by Berlin’s Immanuel Hospital suggests that performing yoga may also be beneficial for people who suffer from chronic neck pain. The effects of the treatment vary according to the patient, the type of yoga performed, and the nature of the pain. Many people, however, saw significant improvement after performing yoga for a relatively short time.
Chronic neck pain can be caused by a number of different factor, including injuries and congenital defects in the structure of the neck. In some people, stress and poor posture can also act as a potential source of pain. No matter where the pain comes from, however, it can result in a decreased quality of life for many sufferers. A significant number of patients also lose work time and money to their neck pain.
According to the Berlin study, which was published in the Journal of Pain, yoga may be an appropriate treatment for several different types of neck pain. It also provides improved quality of life and can be helpful for a number of psychological and emotional issues, which contribute to increased pain. Unlike most neck pain treatments, yoga has few to no significant side effects.
Most people deal with their chronic neck pain using over the counter analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. Unfortunately, some studies show that these drugs are effective only for short term pain. They may not help people who feel discomfort and inflammation regularly. They also come with a number of unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness and nausea. Overuse of NSAIDs can result in gastrointestinal bleeding and other digestive issues.
Unlike NSAIDs, yoga’s side effects tend to be primarily beneficial. They include reduced anxiety, greater physical flexibility and even improved sleep. Some kinds of yoga work better for pain treatment, however. Iyengar yoga, a form of yoga that heavily emphasizes posture and makes use of blocks and other props, is considered to be easier and more effective for many pain treatments.
When this kind of yoga was used along with normal exercise in 77 patients, the yoga group experienced a significant reduction in pain. This may have occurred due to the improved muscle tone and relieved tension often associated with yoga practice, making yoga a safe and effective option for pain relief.