default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Study: Committing to a regular yoga practice may reduce pain, blood pressure

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 9:10 am

Dear Pharmacist: I have neck pain, sciatica and headaches. I’ve tried prednisone, Celebrex, Ibuprofen, Vicodin, physical therapy, chiropractors, massage, reiki, acupuncture, prayer work, laser and 2 surgeries on my neck. Nothing helps. Please, any ideas? — D.C., San Diego

Answer: Assuming your diet is good, I’d try yoga next. I hear you thinking, “I can’t even sit without pain, why should I twist myself into a knot?” Research proves yoga can help certain types of neck and back pain, headaches, migraines, anxiety, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Since you’ve tried addictive narcotics, anti-inflammatories, steroids, surgery and whatever else, spending thousands of dollars and suffering endlessly, I think yoga’s worth a shot. It has no side effects other than making you feel refreshed, sort of like a human breath mint!

In a 2012 German study, researchers saw how a 9-week yoga program helped participants with chronic neck pain.

Yoga has been around for centuries, and there’s no harm so long as you don’t push your body past its limits, but in your case, I would still get your physician and chiropractor’s blessings. And speaking of blessings,” I’ve never associated a religious connotation with yoga. It’s about stretching and breathing. Besides, you’ll be the life of the party if you can turn yourself into a human pretzel!

If your hips are tight, it may be the result of inflexibility, and it can subsequently cause your knee joint to become misaligned with the other bones in your leg, causing pain throughout the leg. Sciatica is a rather common condition in which lower back pain extends into one or both legs, by way of the sciatic nerve. A January 2013 study demonstrated that certain “asanas,” or yoga poses, relieved symptoms of sciatica including pain, rigidity and trouble walking.

Flexibility helps your posture, and the strength that yoga builds in your bones and muscles may reduce your odds for arthritis. A systematic review was performed earlier this year in New Zealand. Evidence showed regular yoga practice might alleviate pain caused by musculoskeletal disorders.

What about your bones? Different yoga poses and transitions create mild stress on your bones, which causes the bone to become denser (and stronger!) in order to balance out this stress.

Your mind benefits too. A 2012 study performed in London showed yoga and meditation significantly reduced anxiety and blood pressure and improved mood. That occurs by increasing “happy” serotonin levels, while lowering cortisol, a stress hormone.

Choose classes carefully. When I walked into my first yoga class, it was 105 degrees! It’s called “Bikram” yoga, or sometimes “hot yoga.” What a nightmare for me! I despise heat. I could not get out of there fast enough. So call in advance and ask about the class you want to take. Classes labeled “restorative” or “yin” are gentle, and cool. Those labeled “Vinyasa” or “Hatha” are also fairly easy, at least for me. Start out slowly and with your doctor’s permission since you’ve had surgeries.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For more information about Suzy Cohen, visit her website at www.suzycohen.com

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists