Practicing yoga can help reduce your back pain.

This is because yoga focuses on a mind-body connection, including stretching, deep breathing and stress relief. In a number of studies, research found that people who practiced yoga had a decrease in back pain, depressive symptoms and stress.

So what is the next step? For one practitioner, it is integrating yoga into medical treatment. In 2010, yoga instructor Rajan Narayanan began Life in Yoga. This organization educates and trains doctors on the benefits of yoga. Life in Yoga is backed by the Howard University College of Medicine, and recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. So far the program has trained 145 doctors.

Narayanan wants to change how yoga is represented. It is so much more than just breathing exercises. There is still a stigma associated with yoga, in that it is mostly done by women. Also it is just stretching or breathing deeply when really the core of yoga is the mind-body connection. Yoga builds strength and flexibility, and can help lower stress.

Narayanan says yoga can have scientific benefits and help with medical conditions. Currently, he is working on tailoring yoga therapy for certain conditions, for example, partnering with an internist to come up with yoga specifically for patients with high blood pressure.

Yoga as an Addition to Medical Treatment

study published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, explored integrating gentle yoga for cancer patients. “Although yoga has been practiced in Eastern culture for thousands of years as part of life philosophy, classes in the United States only recently have been offered to people with cancer,” said the study. As a complement to cancer treatment, yoga is a noninvasive way to help with awareness of breath, relaxation, exercise and social support, all of which are important for quality of life for cancer patients. The study found that, “Yoga practice may assist cancer survivors in managing symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain and fatigue.”

Yoga can be an easy way to try and treat pain or chronic conditions, with no real downside. It is important to ease into it with beginner yoga, and not overdo it when starting out. When practicing yoga for back pain, be mindful of anything that worsens the pain. If your back pain does not improve, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964.