Yoga Therapy for Scoliosis & Chronic Back Pain
Yoga Therapy for Chronic Back Pain
Over 80% of us will experience significant back pain during our life, ranging from subacute, short-term pain which resolves over a few weeks, to chronic, long-term pain which may improve, fluctuate, or persist. Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability, affecting millions worldwide and increasing in prevalence. Coupled with the physical experience of pain is a reduced quality of life and mental wellbeing: major depression is often associated with chronic, unresolved back pain.
Yoga as a therapy can reduce back pain and disability as well as improve associated psychological symptoms, according to a number of studies and systematic reviews. It has also been suggested that unlike physical therapy — wherein the duration of therapy is finite and limited, or a take-home program may be lost, forgotten, or not provided— yoga gives individuals a means of self-reliance and the opportunity to help themselves on an ongoing basis. Along with the considerable positive benefits of yoga for back pain comes an acknowledgement that yoga must be tailored to the individual, and the cause of pain taken into consideration: without knowledgeable guidance, increased pain or outright injury may occur for those with scoliosis, osteoporosis, surgical interventions, and the frail-elderly or those weakened due to fibromyalgia, neurological conditions, cancer and in-treatment— to name a few.
Yoga Therapy for Scoliosis
The body is adept at accommodating, and compensating for, imbalances. Amazingly, despite common curves of 40-degrees (Cobb angle), the majority of those with scoliosis do not report significant pain until mid-life; in fact, pain is no more frequent in those with scoliosis than in those without. What is the predominating cause of pain in those with scoliosis? Lack of movement. And yet, stability and balancing must come with that movement.
With experience from a lifetime with scoliosis —as well as working with clients with scoliosis due to idiopathic causes, structural compensation such as that experienced by amputees, neurological conditions, and disability— we can say that yoga therapy is not only beneficial in caring for oneself, but is well received by the body. More specifically, for those with severe scoliosis which may restrict proper breathing, limit mobility, compress nerves, or impair function of organs systems (proper digestion, for example), yoga therapy may be particularly helpful due to its individualized nature and one-on-one approach.
The body is not compartmentalized. When we consider back pain or scoliosis, a larger picture must be considered: lifestyle, health, workplace and type of work, wellbeing and state of mind. Pain rarely exists solely at the physical level and can in some cases be attributed to things which seemingly have 'nothing to do' with the back / spine: emotional distress, phantom pain, referred pain, somatic pain, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and kidney stones— among others. We offer a whole-person approach to managing and ameliorating back pain, including yoga therapy, therapeutic bodywork, and comprehensive therapy.