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Doing yoga for pain relief? Beware, it may increase pain and worsen your injury

While many find yoga beneficial for pain, research shows that it can also cause musculoskeletal pain in 10% people and aggravate 21% of musculoskeletal pain in the upper limbs.

fitness Updated: Jun 28, 2017 10:53 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Yoga,Injury,Can yoga harm you
Like any form of exercise, yoga can also result in musculoskeletal pain.(Shutterstock)

Yoga has many benefits, including an ability to reduce back ache and anxiety and can also cut risk of cancer and depression by reversing DNA. But researchers have warned that yoga can also lead to injuries and even worsen the existing injury. A finding has revealed that yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10% people and exacerbated 21% of the existing injuries, particularly pre-existing musculoskeletal pain in the upper limbs.

The study suggests that in terms of severity, more than one-third of cases of pain caused by yoga were serious enough to prevent yoga participation and lasted for more than three months. Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia explained that yoga participants should be encouraged to discuss the risks of injury and any pre-existing pain, especially in the upper limbs, with yoga teachers and physiotherapists to explore posture modifications that may result in safer practice.

Most “new” yoga pain is in the upper extremities such as the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand possibly due to postures that put weight on the upper limbs. ( Shutterstock )

Lead researcher Evangelos Pappas said that while yoga can be beneficial for musculoskeletal pain, like any form of exercise, it can also result in musculoskeletal pain. The study found that most “new” yoga pain was in the upper extremities (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand) possibly due to downward dog and similar postures that put weight on the upper limbs.

However, as 74% of participants in the study reported that existing pain was improved by yoga, highlighting the complex relationship between musculoskeletal pain and yoga practice. These findings can be useful for clinicians and individuals to compare the risks of yoga to other exercises enabling them to make informed decisions about which types of activities are best.

Pappas stated that the pain caused by yoga might be prevented by careful performance and the participants should tell their yoga teachers of injuries they have prior to the participation. The study is published in the journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

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First Published: Jun 28, 2017 10:50 IST