What Are They?
Chronic Pain is either pain that continues longer than may normally be expected after an injury or surgery, eg long term back pain; pain after an accident or surgery; or pain which arises without obvious cause, eg Fibromyalgia.
There is no fixed time limit for the transition between classifying pain as acute (short term) or chronic (long term), but generally pain that isn’t improving over some months could be considered as Chronic Pain. I find it helpful to simply refer to Pain Conditions rather than applying a chromic / acute label.
We know that Chronic Pain can be linked to other health issues including stress, anxiety, and depression, although cause and effect may be mutual. We also know that Chronic Pain can have a subconscious psychological aspect to it – due to the Nervous System becoming over sensitive and incorrectly interpreting pain signals from the body.
How Yoga Therapy Can Help
Yoga Therapy can help with pain conditions in various ways, in particular:
- Understanding triggers and causes of your chronic pain
- Relaxation techniques to deal with flare ups and calm the Nervous System. Overtime this can help the Nervous System recalibrate itself
- Helping you develop a go to routine for dealing with pain, including understanding which postures and practices which are helpful and unhelpful
- Developing coping strategies for longer term conditions
- Developing a sense of resilience and psychological well being, which we know is important in dealing with long term conditions
How I Work With Pain Conditions
The starting point is assessment on both a BioPsychoSocial basis and a Yogic basis (using a Koshic model of health) of how you are experiencing pain and how it affects your daily life, including any other treatment you have had, medications you are taking, and any diagnosis.
From there we will probably work with yoga postures, breathing practices, relaxation work and mindfulness practices to help regulate and stabilise your Nervous System.
I will look at any other conditions which may be interacting with your experience of pain, including posture and psychological health and see if there are practices we can use to support dealing with these.
You won’t be asked to enter any postures, or undertake any practices, that cause additional pain or discomfort.
Additionally I will suggest suitable practices to work with at home that will support our class based work.
I’ll happily fit in alongside any specific guidelines from other health professionals, eg Consultant, GP, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Physiotherapist.
If necessary I will make suggestions for onward referral to other professionals.
After knee replacement surgery I experienced considerable pain as my knee healed. I used yoga practices, particularity breathing practices, to help calm my Nervous System both to tolerate pain short term as my body healed, and to make sure the pain didn’t become entrenched.