Yoga is one of the most effective ways for me to ease tension and chronic pain in my body and help me relax and release any anxiety.
I’ve written before about my autoimmune disease journey and how starting a regular yoga and pilates practice has been a powerful component to my management of chronic pain.
If you’re here, you’re probably in some degree of chronic pain, and I want you know, friend, that I understand.
Let’s briefly talk about the benefits of yoga to helping cope with chronic pain and strengthen the body so that you can alleviate some of it. If you are already familiar with these benefits, feel free to skip ahead to the yoga sequences you can use for particular types of chronic pain.
Healing Benefits of Yoga for Chronic Pain:
Yoga works to bring back balance to the body. The modern lifestyle very quickly throws our bodies out of alignment, which can put unecessary pressure on areas of our body and creates chronic pain.
Simple things we can’t avoid, such as sitting in cars to run errands and carpool, or sitting in front of computers to work, create imbalances in our body that over time result in chronic pain.
Those of us fighting the uphill battle that is autoimmune disease related pain have to work that much harder to make sure we stretch and build strength to support our bodies in our daily activities.
How Yoga & Pilates Help To Reduce Chronic Pain:
Yoga works to gently strength, strengthen, and realign the body to its natural state, which will help you overtime to help with chronic pain.
Personally, I have seen huge changes in my balance and strength since ditching the gym membership and moving completely over to a yoga and pilates practice.
I tell this story in another post, too, but at one point – I had a horrible pain in the back of my right shoulder for months. I had to put heat pads on it multiple times a day, regularly took turmeric and other supplements for pain, and still had to take ibuprofen more often than I wanted for pain.
I went to my doctor one day and said – you need to take x-rays of my shoulder. There’s something there or not there that should be.
She felt around for a few minutes and said – you can get an x-ray if you want, but I can feel what is wrong and it’s a lot of inflammation. I recommend pilates.
I started yoga and pilates a week later, up to 3-5 times a week, and within a couple months, the constant pain was gone.
Occasionally, the tension and inflammation comes back, but it is only a couple of days and it’s gone again.
So, I mean it when I saw that I feel the benefits of a regular yoga and pilates practice firsthand.
Yoga Sequences for Chronic Pain:
All of these sequences are under 20 minutes, can be done at home, and focus in on a particular area where chronic pain is more common.
Personally, I like to do them while listening to sounds of ocean waves (this is after I get comfortable enough where I don’t need to listen to them talk me through it) and here’s a link to a YouTube ocean waves soundscape I really love:
I also do some deep breathing exercises when I’m feeling particularly anxious or rundown. I talk about my favorites and the best breathing apps in this post.
Stress = more chronic pain. So, find what works for you.
1. Quick Yoga Sequences for Self-Care:
All of these yoga routines can be easily used in the morning – or any other time of day – to help lubricate joints and speed up the warming up process.
1. 10-Minute Morning Yoga | Sarah Beth Yoga
A wonderful morning flow for beginners. This sequences will take just a few more minutes out of your morning and will give back to you in dividends.
Stretching out tired, stiff limbs and joints will set you up for a less painful day.
2. Yoga for Neck, Shoulders & Back | Yoga with Adriene
Whether you’re neck, shoulders and back hurt just because, or due to driving in the car a lot of working on a computer, this routine will help.
Do this regularly to see even more improvement over time.
3. Yoga for Kids | Alo Yoga
This one might say for kids, but that just means you can do this stretch routine with your little kids, so you don’t miss it if you don’t have help.
I don’t, either, and this stretching routine will be gentle enough for us with chronic pain and a great stretch, while also appropriate for kids.
4. Yoga for Lower Back Pain | Yoga With Adriene
I have lower back pain often. I know it’s a pretty common area for others to have chronic pain, too.
This routine will gently easy out some of that stiffness and build some strength in your back and core, so that it will continue to improve over time.
5. Yoga for Hands, Fingers & Wrists | Yoga With Adriene
Okay, I really love Adriene’s videos. This super quick video is going to ease chronic pain in hands, fingers and writsts.
I feel like the hands and wrists are one of the most common areas where chronic pain begins and also worsens over time.
For me, being a mom, a writer, and a pianist, I work my hands and wrists to the max – and I feel it. Routines like this one have been of huge benefit to me.
6. Yoga for Upper Back Pain | Yoga With Adriene
Seriously, just go subscribe to her channel. She has so many routines that are a bit longer, but really hit on important areas where chronic pain can settle in (I’m looking at you, sciatica!)
This video focuses in on the upper back pain, which is really where I started to see some major tightness and inflammation before I started yoga and pilates.
I bet I’m not the only one, either, so this one is for you:
7. Yoga for Sciatica & Lower Back Pain | Brett Larkin Yoga
Oh man, I had the worst sciatica pain when I was pregnant – especially with my daughter.
It was horrible. She would kick my piriformis out of place and I would have a dead leg I’d have to drag around. A few times a week I saw a prenatal chiropractor to put it back into place. Not fun.
If you have sciatica pain, this one’s for you:
8. Yoga for Bloating, Digestion, Ulcerative Colitis, IBD & IBS| Sarah Beth Yoga
Oh boy, if you have ulcerative colitis, IBD or IBS, you GO THROUGH IT.
I am so sorry – it’s such an uncomfortable, life altering experience. I have not personally been diagnosed, but I have some symptoms with what I have and I know people with the full-blown UC experience.
It is painful, friends. Treat yourself kindly and perhaps this yoga stretch will be a good for for you:
9. Yoga Poses for Arthritis Relief | Yoga With Kassandra
If you’re suffering from aching joints and/or arthritis, this special yoga routine for arthritis might be the one for you to try.
10. Yoga for Headaches | Mind Body Soul
Headaches and migraines can stop your best laid plans right in their tracks.
I get my fair share of headaches, but am very close to someone who has debilitating migraines, and it is such a hard physical condition to cope with.
This yoga routine, coupled with some supplements and other remedies, might give some relief:
You really don’t need anything to start doing yoga at home. But, in case you are looking for some yoga equipment, these are my favorite yoga pants, mat, gloves (to reduce wrist pain) and miracle ball workout:
I find it incredible how powerful our mind and bodies are. Even when we feel weakened by health issues, such as autoimmune diseases, or health conditions we may have been born with, there are things we can do to bring balance and strength to our bodies and mind.
Yoga is a powerful way we can take control of our health again.
I hope these routines are helpful for you. I’d like to make a couple of suggestions for you, if this is new:
- Stop if it hurts – this is not a “more pain, more gain” scenario.
- Talk to your doctor – if you have any concerns if this is safe for you
- Be consistent – over time, you’ll see more relief than just doing a routine once
- Stay positive – our minds are incredibly powerful
- Pursue health – beyond a yoga routine, such as supplements, diet, etc.
Feel free to check out my other posts on how to lose weight when you have an autoimmune disease, how to start yoga and pilates, and health supplements I take almost every day.
Have a fabulous day,