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The Benefits of Yoga for Neck Pain
Yoga is a generic name that encompasses several styles of a particular exercise. These styles are designed to empower individuals in maintaining the spiritual, physical or mental state of a person's wellbeing1. Through yoga, people have been able to recover from physical injuries and maintain healthy balanced lives. If you are experiencing neck pain, yoga may be a solution for your problem.
After its introduction to the US in the 1980's, yoga grew in popularity due to its adaptable nature. As a discipline, it is easily learned and practiced, allowing for changes in routines to fit the needs of the user. Beginners and experienced athletes alike can utilize some aspect of yoga, making it acceptable for almost all ages and health conditions.
Neck Therapy with Hatha
Hatha is the oldest and most common style of yoga practiced in the US1. It has been found to be instrumental in helping those that suffer from neck pain2, among other ailments. Thanks to the research done in clinical studies from a variety of organizations, it has been found to be instrumental in the treating of chronic neck pain.
Neck pain can be defined as discomfort in the neck and can occur for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing neck pain, you should consult a physician before participating in any physical activity. However, with a doctor's approval, Hatha can be used to help treat neck pain caused by chronic issues and short-term problems2,3.
Depending on the problem and intensity of pain, users can find relief in as little as a few sessions. This treatment has even been shown to be beneficial for up to 12 months after the completion of a nine week yoga series3. With short-term and long-term benefits, yoga is a solution that many have turned to.
Hatha Styles and Poses
Hatha is used as a term to describe a specific style of yoga and a term that applies to yoga in general. The specific usage refers to a system of breathing while balancing in poses that represent one of four Hindu disciplines. Generically, it can be used to encompass a mixture of poses from a combination of the Hindu disciplines, or in a more general sense, yoga4. It is important that you ask your yoga instructor about which form of Hatha he or she teaches. You will need to know what the exercise entails to decide if it is the right style of yoga to help treat your particular pain.
When used for the specific application of reducing or healing neck pain and/or injuries, there are some common poses that neck pain sufferers can use5. Once you have tried yoga for neck pain, you will be able to experience the relief you have been looking for. Through these gentle exercises, you can get started in your search for health and a pain-free life.
The Bala or the Child’s Pose-
The Bitilasana, also called the Cow Pose-
If you feel any pain, stop immediately and consult your physician.
These exercises can help relax tense muscles and relieve stress. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do all of them to begin with, or if you have to do a little at a time. By doing what you can, as you can, these poses will strengthen other areas of your body and help improve your overall health and wellbeing as they are correcting the problems that have caused the neck pain. As you practice these poses and they become more natural for you, your endurance will increase and you can do more. With continuous practice, you should see a decrease of neck pain and an improvement in other areas of your body.
1. “Yoga.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga (June 25, 2013)
2. “Effects of Hatha Yoga on Chronic Neck Pain.” ClinicalTrials.gov. http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01171274(June 25, 2013)
3. “Yoga for Health.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23387504 (June 25, 2013)
4. “Hatha Yoga.” Merriam Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatha%20yoga (June 25, 2013)
5. “Neck Pain.” Yoga Journal. http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/therapeutic_focus/t_neck_pain (June 25, 2013)
6. Mayo Staff. “Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity.” Mayo Clinic.com http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004 (June 25, 2013)