- Yoga is an increasingly popular complementary or alternative therapy for musculoskeletal disorders.
- Yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 percent of people and exacerbates 21 percent of existing injuries.
- The pain was more common in the upper extremities (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand) that put weight on the upper limbs.
- Yoga participants should be informed about the risks of injury if not practiced meticulously.
The art of practicing yoga helps in controlling an individual's mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxing.
But if not practiced correctly, it causes pain and discomfort. the first prospective study to investigate injuries caused from recreational participation in yoga shows that yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 percent of people and exacerbates 21 percent of existing injuries.
‘The incidence of pain caused by yoga is more than 10 percent per year, which is comparable to the injury rate of all sports injuries combined among the physically active population.’
"While yoga can be beneficial for musculoskeletal pain, like any form of exercise, it can also result in musculoskeletal pain," said lead researcher Associate Professor Evangelos Pappas from the University's Faculty of Health Sciences, who conducted the study with Professor Marc Campo from Mercy College, New York.
Musculoskeletal pain - Is it Dangerous?
An injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves due to jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle causes musculoskeletal pain.
"We also found that yoga can exacerbate existing pain, with 21 percent of existing injuries made worse by doing yoga, particularly pre-existing musculoskeletal pain in the upper limbs."
In terms of severity, more than one-third of cases of pain caused by yoga were serious enough to prevent yoga participation and lasted more than 3 months.
"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.
People with musculoskeletal pain sometimes complain that their entire bodies ache. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked.
Sometimes, the muscles twitch or burn.
Symptoms vary from person to person, but the common symptoms are:
How To Prevent Yoga Pain?
- Sleep disturbances
"It's not all bad news, however, as 74 percent 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 exercise enabling them to make informed decisions about which types of activity are best.
Pain caused by yoga might be prevented by careful performance and participants telling their yoga teachers of injuries they may have prior to participation, as well as informing their healthcare professionals about their yoga practice.
Yoga teachers should also discuss with their students the risks for injury if not practiced conscientiously, and the potential for yoga to exacerbate some injuries.
"Yoga participants are 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 results in safer practice," Associate Professor Pappas said.