It affects 1.5 billion people worldwide which is more than heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer combined.
Chronic pain is behind the opioid epidemic western medicine experience today. The number of people overusing and misusing opioid drugs is constantly rising.
Chronic or persistent pain is still very much misunderstood. It is often labeled as IBS, migraines, low back pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, cystitis, ... which indicates that the pain is related to the organ or place where it is experienced, that it is a result of a disorder BUT chronic pain is the disorder.
Nociceptors are sensory neurons that send pain messages from the periphery to the brain. The brain as the protector and chief balancer of the whole body system tries to decode these messages and suppress the pain if possible. In chronic pain condition the brain misunderstand the pain signals for various reasons.
For easier understanding chronic pain condition can be described as an electric guitar. People without chronic pain have their amplifier turned down but people with chronic pain have theirs turned up and even small sensation can cause pain.
Persistent pain leads to muscle guarding and spasms, inflammation, restricted movement, weakness and loss of normal function which leads into frustration, depression, anger and helplessness. It is a vicious cycle in which pain breeds stress and stress breeds more pain.
How can slow mindful yoga help?
Slow asana practise helps send accurate messages to the brain. It creates greater awareness and interoception and reduces the hyper focus on pain signals. The brain can regulate your system better - help to activate when you need to and relax when you need to.
Slow yoga also increases blood flow, releases endorphins, activates parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), promotes mindfulness and dampens the hyperarousal response (fight or flight response, cortisol release).
Kristine Kaoverii Weber: Yoga for chronic pain (Subtle yoga).
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