Is yoga right for you?

Did you know that more than 30 million people do yoga around the world?  14 million are in the United States who have a prescription from their doctor.   Yoga has been known to help with back pain, better posture and cardio health.  

With any exercise there come risks of injury.  There have been back injuries, ribs that come out of place, neck strains, elbow tendonitis and many other injuries if not done correctly.  

There are many poses that are difficult and starting such poses before you are ready can lead to an injury.

Handstands, bending backward and inversions require strong core and body mechanics so if you are not ready to do these poses, you can pay the price and spend a while rehabilitating injuries and not being able to engage in yoga for a time period.  

The New York Times did an investigation to find out how common yoga related injuries occur.  Pulling, tearing and sprained muscles are becoming more common with yoga participants.  So why are injuries becoming more common with yoga?   There are a lot of people who go for exercise but there are many people that go because they are trying to work on a injury that is why they got a prescription from their doctor.  

With the increase in technology and jobs in High Tech and gaming, sedentary lifestyles are increasing as well.  There are many people who sit for hours at a time and are taking yoga to improve the function of muscles that are tight or weak.  

Yoga is great but new students who sit for long hours per day may need a lot more instruction.  Instructors need to guide these individuals differently because of shortened and tight muscles and long periods of inactivity. Pushing through these exercises even if the student really persists may be a big mistake.  Don’t allow students who have not been practicing to push past comfortable stretching and make sure they get the attention that they need which can be hard when there are several people in a class.  

How often do people sustain yoga injuries?

Australia’s International Journal “Yogafound” stated that 20 percent of all yoga instructors have experienced a yoga based injury.  Opposing views in a survey from Ashtanga Vinyasa which is a bit more intense than beginners yoga stated that 62% of instructors have having at least one injury which lasted more than 30 days.  

In a 2013 published review in PLOSone they investigated cases related to adverse effects of doing yoga and discovered the most common types of yoga injuries.

Here is the data:  About 35% were the musculoskeletal system, 18% related to the nerves and 9% were optical.  Around 20% of all of these percentages became fully recovered with 1% who reported a chronic long term injury.  They also stated that there was one death that was coorelated with yoga practice.  

On the positive side, in this 2013 after this study another published study by the International Journal of Yoga found that only around 1 percent of yoga instructors reported any side effects from performing regular yoga classes and poses.

Most common injuries were back pain, joint pains in the hips, ankles and wrists.  Only around 33% sought out medical intervention.  So, if done right, injuries should be rare.  Just make sure you are ready to get into such poses.  

Here are the poses that should be prevented unless you are ready: If you don’t know what these are then you are probably not ready….

  1. Shoulder Stand or Plow Pose
  2. Headstand
  3. Back Bends (Updog, Lotus, Bridge, Wheel, Cobra, Camel)
  4. Any pose that pulls or tugs at the sciatic nerve in the lower back

How can you avoid injuries during your yoga workouts?

  1. A great way to avoid injuries with yoga and basically any exercise is to stretch or massage out any tight or restricted areas.  Get to class early and do some stretching even before the warm up stretches to make sure you are addressing any unique areas that may not be addressed for the workout to come.  
  2. Again, don’t do any poses that are too hard and if you try a new pose let the instructor know so they can help you.
  3. Use the gadgets the yoga studios put out for you for support of moves that you may need a little bit of help with.  

If you do get injured, chiropractic is a great way to get the joints moving properly again, reduce pain and inflammation and discuss what needs to be done to rehab your injury.  Waiting will only tighten up the body more and keep you immobile which is not going to help the situation.  

Our Redwood City Chiropractic office is located in downtown Redwood City and we are experts on body mechanics, sports injury and all around wellness care.