Should I do yoga if I feel pain?

No is the answer!

However, just because you do feel pain when you are performing a yoga position does not mean that you should just ‘give up’. It might just be due to the fact that you are ‘overstretching’ and any irritation will settle quickly with rest, never to be felt again. However, if you persistently experience pain when getting into any of the yoga positions, you should have this checked by a Chiropractor in Southampton. At the Avenue Clinic in Southampton, the Chiropractors are experts in assessing faulty movement patterns. What does this mean?

You have been told in your yoga classes about the importance of good respiratory patterns. If you don’t ‘breathe’ correctly you also develop poor stabilization patterns and poor stabilization patterns are the leading cause of low back pain!

The primary cause of poor stabilization patterns is inflammation. Inflammation occurs in the muscles, joints and other body tissues and is secondary to poor breathing patterns, smoking, toxins, poor nutrition, medication (inflammation is the side effect of virtually every medication and stress. Additional causes of poor stabilization patterns are surgery, lack of proper sleep and/or rest and chronic poor posture or repetitive movements.

In order to be able to move maximally into any position, without pain, we need to have a mixture of stability in some areas of our bodies and mobility in others.

Stabilization should occur at the foot, pelvis, lumbar spine and shoulder blades.

Movement (or individual movement that does not involve the rest of the body too – called dissociation) should occur at the ankle, hip, thoracic spine (between the shoulders) and shoulder and the joints need an optimum position of joint control or centration to maintain their integrity and move without compromising the joint and leading to tissue irritation and pain.

You should perform an integration of movement and stabilization, which can take the form of yoga. If you are in pain when trying to integrate these, it could be that you need to be examined to ensure that you do have proper coordination. The areas of the body most commonly injured are the low back, knee and shoulder.

Your initial consultation will include a thorough examination to rule out anything more serious, then your movement patterns will be examined carefully to see where you might have overtight muscles, inhibited or weak muscles, restricted joints, poor foot mechanics – in fact all of the areas of your body that might be contributing to your pain.

Often pain is felt in an area quite distant from the actual problem, for example you may have a tight hip muscle that has become tight because it is trying to protect a joint in the pelvis. This then creates an imbalance of one side of the pelvis and the other.

These asymmetries of movement are the things that create too much rotation in the lumbar spine, which eventually can lead to pain… and you don’t think you have been doing anything different! In fact you haven’t – it is simply that this imbalance between left and right hip has created too much movement in the low back and eventually the tissues have become inflamed and sore.

You probably need just a few treatments and advice regarding how to correct the movement pattern. After your treatments you should be able to quickly find yourself back enjoying yoga again! You don’t want to leave persistent pain though as you could end up with sciatica or chronic pain which is much more difficult to treat.

Dr Jan Krir, DC, MSc, BA, FBCA, FRCOC
Doctor of Chiropractic

Avenue Chiropractic Clinic, 76 Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DF

Over 30 years as a centre for excellence in the treatment of back and joint pain