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Can Yoga Help Heal My Chronic Pain?

Suffering from migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia or lower back aches? Give this mind-body practice a try.

100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain in some fashion or form every day, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

It’s an epidemic in our nation that exceeds those affected by diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer combined.

For many, this is more than an everyday nuisance. It’s a colossal hindrance to your body and can have a major impact on your mental well-being as well.

Chronic pain can come in many different shapes, sizes and areas of the body, including migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain.

The most common cures for these serious aches and pains?

Expensive trips to specialists and prescription medications relieve cases of extreme discomfort. To make matters even worse, these medicines are highly addictive; with middle-aged adults leading the statistics in the likelihood of prescription painkiller overdose rates.

So, what’s an uncommon cure for such a common problem so many older adults in the nation face in their daily lives?

An article released by the Harvard Medical School says practicing yoga can help, and even go as far as to relievechronic pain.

The article references a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine that surveyed 313 individuals suffering lower back pain.

Their research concluded that “a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition” and that “yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.”

How does it work?

Psychology Today says regularly practicing yoga has an opposing impact on brain structures triggered by the effects of symptoms such as depression, anxiety and impaired cognitive function.

Meaning: your brain has the potential to be altered by chronic pain. And with its focus on deep breaths and mental relaxation techniques, yoga can actually “increase grey matter in brain volume and white matter connectivity” for those who make it a part of their regular workout routine.

If You’re One of the Unlucky 100 Million:

Incorporating this practice into your life is a bona fide alternative, drug-free treatment to the aches and pains that ail you. Why not try a fun and even more importantly, an effective means to an end of your chronic pain?