Injured? How Yoga Can Help Speed Your Recovery
Muscle strains and sprains can really slow you down. If you want to help your body along in the healing process instead of waiting for nature to take its course, you might consider yoga. Yoga can help gently stretch injured muscles, increase circulation and prevent disability by keeping you flexible.
When you injure a muscle, tendon or ligament, it causes microscopic tears in the tissue. As these heal, they tend to form scar tissue, which is not as flexible as the original tissue. The gentle stretching of yoga postures helps prevent scar tissue. It’s very important to stretch gently and not push the pose past the point at which the muscle becomes damaged. If you’re not sure how to do it, work with a qualified instructor.
Keep the Blood Flowing
A muscle that has been injured needs good circulation to promote healing. The blood flow brings necessary nutrients and removes waste products. Good circulation also helps decrease swelling. The deep breathing of yoga sends well-oxygenated blood flowing throughout the body, while the combination of deep breathing and stretching helps “open up” the muscles, increasing blood flow and the removal of toxins. Deep breathing also helps you relax, which decreases the tension in injured muscles.
Yoga affects the natural reflexes that would otherwise send a message to a muscle to contract. You can learn to use mind and body to relieve a tensed, stretched muscle. Yoga can also help you relax muscles to prevent spasms and concentrate on muscles in the more difficult to stretch areas of the ribs and smaller back muscles.
Hold That Pose
Maintaining a yoga pose for five minutes or more can be very restorative, especially for injuries caused by high-intensity activities like running. Holding the pose for this extended period can help decrease inflammation and even rebuild connective tissue that has been damaged. Most yoga poses also include both flexion (bending) and extension (straightening), which balances both the injured muscle and those that counterbalance it.
Yoga can be excellent for building strength in the back and neck, but you should be cautious if you’ve sustained an injury in these areas. According to a Portland car accident attorney, neck and back injuries can become severe over time if not treated properly. This is why it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying to heal these injuries with yoga.
Although yoga can be very restorative and healing, you should know what you’re doing. Don’t just jump into yoga poses because you’ve had an injury. Find a qualified instructor who can work with you and who will insure you perform the poses correctly. An instructor can also teach you how to modify a pose if necessary. By the way, yoga can also help prevent injuries, so keep on with those asanas even after you recover!