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Indian J Palliat Care. 2010 Jan;16(1):1-7. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.63127.

Perspectives on yoga inputs in the management of chronic pain.

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1
Consultant, Bangalore Institute of Oncology, Karunashraya Hospice, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Abstract

Chronic pain is multi-dimensional. At the physical level itself, beyond the nociceptive pathway, there is hyper arousal state of the components of the nervous system, which negatively influences tension component of the muscles, patterns of breathing, energy levels and mindset, all of which exacerbate the distress and affect the quality of life of the individual and family. Beginning with the physical body, Yoga eventually influences all aspects of the person: vital, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. It offers various levels and approaches to relax, energize, remodel and strengthen body and psyche. The asanas and pranayama harmonize the physiological system and initiate a "relaxation response" in the neuro endocrinal system. This consists of decreased metabolism, quieter breathing, stable blood pressure, reduced muscle tension, lower heart rate and slow brain wave pattern. As the neural discharge pattern gets modulated, hyper arousal of the nervous system and the static load on postural muscle come down. The function of viscera improves with the sense of relaxation and sleep gets deeper and sustained; fatigue diminishes. Several subtle level notional corrections can happen in case the subject meditates and that changes the context of the disease, pain and the meaning of life. Meditation and pranayama, along with relaxing asanas, can help individuals deal with the emotional aspects of chronic pain, reduce anxiety and depression effectively and improve the quality of life perceived.

KEYWORDS:

Asana; Experience; Pain; Pranayama; Yoga

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