Yoga For Chronic Back Pain

I am not being lazy this week, honestly!  I could go on with my own story and there is lots of research I could point you towards but I really feel this  is best told by someone who has been there.  One of my lovely clients was kind enough to put pen to paper and share her story in the hope that others with chronic back pain may be inspired to try some yoga therapy – Thanks so much to Jeanette 🙂

“I was 58 years old and feeling generally unwell; being overweight and sub-thyroid (which included mild depression and an inability to lose weight). I also suffer greatly chronic lower back pain as a result of an injury. Both my GP and physiotherapist were strongly encouraging me to do regular yoga and generally improve my health regime. I admit to being very de-motivated and felt that any support I could get would encourage me to start a life-long commitment to improving my health.

I  researched a number of yoga providers and mainly I was looking for an environment where I would feel comfortable as a beginner and as a mature person. I found that Yoga Therapy was a new approach to not only yoga practice but also receiving support in moving towards greater well being. Yoga Therapy appealed to me for a number of reasons including one on one instruction to gain confidence to attend classes, having a practice to do at home in addition to class, using mindfulness in my day to day life & learning techniques to deal with stress, depression & de-motivation

I have to admit to being somewhat sceptical about yoga therapy. My scepticism came not only from my own multiple efforts and trying different (and often expensive) health plans/programs etc in the past which I failed to follow through on but also the financial cost of the sessions. However, in hindsight, I believe yoga therapy one of the best decisions I have taken in a long time and it has been the catalyst in my changing my life style….and with a result like that the cost was a mere drop in a bucket!

In the past, I was not dealing with a chronic back problem, so it was easy for me not to follow though and go back to my bad old ways and be very de-motivated to do anything to help myself. Over the years, I had been to dieticians, psychologists, gyms, naturopaths and nutritionists together with introductory courses in yoga and Pilates. I think I got to the point where I really wanted to explore mindfulness to assist me in my life together with understanding the benefits that yoga could bring to me.

For me, it is not an understatement to say that I found the experience “life changing”. I found that I was “listened to” and although Charley and I were in very different places, she really understood and came up with simple strategies. Over my appointments, I was able to implement the strategies which I have not only stuck with but continuing to grow and enhance. In a nutshell I have:

  • My own simple yoga practice (which I still do regularly) with a focus on breathing and focused technique,
  • Become more mindful….for example, I used to binge on food and not even think about what I was eating. Now, I am not perfect but I do not binge and am “mindful” about my eating and appetite,
  • Learnt to relax and meditate….again I am not perfect…I have improved! I even listen to Tibetan music now……
  • Acceptance/Self Awareness, for example, it would be better to not be overweight but it is OK and with practicing a healthier lifestyle perhaps the weight will come down,
  • Doing additional exercise through other programs.  I now attend sessions twice a week…..and I don’t like to miss them (which is an astounding result!)

Without a doubt, doing regular yoga both on my own and in class has helped what I was beginning to think was a hopeless situation with my lower back pain. I was regularly taking strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (which are not good for anyone). Yes, I still have to take the drugs just not regularly…recently I went seven weeks without taking any of these drugs.

I also am much more mindful and relax much more easily than I used to. I did do Charley’s insomnia workshop and all these strategies have contributed to improving sleep quality. I would go as far as to say there has probably been a 30% improvement in my sleep quality.”

Follow these links more information on our yoga for chronic back pain Perth or private yoga therapy our regularly held spine release workshops or to read more on spinal tension, back pain & The breath