International Yoga Day 2020: Here's how asanas like Uttanasana, Savasana help fibromyalgia patients
This year, on International Yoga Day, let us discuss how yoga can benefit those suffering from fibromyalgia.
Yoga has more benefits than one can imagine. Some take it up as a way to become more flexible and others to stay fit. It also plays an important role in the lives of those who are dealing with certain diseases and disorders. This year, on International Yoga Day, let us discuss how yoga can benefit those suffering from fibromyalgia.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a complex disease where the chemicals of pain and sleep, ie, serotonin and norepinephrine, are disturbed and as a result, the person has an augmented response to pain. Fatigue, constant pain, headaches, irritable bowel, forgetfulness and irritability all come along with it.
The disease not only affects the patient but also their family members as patients constantly experience low moods and a lack of energy. It is a common problem, faced by millions in the world with an increased predominance in the female population.
Stress is known to be the major trigger for the disease. Since fibromyalgia has no confirmatory test, the diagnosis of this disease depends on the rheumatologist.
Once the disease is diagnosed, both pharmacological, meaning with medicines and non-pharmacological (non-drug) therapies are used to treat/manage it.
Not every patient needs drugs to manage this disease. However, even for those who do need medications, complete recovery cannot be achieved without additional alternative modes of therapy. This is where yoga can play a big role.
Yoga for fibromyalgia
Yoga is a self-care tool that involves muscle relaxation, meditation and deep breathing. Meditation is the first thing which many doctors recommend fibromyalgia patients to start with as it gives them some mental peace and helps them deal with stress and the difficult situations that come with having the disease.
If you have fibromyalgia, it is always best that you take the guidance of yoga teachers to understand which exercise suits your body the best. Considering the pain is at the peak in fibromyalgia, it is recommended that you start slow and keep increasing the time and endurance of exercise as you go.
Some of the asanas which are recommended to fibromyalgia patients are Uttanasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Bhujangasana and Savasana. These help in deep breathing, stretching of the tender points and relaxation of the muscles.
A few trials that have been conducted to study the role of yoga in fibromyalgia showed a positive result at the end of eight weeks in patients who were adherent to therapy. So, although the effect is slow, it does provide us with a long-term solution. Yoga also helps increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine which are lacking in the case of fibromyalgia. This, in turn, improves the quality of sleep.
Fibromyalgia is a disease which needs to be approached early. With/without medications, you should incorporate yoga into your routine as it aims to develop a deep level of understanding of one’s self and body, promotes relaxation and gives one the ability to handle tough situations better.
This article was written by Dr Naval Mendiratta, Consultant, Rheumatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.
For more information, read our article on Fibromyalgia.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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