- What is muscle strain and how to detect it
- Yoga asanas to soothe muscle strain
- Some important points to keep in mind when using yoga for muscle strain
Muscle Strain – Overworked and Overpushed
The nagging discomfort or pain that occurs beneath the surface of your skin may be more than just a passing phenomena. Muscle strain, which refers to the overstretching or tearing of muscles, can occur when your muscles are tired or overused, or used in an improper manner. Common to some regions of the body such as the back, neck, shoulders and hamstring. Alongside pain, you may also find that your movement of the affected muscle is limited. Fortunately, most muscle strains are mild to moderate in nature, and can be treated at home effectively. More serious cases however, may require medical attention.
Muscle strains can be caused do to a number of reasons, such as lack of flexibility, engaging in activities your body is unused to or not trained in, poor flexibility and not warming up before intense physical activities. If after any such situations you feel the following symptoms, you may have muscle strain –
- Stiffness, weakness in the muscle
- Limited range of movement
- Bruising, discoloration
- Spasms or swelling
As you can imagine, muscle strains can hurt a lot, especially if they are more serious. Additionally, they create a lot of discomfort, and lead to a loss in productivity. Muscle strains may also be indicative of the fact that you might be doing something wrong in either your daily activity, or during your workout.
Yoga for Muscle Strain – Poses that Give Relief
Whether it be some oversight or an inevitable accident, muscle strains often accompany our everyday life. Alongside ice and anti-inflammation medication, there are some yoga poses that can help provide you with some much needed relief.
Regular practice of yoga in general can also help in improving the strength and flexibility of your entire body and its muscles, meaning that you are much less likely to face muscle strain issues.
Here are some poses you can try –
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose) – Designed to induce relaxation and release bodily and mental tension, this asana helps provide relief from muscle pain by relaxing the body. It can also be a great tool to help you deal with the mental and emotional experience of pain and discomfort that often comes with muscle strain. Stay in this pose anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes for maximum benefit.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – This pose helps in releasing pain from shoulders, triceps and biceps, and is also useful for lower back pain, as it provides a gentle yet effective stretch to the region. It also helps in opening up the chest and stretches the legs too. Be sure to life your body up only to the level you feel comfortable.
- Balasana (Child’s Pose) – While the shoulders receive a good stretch with this asana, it is the lower body which benefits the most, as this pose helps in gently opening up everything from the hips to the ankles, and the lower back too. It is also known for its capacity for stress relief, as not only does it release tension from the body, but the mind too.
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – A great way to stretch the entire body without much effort, this asana helps in loosening and lengthening everything from the hands to the ankles. It also works on the sides of the body, and is great for opening up the hips too. Be sure to repeat on both sides, and hold the pose for at least twenty seconds.
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose) – A great way to challenge your balance and improve your concentration, this standing asana also strengthens the spine, opens up the shoulders, and stretches the calves, thighs, and groin. This pose also engages the core in a gentle manner. Try holding the asana for at least thirty seconds, and repeat on the other side.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – One of the most universally recognized of yogic poses, this asana helps you do everything without putting in too much effort. This pose helps in stretching the hands and shoulders, strengthens the wrists, helps in alleviating lower back pain, and loosens up your hamstrings and thighs.
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – Poor posture and the consequent muscle weakness it brings about is one of the major causes of muscle strain, and this pose can help correct that. Its gentle back inversion helps in counteracting our hours of being hunched over at our desks, and it opens up the chest and shoulders, too.
Some Pointers to Keep in Mind –
While yoga can be a great way to get relief from muscle strain and general muscle pain, it is important to keep some points in mind.
- If the pain is too much or has been around for a long period of time, do consult a medical professional. Indeed, it may be best to seek the advice of a yoga teacher before using yoga as a means of alleviating muscle strain.
- While many asanas are easy to do and gentle on the body, you should respect the level of fitness you are at and the constraints you may have. If any asana feels too much, you can, and should, always modify the pose. You will still get the benefits, but will also be able to protect yourself from possibility of injuries.
- Yoga is a great way to improve your overall well being and your muscle pain, but remember that it cannot replace medical advice completely – it is an excellent complementary practice, but not a medicine. If your muscle strain requires some medications or medical interventions, do not forgo them.
Yoga can certainly help with muscle strain and pain, but the ideal situation would always be prevention of such injuries in the first place. Hence, you can try to actively integrate yoga and develop a regular workout with it, so that your body becomes stronger and more flexible, and thus is more protected from the possibility of such injuries.