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Yoga Injuries and Chiropractic Care

I was never a yoga fan until I started working for a company that provided a yoga teacher twice a week for 30 minutes classes (I know, not a bad job perk, right?). Instead of continuing to slave away at my desk, I started attending the yoga lessons - and quickly became an addict. I loved the feeling of finding more balance and flexibility with every session, achieving poses I couldn’t do when I started, and controlling my breath to find complete and total relaxation. 

More than 20 million people regularly practice yoga in the US, and its popularity continues to grow. But some chiropractors have mixed feelings about yoga - while it can reduce stiffness and tension in your body, it can also cause debilitating neck and back injuries. Even yoga teachers are not immune - in fact, they’re commonly at the chiropractor’s office dealing with their pain. One doctor observed that it’s the five percent that are most flexible and the five percent that are least flexible who sustain the majority of yoga-related injuries, which may explain why yoga teachers so frequently injure themselves.

So what can you do to avoid hurting your back and neck while perfecting your warrior pose? 

First, if you can’t breathe in a certain position, you shouldn’t be there. You should be able to comfortably inhale and exhale in a relaxed manner. If you can’t, you’re pushing yourself too hard. Second, balance strength training with flexibility work. If you practice yoga twice a week, aim to also fit in some strength training twice a week. Third, trust your common sense. If you know that your body can’t bend like the teacher demonstrating a new move, or you have a fear of a certain pose, listen to your brain and don’t do it. Finally, if you do yoga on a weekly basis and your back pain isn’t improving, more yoga isn’t going to help. Instead, hit the chiropractor’s office to find out why you are in pain, treat the symptoms, and get back to downward dog, cobra and humble warrior in no time at all. 

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