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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can yoga help me if I suffer from chronic pain?

    I have fibromyalgia… is yoga an affective therapy for me and others with chronic pain?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Jo Charge

    Exercise Physiologist, Yoga Teacher

    Jo is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) and qualified Yoga teacher who specialises in working with individuals living with chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, … View Profile

    Yoga can be a wonderful practice for someone living with chronic pain. Yoga teaches breath and body awareness. Simply by bringing our awareness to the breath and making an attempt to slow and deepen our breathing we can help to reduce stress, which is often present when your body is experiencing chronic pain

    Yoga asanas or the physical postures practised during Yoga classes can also help to stretch tight muscles and strengthen areas of weakness which can help to improve the alignment of the body and its freedom of movement, which may help you to move with greater ease and less pain.

    If you do live with chronic pain, it is very important to ensure that the class you attend is suitable to your needs and current movement capacity. Many yoga classes will not be appropriate if you live with chronic pain and are not used to moving your body in a dynamic way. It would be useful to do some research on the style of Yoga taught and speak with the teacher before commencing a Yoga class so that you feel comfortable that the class will suit you and your needs. Alternatively contact a Yoga teacher that specialises in Yoga therapy by looking on the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists website

    A resource you may find useful is a book by Kelly McGonigal a teacher of yoga, meditation and psychology at Stanford University. It is titled Yoga for Pain Relief.

  • 1




    Neil Synnott

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    I am qualified as a PHYSIOTHERAPIST and ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST.I primarily use the McKENZIE METHOD for assessment and management of musculoskeletal pain disorders. The McKENZIE … View Profile

    Hi all,

    Jo Charge has made some excellent comments regarding yoga for chronic pain. Thanks Jo!

    I agree, yoga or any exercise for that matter needs to be suitable for your current movement capacity. My experience as a physiotherapist tells me that people with chronic pain may well have a n underlying movement restriction, which when moved too dynamically, and too often in one particular direction can slowly aggravate the pain.

    Prior to commencing any exercise program, I suggest assessment with a credentialled McKenzie physiotherapist to understand any movement restrictions that impact on the chronic pain. 

    A little bit of discomfort during exercise is acceptable, as long as after the session (the rest of the day/ night and the following day) your pain is not significantly increased. Slowly building up your exercise and movement capacity is important. Working with a yoga teacher that understands your situation is very important.

    Aspects of yoga which are likely very useful for chronic pain are breath and body awareness. At a recent pain related conference, the concept of ‘physiological quietening’, was reiterated as important for management of chronic pain. Yoga can help address this. 

    Useful books regarding chronic pain include Explain Pain and Painful Yarns by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley.

    All the best,

    Regards, Neil

  • 1


    Josephine Perry

    Bowen Therapist

    Josephine is a fully qualified Bowen Therapist, with full insurance cover and Association membership. Rebates provided by most health funds, according to levels of cover.Practice … View Profile

    I have had success at treating the pain of fibromyalgia.  Bowen Therapy stimulates the brain to assume correct muscle alignment, reducing nerve impingement.

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