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I’ve been asked several times this week about the best kind of yoga specifically for persistent back pain. The short answer is - it depends. We'd need to find out a bit more about you before we confidently recommend something. If someone asked "What kind of foods should I eat for my tummy pain?" you would probably ask a few questions to understand the problem. Do they know what the cause is? How long has the tummy pain been there? What have they already tried? It's the same with yoga. Briefly, yoga helps people with persistent pain by calming the nervous system through breathing techniques and mindful concentration. This signals to your brain that things are OK, which allows you to be more comfortable with movement.  Presuming you have ruled out anything you're worried about, the kind of yoga to do depends on a number of factors.

Beginners yoga class too muchYou may have heard that yoga is good for persistent pain. An appropriate class can help with your pain care by teaching you to relax, to participate comfortably in exercise, and develop body awareness. But many people with chronic pain find even beginners classes are too much for them.  They say they to feel frustrated when they can't keep up with others in the class.  Here are some guidelines for approaching your first yoga class when you experience chronic pain.

The Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability offers comprehensive webinars on chronic pain management.  In this session, Dr Ingrid Federoff explains that pain isn't all in your head, but that psychological factors do affect the likelihood of your recovery so are worth paying attention to.

Here are eight of Dr Federoff's key points to help you in your own care and when working with others:

Christiana is hypermobile. She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in 2009 and had been bed-ridden and unable to work since. Christiana wanted to find a balanced level of energy to sustain daily activities and to learn to use her body in a safe way to build strength. Christina’s osteopath agreed that Yoga for Pain would be a good way for Christina to take control of her body and create new habits to build physical and emotional resilience.