With 2014 only 4 weeks old, I hope some of your new year’s resolutions are still being kept! Perhaps you were one of those that said, I will do more exercise this year and thought about trying yoga. Over the last decade Yoga has gained tremendous popularity, from fitness guru’s to regular office workers. Yoga is also full of endorsements from celebrities including Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Bon Jovi and Adam Levine. In fact, I have recommended Yoga many times to clients looking for ways to maintain good posture and improve flexibility.
However, if you are new to yoga or have had previous injuries to the neck or head, some yoga poses may not be safe for you. Recently, several previously healthy clients have suffered neck injuries after performing what is known as the Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) and/or the Sirshasana (Head stand).
The International Journal of Yoga Therapy surveyed 1336 yoga teachers from 34 different countries in 2007 and found that neck injuries were specifically linked with these 2 poses. The yoga teachers attributed several factors to such injuries including poor technique or alignment, previous injury, excess effort, and improper or inadequate instruction. In the medical literature, muscle strains, ligament injuries and cervical disc injuries have been reported.
If you have suffered previous neck and/or head injuries, you should be cautious before performing these 2 specific yoga poses. Prior injuries such as whiplash, concussion, pinched nerves and herniated discs just to name a few. Also, you should avoid these poses If you have any conditions that gives you loose ligaments or you believe you are very flexible. If you are unsure if these yoga poses are safe for you, be sure to consult with me or your trusted health practitioner.
If you did suffer an injury after these yoga poses, you should pursue treatment immediately especially if your symptoms last beyond your typical after workout ‘soreness’. Signs of neck injuries can include but not limited to neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness/tingling, headaches, dizziness, nausea and arm/hand weakness. Depending on your diagnosis, Chiropractic therapy and/or Acupuncture treatments are very effective in treating yoga related injuries. For more information on this, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Kevin@drkevinho.com.