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Chronic neck and shoulder pain and yoga

minaret2010-07-05 03:49:41 +0000 #1
I'm new to this forum and was attracted to it because of Mukunda's unique approach to yoga. Blessings to you all.

I have been practicing yoga for 25 years (and teaching for 9) and it has kept me healthy until 2 years ago. Now I have constant neck and shoulder pain and it has developed into first, a right frozen shoulder then the following year the other one. I have used yoga principles to help me through all this and have full range of motion in both arms again. My neck however has constant tension, unrelived by yoga or savasana. Working at a computer or standing to paint, which I love to do, is near impossible for more than 15 minutes. Things seem to be getting progressively worse.

I bought the book Structural Yoga Therapy and have taken on board Ayurvedic principles for an out of balance Vata Pitta. I live on a Spanish island off the coast of Africa and dont have access to anything like Structural Yoga (or even a decent yoga teacher to point out my faults).

Does anyone have any advice? I cant afford to travel to the States for corrective work. Does anyone know of anyone in the UK or Spain for example? Any advice will be helpful.


LJNamaste2010-07-05 03:52:56 +0000 #2
In my opinion, you need to see a MD first to find out if there is anything serious going on like a herniated disk or something else. Honestly, I wouldn't do anything until you see a doctor first.
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 04:08:59 +0000 #3
And when you go to see that Doctor please limit their comments to diagnosis as they tend to tell you things like "you'll never walk again" and the like which I don't find to be very mentally medicinal.

Can you please tell me the specifics of how you have done sarvangasana please? I may follow this woth other asana questions if you don't mind.
minaret2010-07-05 04:54:56 +0000 #4
Thank you for your responses. As I have to communicate in my terrible Spanish all I have so far got from the MD is ibuprofen and a dire muscle relaxant which made me feel so ill I didnt take it. It could be months before I can pursuade them to let me see a specialist. So I use hot and cold pads, and natural aloe vera gel from the garden when things get bad.

I practice savasana on a mat on a tiled floor for 20-30 mins, with 5-10 mins of tensing and relaxing individual groups of muscles, then 15-20 mins of deep relaxtion; sometimes I use someone else's tape or CD and sometimes I repeat my own relaxing messages, or a CD I made for my students. When my neck is really bad, I cant relax those musles at will and put a small neck pillow under my neck which creates more of a hollow and another under my knees, sometimes another under the small of my back.

I printed off a reseach paper yesterday by Arden Sundari Pierce from this site, and wept with relief at some of the advice in there which I am trying to collate into short term, medium term and long term projects for this condition.
Hubert2010-07-05 04:36:00 +0000 #5
I first wanted to say that you probably overdoing sarvangasana ... but when I read you've been practicing yoga for 20 years, I got discouraged.

What I learnt in my short experience is that a bad posture is usually the cause of such aches, or activities what immobilizes the body in a certain position for too long a time. As example, I have to sit a lot, I did that for the last 20 years, and now my iliopsoas muscles are so short that I can't really stand straight, or if I can, with a good bit of effort.

In cases like yours you should concentrate on the aching parts, determine the cause, what usually is a strenght inbalance between antagonist muscles of the particular joint, or articular stiffness - due to loss of elascticity of it's soft tissues. Age, unilateral use, or overtraining, all can cause such symptoms.

I say usually, because in your case, someone with 20 years of practice, it is to be expected to know all this, and to have a healthy, strong but flexible body. These aches are a sign that you have to change something. Do not expect too much from others ... it is you who have to find the cause and make some changes. The real cause is always in the mind ... somehow. -Continuing my example, I was convinced that I should do sarvangasana a lot, until I found out about this stiffness in my hips and I realized that I shoud strech my iliopsoas muscles, and now I do the "warrior". It is what my body needs, not Saravangasana. Sometimes we get to rigid in our practice. We think we should do this or that, when in fact we should let our body tell us, what it needs.-

Of course medical help is important, I am not saying it's not. But they usually do not dig themselves to deep into your particular problem. If there is no real emergency like, God forbid, cancer, they will just give you something to relief you pain, and recommend rest.For them you are just another patient, and they will never know your body as well as you do. (or should know)
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 05:07:05 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by minaret



...

I practice savasana on a mat on a tiled floor for 20-30 mins, with 5-10 mins of tensing and relaxing individual groups of muscles, then 15-20 mins of deep relaxtion; sometimes I use someone else's tape or CD and sometimes I repeat my own relaxing messages, or a CD I made for my students. When my neck is really bad, I cant relax those musles at will and put a small neck pillow under my neck which creates more of a hollow and another under my knees, sometimes another under the small of my back...

So am I to understand that this is your entire yoga practice, has been for a number of years, and you are not doing sarvangasana at all? You understand my confusion right? You were healthy until two years ago. Now you've shared your practice and there seems to be nothing to it that might be the origin of the chronic issue in your neck. Two years ago, what occured I am wondering.

If you could flesh out some details then an appropriate picture of you can be crafted. And thus an appropriate response to what appears to be a call for assistance.

What style of yoga are you teaching, practicing. Is this practice you outline only been going for two years since the neck issue cropped up? If so what were you doing previously. There's just a glaring gap of missing info which handcuffs me from meeting your request for advice.

More from you will equal more from me.
minaret2010-07-05 06:00:35 +0000 #7
I was taught and have been teaching hatha yoga from my teacher who was a hatha and Iyenger teacher. I took my instructor training with the Yoga For Health Foundation in Bedford UK. I would describe my style of teaching as gentle as I seem to attract beginner and new students with various injuries. Though for my own practice it is much stronger. I used to do a full range of poses as I had no limits on my physical body. but in the last two years I do not do shoulderstand or headstand, but practice for at least an hour a day with a 20-30 minute relaxation.

Old injuries that might impact: When I was 2 I fell down the stairs with no apparant after effects. When I was 45 I suffered whiplash in a car accident. I started to get headaches but a chiropractor said I had a 99.9% perfect spine and sent me away and the headaches eventually subsided. But I did feel then that my neck had started to go out of alingment and suffered from constant shoulder tension and had monthly back, shoulder and neck massages and have them ever since. more of my practice since then is on the upper body, though I dont neglect the lower body. I also hike and cycle and am helping my husband renovate a house (lifting, painting, gardening). A recent chiropracter has informed me that my left leg is slightly longer than my right.

During the JFS I discovered:

R dorsiflexion slightly greater than the left

R dorsiflexion with inversion slightly greater than left

During hip external rotation the left hip feels stiffer

Spine extension: SCM and mid trapezius feels tight

Wrist flextion: L is slightly greater

Elbow extension: Both shoulders feel tense

Shoulder extension: tendency to raise both shoulders

Neck flextion: tension in mid and lower trapezius

Neck latel flexion: tension and slight trembling between shoulders

Many thanks for any comments.
minaret2010-07-05 06:03:48 +0000 #8
Also I should add that before the car incident I sprained my left ankle when I fell in a pothole in the road, then 3 years later I sprained the right ankle when hiking on a slippery mountainside.
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 05:24:56 +0000 #9
Great! Thank you.

Are you able to do garudasan in virasan?

And what is JFS please?

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