Yoga’s Impact on the Musculoskeletal System

Yoga Tree Pose - Musculoskeletal System

The musculoskeletal system is designed for support, movement and the protection of our internal organs. It consists of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Its health is conditioned by genetic factors, lifestyle, diet, climate, and the level of physical and mental stress. Modern-day life has had its impact on the musculoskeletal system. The progress of civilisation makes our life more interesting and safer, but it has also led us to a sedentary lifestyle. Modern man doesn’t move enough, does the wrong exercises, or follows fashion trends, such as wearing high heels, that degrade the musculoskeletal system. Also, handling an incorrect load, such as lifting a too-heavy object or engaging in a too-strenuous activity, is dangerous to this system. According to statistics, about 25% of Americans have musculoskeletal disorders that require medical treatment and more than one-half of all chronic conditions in people over 50 years are related to musculoskeletal system problems, such as: back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.

Musculoskeletal disorders seriously impair life quality, causing pain and discomfort. While medication helps to relieve symptoms temporarily, the cause can only be eliminated through physical activity. Thus, it often happens that the severity of the disease rules out any physical load associated with active playing sports, jogging, lifting weights, etc. Here, yoga gives people a great opportunity to return to a normal life. Moreover, you cannot envision a better means of prevention and, most importantly, age doesn’t matter in this case.

There are many studies regarding the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through yoga. As a result, effective treatment methods have been developed.

Here are two great examples.

Researcher Loren Fishman proved that yoga even helps in cases of osteoporosis. After ten years of experimenting on 741 volunteers, his results showed a significant increase in both the density and quality of bones. Fishman explained that the effect is due to the active stimulation of osteocytes, the cells that produce bone tissue. He also proved that Sirsasana (Headstand), or rather its modified version, can cure such common problems for athletes as shoulder rotator cuff syndrome.

Another example comes from Dr. Fishman, M.D., who works in Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York. He has authored books and dozens of articles on musculoskeletal disorders’ treatment through yoga. Another study showed the high efficacy of yoga against back pain. Over five years, Arthritis Research UK, in collaboration with University of York, used yoga therapy for a group of 156 patients, while the control group received standard treatments. As a result, the difference in the subjects’ ability to cope with household tasks was more than 30% stronger for yoga practitioners. They even published the book ‘Yoga for Back Pain’ containing these research results.

Yoga works not with effects, but with causes; thus, quick results should not be expected. The impact of daily computer work accumulated over several years cannot be corrected in just a few weeks. Nevertheless, even after a few sessions, you will feel light and your spine will be thankful to you for its elongation. The comprehensive development of our physical body has a complex effect on the musculoskeletal system. In the truest sense of the word, we ‘teach’ our body to maintain the correct position and, consequently, to function correctly.

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