Yoga for Pain Relief – A Visual Case Study

Everyone’s talking about yoga  — from your company HR to your therapist to your Instagram feed. Your health insurance would likely even pay for it.

Who would have thought that this popular form of workout today began as an ancient practice that originated in India circa 3000 B.C.? 

In this visual case study, we’re going to delve into the relationship between yoga and chronic pain relief. If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain (back pain to be specific!), the infographics below are a godsend.

Plus, we’re also going to take a peek at yoga demographics, benefits, and what motivates modern yogis to roll out their mats regularly for a set of asanas (yoga lingo for poses).

From divine enlightenment to slowing down cellular aging

yoga as a complementary health approach


In ancient times, yoga was performed “to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment.”

Today, the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about yoga is a room filled with people in their mats doing various asanas with ease and finesse. As the practice took off in popularity particularly in the West, a wide variety of “schools of yoga” has also emerged.

The practice of yoga today is considered a medium to heal the body such as pain relief by cultivating discernment, awareness, self-regulation, and higher consciousness in the self. For some modern yoga practitioners, the physical workout is merely an outcome of the spiritual practice. Others see it the other way.

Besides the obvious benefit of improved body strength and aesthetics, multiple clinical research studies reveal that consistent yoga practice potentially lowers inflammation markers and significantly reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone) – both of which are precursors to chronic lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Additionally, 12 weeks of 90-minute yoga five days a week has also been shown to slow down cellular aging.

Read on below for a more thorough investigation of yoga’s role as a complementary health approach, particularly in terms of chronic pain relief.

The who, what, and why of modern yoga practitioners 

Quick fact: Many yoga practitioners admit to being “spiritual” but not really “religious”.  Learn more about it including the demographics, motivations, and personalities of modern yoga practitioners in the infographic below.

Modern Yoga Practitioners Demographic infographic

Yoga for chronic pain relief and management

Chronic pain is a global public health problem — both in high-income nations and developing countries.

Existing data suggest that the widespread use of opioids aren’t even effective for chronic pain. Instead of providing pain relief, opioid access and use have inadvertently led to addiction and a host of substance abuse disorders.

In contrast to acute pain, chronic pain is multi-dimensional. The International Association for Study of Pain (IASP) acknowledges the mind-body aspects of chronic pain, describing it as a subjective, unpleasant, sensory, and emotional experience. It occurs first in a person’s consciousness and then reflects on to one’s physical and behavioral states.

yoga for chronic back pain


In a broader sense, more research is needed to determine how effective yoga is for chronic pain. Studies, however, demonstrate its effectiveness in managing specific chronic pain conditions. For example, the American College of Physicians considers yoga as a first-line treatment of chronic low-back pain.

When used in combination with other biopsychosocial therapies, yoga seems to help individuals living with chronic pain to experience breathing and movement in their body in a new way.

The infographic below highlights the different ways yoga can help people suffering from chronic back pain, neck pain, and neuropathic pain due to spinal cord injury. You’ll also learn how yoga works in easing off chronic pain and important considerations when doing yoga for chronic pain management.

Yoga for Chronic Pain infographic

Yoga poses for chronic back pain relief

yoga pose example for chronic back pain


Download the infographic below (or bookmark this page!) for beginner-friendly poses that you can try to ease chronic back pain. You can either do them in sequence or focus on the poses that bring you the most relief.

Before You Proceed: It’s worth noting that not all types of yoga are ideal for chronic pain relief. It also helps to get a go-ahead from your doctor and find an instructor that has experience in facilitating yoga to alleviate pain.

yoga poses for chronic back pain infographic

Over to you – Namaste

In summary, yoga definitely helps with chronic pain management but you need to do it consistently and correctly.

How about you? Are you doing yoga regularly? Or are you still planning to incorporate it to your fitness routine?

Feel free to use the infographics or let our design service team make one for you. We will be also be uploading the infographics in our infographic template library so you can reuse it asap!

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