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Yoga has always been considered very good for the overall wellness and health. However, not performing the yoga in the correct manner, can lead to injuries that can be quite painful and would take quite some time to heal completely.
Although, yoga has been associated with reducing stress levels, providing better sleep, reducing blood pressure and increasing flexibility, not performing it correctly can cause injuries to your shoulders, lower back, wrists, knees, elbows, etc. Read on to know more about the most common yoga injuries, the postures that cause them and how they can be avoided.
• Shoulder Irritation
When you repeatedly do a pose incorrectly, it leads to repetitive strain that injures the musculoskeletal system. Overdoing a certain pose can also lead to such injuries, typically that of the shoulder. Practising chaturanga incorrectly or overdoing vinyasas can cause such injuries.
The best way to avoid this is by stopping yourself from exerting too much. Also, if you start feeling fatigue while doing chaturanga, stop right away at least for a while before resuming it. Repetitive stress due to overdoing chaturanga overloads the shoulder joint. You can prevent this injury by pushing your heels back and lowering your body by putting your chest forward.
• Wrist Pain
The wrist is one of the most overused joints. Most of the yoga postures involve practitioners being on their wrists. Wrist pain usually occurs to the beginners as they are not used to it. The poses that make wrist pain likely to occur are plank, side plank, downward facing dog, handstand, crow, chaturanga, etc.
The best way to avoid this form of an injury is to warm up properly and add pressure onto the wrists slowly. The weight should be evenly spread through the hands, concentrating between the knuckles of the palm and the thumb. The following steps can help you prevent wrist pain:
• Do not cup your palms or turn the fingers inward.
• Avoid taking your shoulders too forward such that it goes past your wrist.
• Use a rolled up mat or a towel so that the extra pressure can be taken off from your wrists.
• Modify poses by placing your knees on the ground before building up strength in the shoulders and wrists.
• Hamstring Pulls Or Tears
When you fold forward without contracting the lower abdomen, the quadriceps and the front of your body, then you are likely to face a hamstring injury. The primary reason behind this kind of injury is doing deep stretching in order to increase one's flexibility. You can prevent this injury by engaging your outer hips to the midline before you perform the forward bend.
• Elbow Strain
Stress injuries are common when you overdo a yoga posture as this involves exertion and forceful motions. You strain your elbows when you repeatedly involve yourself in postures such as vinyasas or chaturanga. When you feel exertion, it is essential to modify or skip these postures to avoid injuries.
• Neck Pain
You tend to injure your neck, especially while doing a shoulder stand or a headstand. Doing these poses incorrectly or exerting yourself too much can cause issues with your cervical vertebrae. The best way to prevent this injury is by stopping when you feel a part of your body is beginning to hurt.
• Lower Back Injury/Pain
The most frequently cited injury due to yoga is that of the lower back. This especially occurs when you do rounding through the spine kind of poses such as downward dog, forward folds, etc. Sometimes it also happens when you keep your legs too straight just before going to pose.
Poses that make you do the rounding through the spine makes the spine to flex the opposite of how it actually is supposed to. This can create lower muscular and disc problems.
The best way to prevent this kind of an injury is by spreading the toes out and pushing the bone under your big toe joint away from your body.
Follow the below tips to keep your lower back healthy while doing yoga:
• Bend the knees in forward folds.
• Place a micro-bend in your knees.
• Take deep breaths and slow down when taking twists.
• Engage your lower belly in the yoga posture.
• Injury To Sciatic Nerve
Holding asanas like kurmasana and hanumanasana for a long period of time at a stretch can damage the sciatic nerve. When the lumbar spine is hyperextended, sciatica-like symptoms can occur. When backbending is done, there is direct compression of nerve roots. To prevent this form of injury, it is essential to involve in yoga postures that can strengthen your abdominal muscles and also support your back body. Poses such as twisting in crescent lunge, cobra pose, camel pose, etc., can relieve you from sciatic nerve aches.