In “The Effect of a Stretch and Strength-Based Yoga Exercise Program on Patients with Neuropathic Pain due to Lumbar Disc Herniation” published in the journal Spine January 11, 20221, a specific sequence of stretch and strength based yoga postures was taught to a group of people with neuropathic pain from lumbar disc herniation. A control group only underwent a patient education program. After 12 weeks and 6 months, respectively, there was a statistically significant difference in favor of the yoga group when compared to the control group. The authors conclude that the selected stretch and strength-based yoga sequence could be a “promising treatment option” for people with neuropathic pain due to lumbar disc herniation.
Neuropathic pain is nerve pain. In lumbar disc herniation, neuropathic pain commonly manifests as sciatica or pain down the leg. Neuropathic pain can be very difficult to treat2. The authors of the study hypothesize that yoga can help with neuropathic pain management by “increasing mobilization, core muscle strength, and spinal and hamstring flexibility.”
When I work with someone with disc herniation or sciatica, I choose postures that strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight ones. This helps the client develop the strength and flexibility to maintain a mobile, supported spine. Learn more about how yoga therapy can help people with disc herniation here.
1Yildirim, P., & Gultekin, A. (2022). The effect of a stretch and strength-based yoga exercise program on patients with neuropathic pain due to lumbar disc herniation. Spine, Publish Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.1097/brs.0000000000004316
2Snedecor, S., Sudharshan, L., Cappelleri, Sadosky, A., Desai, Jalundhwala, & Botteman. (2013). Systematic review and comparison of pharmacologic therapies for neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury. Journal of Pain Research, 539. https://doi.org/10.2147/jpr.s45966