Yoga as Pain Treatment

Gentle yoga can help ease pain

If you have chronic pain, you know how it can consume your life, drain your body, and distract the mind. But did you know that one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can help ease your pain? Yoga helps with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, lower back pain, and other types of pain. Learn about six poses that may be useful in treating pain from VA’s yoga practitioners.  

Before you begin any kind of exercise program to address pain, check with your health care team.

Start with your breathing

Practicing yoga for even a few minutes a day can help you gain more awareness of your body. It all starts with your breathing. Breathing can center your attention and set a sense of calm. Before you begin, watch this video on how to get started.

Next up: Cat cow pose

This gentle, manageable backbend stretches the spine. Practicing the cat cow pose stretches your torso, shoulders, and neck. Watch how to do it with a pain psychologist and a physical therapist.

Move onto the child’s pose

The child’s pose stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles. This gentle forward fold is the perfect way to release tension in your neck and back. Practicing this pose can help relieve stress and fatigue. After mastering your breathing, watch this video on how to do the child’s pose.

Try a back bend

Back bends are some of the most rejuvenating and recharging moves you can make on a mat. This pose helps improve your posture and increases flexibility. Watch two VA doctors show you how to do this pose.

Next pose: Spinal twist

This twist promotes movement and mobility in the spine and back. The spinal twist pose stretches your spine, back, and shoulders. Practicing this pose can help relieve pain and stiffness in your back and hips. Watch this video on how to do the spinal twist pose.

Finish with Savasana (relaxation)

Watch a pain psychologist and a physical therapist show you how to end your yoga session. They’ll help you come into a relaxed pose, known as Savasana. Savasana is a pose of total relaxation at both the physical and mental levels.

Write it down

Don’t forget to track any pain in My HealtheVet. Tracking or keeping a diary of your yoga routine may help you stick to your plan and stay motivated. Veterans registered with My HealtheVet can access the Activity Journal feature, allowing them to record physical activities and track progress.


Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous.


Read More

Six Ways Yoga Can Help You

Move It or Lose It?

Managing Chronic Pain: Therapies for Mind and Body (Veterans Health Library)

VA YouTube Yoga Videos for Veterans (Veterans Health Library)


Updated October 15, 2021