Pain is a very complex subject and the human body's response to pain is indicative of an intricate adaptive system. Some pain interventions are simple and mechanical, others are themselves complex systems influencing the body's nervous system. Pain is an informative sense perception of the brain, an interpretation of signals sent from the limbs, muscles, and organs via afferent nerves of the peripheral nervous system, as a protective modality.
Therapeutic yoga, in addition to other forms of mind-body therapy, potentially represents such a complex adaptive system as pain. Yoga has long been used as a treatment for pain, especially chronic pain. Traditional yoga observances include postures, breathing, behaviour, meditation, and devotional practices that primarily serve the philosophical undertaking of self-knowledge or spiritual liberation.
There is considerable evidence to support the use of yoga as a viable pain management therapy, and the practice of yoga behaves like a complex system. Yoga and pain operate along many of the same sensory pathways, making them interconnected and effective in their use for pain management.
Yoga uses a mind-body approach and those suffering with chronic pain should shift their focus from an isolated injury to whole body wellness. Yoga is multi-faceted, which makes it a very viable tool to help those experiencing persistent pain.
Chopra, D. et al. (2023). Yoga and pain: A mind-body complex system. Front. Pain Res. 4: 1075866.