Yoga: Can it be integrated with treatment of neuropathic pain?

Author: Telles S1,2, Sayal N1,3, Nacht C4, Chopra A4, Patel K4, Wnuk A4, Dalvi P5, Bhatia K6, Miranpuri G4, Anand A3
1These authors contributed equally to this work.
2Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India; Indian Council of Medical Research, Center for Advanced Research in Yoga and Neurophysiology.
3Department of Neurology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
4Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, USA.
5Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin -Madison.
6Government Medical College, Sector 32, Chandigarh.
Conference/Journal: Ann Neurosci.
Date published: 2019 Apr
Other: Volume ID: 26 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 82-91 , Special Notes: doi: 10.5214/ans.0972.7531.260208. Epub 2019 Apr 1. , Word Count: 269

Background: Neuropathic pain (NP) is a debilitating condition that may result from spinal cord injury (SCI). Nearly 75% of all SCI results in NP affecting 17,000 new individuals in the United States every year, and an estimated 7-10% of people worldwide. It is caused by damaged or dysfunctional nerve fibers sending aberrant signals to pain centers in the central nervous system causing severe pain that affects daily life and routine. The mechanisms underlying NP are not fully understood, making treatment difficult. Identification of specific molecular pathways that are involved in pain syndromes and finding effective treatments has become a major priority in current SCI research. Yoga has therapeutic applications may prove beneficial in treating subjects suffering chronically with SCI induced NP, chronic back and associated pains if necessary experimental data is generated.

Summary: This review aims to discuss the implications of various mechanistic approaches of yoga which can be tested by new study designs around various nociceptive molecules including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), cation-dependent chloride transporter (NKCC1) etc in SCI induced NP patients.

Key messages: Thus, yogic practices could be used in managing SCI induced NP pain by regulating the action of various mechanisms and its associated molecules. Modern prescriptive treatment strategies combined with alternative approaches like yoga should be used in rehabilitation centers and clinics in order to ameliorate chronic NP. We recommend practical considerations of careful yoga practice as part of an integrative medicine approach for NP associated with SCI.

Copyright © 2019, The National Academy of Sciences.

KEYWORDS: Asanas; Ashtanga Yoga; Iyengar Yoga; Kapalabhati; Kumbhaka; Neuropathic pain; Pranayama; Puraka; Spinal cord injury

PMID: 31975778 PMCID: PMC6894618 [Available on 2020-04-01] DOI: 10.5214/ans.0972.7531.260208