Craniosacral Therapy & Chiropractic Care for Yoga Injury in New York City

Yoga’s roots go back 5000 years to ancient India involving and uniting principles of breathing, posture, and meditation, is believed to bring physiological and psychological benefits to practitioners.   Yoga has been embraced in modern Western culture as a form of exercise and stress reduction, characterized as a science of personal development of awareness through a series of specific asanas (body postures), pranayama (controlled breathing patterns), and meditation.

However despite its many health benefits, yoga is definitely not the risk-free health panacea it is often promoted to be. With more and more people doing yoga worldwide, practitioners are seeing the benefits of the practice, but also its many risks: yoga injuries are on the rise. There are many potential causes of injury in yoga, and while it may be impossible to completely avoid injury, taking a more pragmatic approach to this popular practice minimizes the risks while reaping the rewards. Around the globe, practitioners experience yoga’s ability to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as its positive effects, its overall health benefits. Equally, however, new yoga practitioners are often disenchanted by the practice as they increasingly sustain injuries either during or as a result of their practice, or don’t acquire results that the practice does not address. 

A study of yoga-related injuries from 1991 to 2010 at a single hospital emergency department found that that sprain (34%) was the most common injury, and the lower extremity (42%) was the most frequently injured body region.  Musculoskeletal injuries (sprains) related to yoga can occur as a chronic repetitive strain injury, an acute event, or a combination of an acute event superimposed from and old injury or chronic strain. Anatomically, muscle fibers, tendons, joints, and cartilage are the most vulnerable structures to injury, due to excessive stretching or new practicing body positions / postures.

Remember, yoga postures can be fairly demanding on flexibility and require strength of the stabilizing muscles to be performed safely and provide benefits. Particularly in large yoga classes without proper instruction, new yoga practitioners may attempt to perform postures that their bodies are not ready to accommodate.  Even if a Yoga movement or posture does not seem to be producing injury, if performed improperly, it can stress structures immediately or over time at the weakest point, which eventually may progress to a pronounced injury.

Thus as much as yoga can help treat and resolve back pain for example, yoga can also be the cause of back pain – and in several ways.   Like all things, Yoga is wonderful for you in moderation and may be helpful resolving any stiffness or tension you’re experiencing. However Yoga can also contribute to debilitating back and neck injuries such as a disc injury, ligament tears, tendon strain or muscle strain in your spine, including injury to the ribs.  Be aware if you practice yoga and your back pain or any other injury isn’t improving, more yoga isn’t going to solve it. This is when it’s a great time to visit a craniosacral therapy practitioner, to find out why you are in pain and create a strategy to solve it.

It’s also important to be mindful though many view yoga sprains & strains as being a local event at the joint, – they are rarely if ever isolated events.  Joints are connective points, imagine “bone intersections” reinforced by ligaments and covered with cartilage connective tissue, fascia (functioning as shock absorbers for protection).

Also muscles attach to bones across joints with tendons, also a form of connective tissue.  Furthermore, the entire linkage — muscles, tendons, joints, joint capsules, and bones — is covered by a another type of connective tissue (fascia) that wraps around every small and large component of this linkage.   Thus in summing up, this linkage not only contains the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones but also blood vessels, nerves, lymph vessels, and meridians (the energy pathways of the body).

Hence a yoga sprain or tear of the tendons, muscle fibers, or ligaments also damages the fascia, rippling to structures further away from the location of injury.   A yoga injury may have rippling effects all the way up to the head via the spine. This rippling is transmitted by the tendinous, ligamentous, and fascial connections across all the joints.  The connective tissue, weaving through and enveloping all these structures, is also damaged by the yoga injury. Over time, it becomes tight, holding the structures within it hostage, sort of like a straight jacket.  It is this intricate linkage between all structures of the body, why no yoga injury, however small, happens in isolation.

Many are also surprised to learn headaches are also a frequently yoga-related symptom requiring care. The frequent occurrence of headaches after yoga asana practice is not surprising. Tension headaches are common, possibly resulting from muscle tension in the supporting musculature of the head and neck. 

In the knee, excessive pressure is particularly common in yoga practices that involve variations of lotus position or half lotus. In practitioners whose hip joints and groins are not flexible enough to accommodate the external rotation required for this posture, torque of the knee joint is common and results in compression of the medial joint space, with chronic changes or acute tears of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus.

More advanced Yoga practitioners who perform postures that put the leg behind the head may also experience stretching of the lateral aspect of the knee joint that results in strain of the iliotibial band, distal biceps tendon, or lateral collateral ligament. In addition, the extreme abduction, flexion, and internal rotation required by leg-behind-the-head postures may result in tears of the anterior and lateral acetabular labrum.

Also, the spine may be injured from either flexion (forward folds) or extension (back bends) movements performed in all forms of yoga. If an intervertebral disc is already herniated, bulging or degenerated, forward folding movements can increase pressure on the disk and result in a further disc herniation. Yoga practitioners who perform deep back bends may put pressure on the facet joints with accentuation of the bend usually in the lower back. 

Simply put, as you challenge yourself practicing yoga your body can accumulate physical micro-traumas – big and small – from injuries,  repetitive movements, and other events. To manage this, often the body compensates by moving in new ways to avert the pain. However as the body adjust like this,  the fascia (the network of connective tissue that runs throughout your entire body) is altered as well – often developing restrictions and other disruptions as it copes.

Any restrictions in the fascia results in tension on your other internal structures, creating a “ripple effect” that may be experienced as a chronic pain point far from the site of your original injury. For example thickened tissue from an old ankle sprain can be the originating source of hip issues.

Your craniosacral system extends from your cranium (your skull, face and mouth) down to your sacrum, (tailbone area) and is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect your brain and spinal cord.  If restrictions develop in you craniosacral system (the tissues and fluids that surround and protect your brain and spinal cord), it can affect the functioning of your central nervous system – and that can affect your entire body. The result can be symptoms as diverse as low back pain, headache, chronic migraines, sciatica, shoulder pain, neck spasm, etc.

Finding and treating the source of symptoms such as these can be difficult, but that’s where Craniosacral Therapy can help. Craniosacral Therapy, a light-touch therapy that can locate the source of your pain, releases the restrictions and relieve your symptoms, so that your body can self-correct and heal itself. Craniosacral Therapy is an effective tool for finding and healing the source of your yoga injury and pain at the area origin. It has proven to be useful even for people whose symptoms have not responded to other treatment methods.

A craniosacral Therapy session involves gentle hands-on therapy at on the body at your cranial system to evaluate and help restore the flow of your cerebrospinal fluid as it circulates throughout your brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body

By carefully applying the hands-on therapeutic touch on the body there is a release of injury and the restrictions in your tissues which will relieve your symptoms and allow your body to heal itself (including sprains, strains to tendons, muscles, joints, cartilage, etc.).

In addition to treating Yoga injuries with Craniosacral Therapy, there are sometimes cases where chiropractic adjustments are suitable.  Restoration of the flow of synovial fluid to your joints bringing precious nutrients to the cartilage in your spine is achieved through the chiropractic adjustment.  Synovial fluid is necessary for normal joint function. Synovial fluid moves into the cartilage when a joint is resting, and moves out into the joint space when the joint is active, particularly when the joint is engaged in a weight-bearing activity such as exercise. Synovial fluid lubricates the joints and permits smooth movement. It also provides important nutrients to them. 

As yoga practitioners generally have a high level of body awareness typically understanding the deeper connection between the physical body and the mental/emotional state is important in injury prevention. The chiropractic adjustment is effective for Yoga practitioners due to its inherent ability to mobilize restricted joint movement and correct irregular or inefficient neurological and tissue patterning, realigning the body’s central nervous system feedback loop.  Regular chiropractic adjustments can be invaluable in helping yoga practitioners not only expedite recovery from an injury, but avoid injury in the future.

Together with Craniosacral Therapy  there is maximum potential for facilitating the body to restore function, structure and to heal.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy and Pranic Healing in NYC.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues.  The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.

The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health. 

Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments.  This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable.  By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.

The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain.  To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.