LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) For some, yoga is more than just a feel-good activity. It's changing lives.
"Anxiety, depression, and stress can contribute to disease process in the body,” said Dr. Traci Kiernan, owner of Natural State Health Center in Little Rock.
In recent years, yoga has become a popular physical activity for those looking to get fit or just relax. But it's also become an extra option for physicians looking to treat their patients in a different way.
“We really focus on specific care for patients in terms of their spinal health. The spine is really important because it encloses and protects the nervous system,” Dr. Kiernan said.
She thinks if more doctors considered alternative methods, when possible, opioid addiction and abuse could be a lesser concern.
“Serious disease like cancers, it's important to really get inward on a disease process. Yoga is very good for that, its detoxifying. It causes you to make time to be still,” she said.
The activity provides an outlet for self-care with a mix of preventative action.
Yoga can help those battling a form of chronic disease more control over mental challenges that may arise, empowering them to focus on quality of life and not their condition.
"Some of those thoughts can have really negative patterns,” Dr. Kiernan said.
For others, the activity provides a more realistic solution to pain management.
Dr. Kiernan recommends people with issues like neck or back pain take a closer look at how yoga could benefit them in ways prescriptions may not.
“Often times you'll get the advice to be still and to not move, rest, or lay on your back. That is the exact opposite of what patients need to be doing. They need to move and create strength and flexibility,” Dr. Kiernan said.
"I fractured my tibial plateau,” Allison Right said. She turned to yoga after a sports accident.
"It's relaxing but also not at the same time. Its helped a lot with my anxiety and I have sleep issues too, it wears you out,” Right said.
Once diagnosed with Periodic Limb Disorder, she was prescribed a medication by her doctor but admits yoga has helped her in ways she didn't expect.
“You just can’t beat it for working through any kind of stress or trauma,” Helen DuBose, a patient of Dr. Kiernan, said.
The availability of information today has more people well educated about their ailments before stepping foot in a doctor's office, changing traditional conversations.
DuBose started practicing yoga after experiencing back pain she says could not be remedied by a doctor's visit alone.
"I have a dance background so it was intriguing to me anyway. I started practicing yoga and over time my back pain has gone away completely, with so many more benefits,” DuBose said.
Consult your physician before considering yoga as a replacement for any health issues or concerns you may be experiencing.
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