Tracey

Shoulder stand after neck injury

7 posts in this topic

Hello!  Newbie here.  I have been doing yoga at home for about 6 weeks, building up from 15 minutes 3 times a week, to now 30 minutes every day.  I really feel I have found *my* exercise, and loving it.  

As my post title suggests, in December 2014 I had a neck injury (Stupidly attempting to do a headstand which collapsed whilst playing with children doing gymnastics) - I sustained compression fractures to my neck (c3,c4,c5) and fractured my sternum.   Turns out I have osteoporosis which obviously contributed to this catastrophe.

I am fully recovered apart from some neck/shoulder numbness and tingling, but am very aware that I clearly have a weakness in this area. 

So, the only pose I am really struggling with so far is shoulder stand.  I am really too scared & actually too weak to get my bottom half up.  My compromise pose is to place my hands under my lower spine, and push up from there, bringing my legs as far over as I dare.

My question is; should I persevere.  Every routine I have on DVD and downloaded seem to include this pose, and I feel I am missing something by being unable to proceed.  I wonder if there is something else I can try to get the benefit of this pose.  I don't ever feel I should progress to headstand under any circumstances. 

 

Many thanks for any help.

Tracey

YogaByCandace likes this

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I think you should consult with your professional medical adviser or go to a local studio and ask a competent, fully trained instructor, rather than trust your neck to a group of strangers on the internet. 

Your health is too important to rely on anonymous individuals (such as me!)

YogaByCandace likes this

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My doctor has cleared me medically.  I am asking about the benefits of the pose, and whether my version is an appropriate adaptation, or if there is an alternative adapted pose that will achieve similar benefits. 

YogaByCandace likes this

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2 hours ago, Tracey said:

...So, the only pose I am really struggling with so far is shoulder stand.  I am really too scared & actually too weak to get my bottom half up.  My compromise pose is to place my hands under my lower spine, and push up from there ,....

Shoulder stand is performed with the hands at the lower spine.

Nancy-Kate-shoulder-stand.jpg

(when I try the pose, I rock forward and back from a seated position to get enough momentum to get my legs up)

You said...

Quote

bringing my legs as far over...

are you asking about Plow Pose?

plowPose.jpg

 

If that's what you're asking about...trust me, Plow takes a long time (been working at it for months) to get into...and I still have more work to do.

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I would definitely work with a knowledgeable yoga instructor live and in person on this because there are some things you could do in terms of props. One of the things you could do is place a folded blanket under your back - lining up the edge of the blanket with your traps. This helps to provide a little cushion for the neck. But honestly, if I were you (and I'm obviously not), I would steer clear of this pose because I would not want to risk going through such a major injury again. However, you know your body best. If you're truly in tune with what's going on and feel like you can handle it, have been cleared by a doctor, etc - then I'd suggest working with a knowledgeable yoga instructor in person to help you. Best of luck!

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I do legs up the wall (see link on how to get into it less awkwardly) instead of shoulderstand because I have chronic neck pain with neck compression. My neck has a slight forward curve instead of bending backwards naturally, so shoulderstand always puts pressure on it.  I also avoid headstand now and am working on forearm stand instead.  It really isn't worth the risk of re-injury for me, and legs up the wall is an alternative inversion.

If you really want to do it, find an Iyengar based instructor in person to help you with the version Candace mentioned. The prop version is to use at least 3 folded blankets to do the pose to avoid neck compression.  My teacher just offered to do that a few weeks ago, but I didn't feel comfortable yet to try since I still am going through physical therapy, etc.

How does bridge pose feel on your neck? It bothers me if I'm not pressing down with my shoulders. If you're ok, you can also consider doing bridge against the wall, like this.  Good luck, and, there are always alternatives to poses, so don't feel compelled to follow the DVD, videos, or even in-person instructor strictly!

 

 

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That's great that you just started yoga a little and now 30 minutes everyday!

Everyone says don't do shoulder stand. I am going to say the opposite and say work on it. But let me explain. Sometimes we think of a pose as an exact picture. But think of the pose, any pose, of what benefits we are trying to get out of it.  And maybe this will help you with understanding the benefits of the pose. Here are the steps, they all have some of the benefits of shoulder stand.

Lying on your back

Lying on your back with your knees bents, heels near your bum.

Legs up the wall.

Bridge pose. The Sanskrit name translates to 'bridge-lock-all-limb-pose'

Shoulder stand. Sanskrit 'with-support-all-limb-pose' see how the two names are almost the same

On it goes to much more challenging versions of shoulder stand.

I can only guess from what you have wrote but it sounds like Bridge pose may be a good stage for you to practice for now. Keep in mind that shoulder stands are properly named. Like I say all the time they are shoulder stands NOT neck stands. The neck should never be an issue no pressure on the neck in any of these poses, but we are learning so it takes some practice at the correct stage. In shoulder stand and bridge pose press the shoulders down for support NEVER the neck.

Then the other part - try and find a good teacher. How do you know what a good teacher is? I don't have an answer for you, sometimes they are difficult to find.

There are also many in-between steps for my little list above. If you need more help I would be glad to offer. 

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