Laulu

Yoga with cervical lordosis?

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I kept going back and forth between asking this in the newbies board or here, since I am a newbie to yoga (barely a month of 15-20 minutes at most, I'm really out of shape), but I figured I'd post it here... 

Basically I find myself struggling a bit with yoga because I have cervical lordosis (it's straightened). I've been going to therapy for it, but it's been very slow advancing, and though the therapist himself recommended yoga to me I find some poses still make me woozy/dizzy. I know when stuff hurts or make you uncomfortable you're supposed to stop, but at the same time my therapist said it's expected to feel somewhat woozy in certain postures while I work to recover the normal curvature, so I'm a bit at a loss.

Namely, I have troubles with simple things like tilting the head back/forward, laying flat on the ground (this one really makes me feel out of balance for a good moment when I lay, and again when I get up!), and very rarely when straightening from a forward bend (such as by going too fast by accident).

I'm wondering if any of you have any advice on how to deal with this: whether it be how I should best ease into (and out of) those poses, where I should best use props, or if there's something I should definitely avoid or definitely do in order to help with this? I'd really appreciate the input. :15:

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Welcome, Laulu!  Did your therapist recommend specific yoga poses?  For example, is your chest really tight and pulling your neck forward?  Or is it to build more rotation in your neck muscles gradually?

My neck has also straightened (MRI confirmed it), after multiple neck strain re-injuries aggravated by years of sleeping on my stomach with my neck turned and also working at the computer during the day.  I haven't had as much dizziness as you, but, if I do get up too quickly from a forward fold, I can easily get lightheaded. To counter this, I make sure to sip water during yoga class every so often, and I usually have the dizziness subside after I sip water.

There are small things for neck support that you can do while getting up by using the palm of your hand to push your head up from a tilt instead of using your neck muscles.  The other supportive cue I learned was when doing Warrior I, clasp your hands together behind the base of your skull so your thumbs run down along your neck.  Then you can lean your head back while looking slightly up with support.  

When laying on the ground, do you try to get up straight, like a sit up, or do you roll over to one side?  After rolling over the one side (less strain on neck), I usually use my palm to push my head up after sitting up straight.

In terms of specific poses to avoid, I no longer do shoulder stand (a lot of pressure on my neck) and headstand.  I do forearm stand against the wall for inversions instead of headstand. When we do abdominals in class and I feel myself working my neck too much, I keep my head on the floor and focus on working my lower abdominal.

Good luck with your continued therapy!  It's tough to deal with medical issues while trying something new at the same time. Take it easy, perhaps try some poses but back out of them if they make you woozy?  Lastly, if you are going to any in studio classes, some teachers that are anatomy'-focused might be able to give you advice on how to address your wooziness / dizziness if you talk to them after class.

 

Laulu likes this

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Thank you yogafire! For the welcome and the tips.

My therapist recommended yoga as a whole, nothing specific, he just said it'd help with my overall posture among other things, and help improve the rotation of my neck muscles. I'd been itching to try it for a while and really, the confirmation from him that it'd help was all I needed to go right into it.

I tried a couple local classes but none of the teachers I tried were very receptive about my neck injury (their advice was a "just don't do what makes you uncomfortable" but no way to actually help improve or what to do or not do specifically, or even how to help avoid dizziness), and there's not that many around, so I just gave up and decided to try at-home practice (with the downside being I had no one to ask about this, so thank you so much for the help!) 

I'll try sipping some water, and I'll definitely try using my hand for support!

When I lay on the ground I do roll to the side and use my hand to push off the ground in order to get up, but I'll try adding support to my neck- it might help more with getting up. I'll have to try supporting my neck on the way down too. I've just gotten so dizzy in the past that even the slightest hint of it scares the heck out of me now. *sigh*  I'll probably have to start by just laying down and relaxing,until I can get up and down with less problems. Like you said, taking it easy. 

Thanks! :D

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Hello and welcome,

When a person has a difficulty they are trying to heal regular yoga can help and often does. But including some extra things, or change the way of doing some of the regular yoga will be very helpful. I don't know how to offer advice for your specific problem. And the teachers at classes likely don't know either so they don't want to offer help that might cause damage.

Here is a video to have a look, control of the breath and postures for controlling dizziness. The first half is very technical, the second half is very practical and easier to understand.

And 3 links for education of the neck. Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3

It's interesting to watch the video and then see how the information in 3 links all fit together.

Laulu likes this

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Thank you Anahata, that's a very interesting video! I haven't had time to read the articles yet but I'll get to them tonight, and give the video another watch too before I do :) 

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