by Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor Lisa Hockel

Yoga for pain management

Yoga for pain management

After nine years of sports, I tore my posterior cruciate in my knee at age 17. It was unable to be repaired, and without proper guidance, my body began to compensate by over-developing some muscles and creating areas of flexibility and stiffness in asymmetrical ways. Pain began developing in my back, and I was instructed to strengthen my core.

And I did.

Unfortunately, the pain continued to increase. By age 40, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my back, a herniated disc, and scoliosis in my lower lumbar spine. The doctors gave me prescription pain killers and told me to do Pilates. Well, I had already been doing Pilates, so I started taking the pain killers, as frequently as every four hours. I had cortisone injections in my back. And I will never forget the day that I woke up and told my husband, “Sometimes the pain is so bad, I don’t want to wake up anymore.” I was in my early 40’s, had an 8-year-old daughter, and that just wasn’t an option.

I had been teaching yoga for six years, so I had an understanding of the body and the postures, but until that time, I didn’t have a focus. I began to study the back and integrate how stretching could ease some of my pain. Then I began to incorporate my knowledge of Pilates. Strengthening specific muscle groups kept my spine in alignment, and also helped to ease the pain. During this time, I attained my Personal Training Certification. Adding on another layer of knowledge, I incorporated weight work with the Pilates to target additional areas that needed to be stronger. Because of that old knee injury, my legs and pelvis were carrying my weight unevenly, and I needed to rebuild a symmetrical musculature.

As I continued to study yoga for back care and scoliosis, and increase my knowledge of posture and musculature, my back was the first to benefit and receive help – and it became my mission to help others.