Yoga for Injuries

Francesca Silva

Restorative-Yoga-Practice.jpgOkay, so I’ve been living with this cracked rib for a few weeks now and it’s really annoying me.

I miss being able to do basic, everyday things – I even miss doing housework, so that should tell you something about how stir crazy I’m going!

But what I miss most of all is practicing my yoga. Just when I’d established a routine at home and was enjoying it, this had to happen (excuse me while I sulk for a couple of minutes – okay, done).

Well, sitting around feeling sorry for myself is not my style – too boring and self-indulgent – so I’ve been checking the Internet and asking around to see what kind of yoga I can do that won’t exacerbate the rib issue.

Then yesterday, at my follow-up appointment with my doctor, I remembered that he’s been practicing yoga for years, so I asked him for suggestions. “Nothing that requires stretching,” was his response. “But the breathing techniques of yoga will be highly beneficial.” He reminded me that cracked ribs can cause breathing problems, which in turn can result in chest infections. He encouraged me to speak to a yoga instructor and find some breathing techniques that could help me while my rib is healing.

And talk about perfect timing! When I got home, I found a response to my blog from Paula, who reminded me that yoga is everywhere and suggested that I try some restorative, meditative yoga at home. Thanks for your encouragement, Paula – what a wonderful suggestion.

Since my regular yoga instructor is still on vacation, I called my cousin who used to teach yoga. She carefully went through the exact problem with my rib and then gave me suggestions on how to start with abdominal breathing rather than rib cage breathing. She suggested that I hug a pillow gently to my chest while doing the deep breathing exercises, and I found that it greatly helped to ease the pain. The breathing techniques hurt a bit at first but now that I’ve been doing them for a while, I’m beginning to feel much better.

I’ve also bought a Restorative Yoga with Deborah Donohue DVD to try doing at home. And if it’s not too strenuous, maybe I can get Mumsie to try it as well.

It’s now been about four weeks since my cousin’s son mistook me for a rugby ball and my doctor says it should take another two to three weeks before I can start some gentle physical yoga – “but listen to what your body is telling you so you don’t overdo it.” Believe me I’ll listen because I have no intention of re-injuring the rib!

In the meantime, my wonderful husband has taken over cooking dinner most evenings (he’s a better cook than I am so we’re all benefiting from this). So what did hubby – he of the finely tuned sense of the absurd – prepare for us the other night?

Ribs – what else!

[tags]broken ribs, yoga for injuries, restorative yoga, deborah donohue, healing, breathing techniques[/tags]

3 Responses to “Yoga for Injuries”

  1. Deniz says:

    Hi Francesca, I’d assume by now your rib must have healed, and you’re back with your daily yoga regimen…Hope all went smooth for you.
    I came across your write up while looking for similar information over the Internet. I share a similar story, one broken and displaced rib, 10th right back rib. No complications so far, it’s just been a week. I was doing yoga daily right before this, and was also wondering how long it would take, and when I can start doing yoga, and if I’d be able to do yoga just as I was able to before. I heard some ribs heal, while some may not – in which case may require a surgery to attach them with a palate.
    Would love to hear a bit more from you, how the healing process worked, any recommendations…if yours was a similar break? etc. best.

  2. Francesca says:

    Sorry to hear about your rib injury, Deniz ~ it’s frustrating how it impacts everything you do, isn’t it? Hopefully, it will heal in due time without you having to have surgery.

    As mentioned in my blog, while my rib was healing, I did some restorative yoga, using a cushion to ease any discomfort.

    You might want to consider something that Beverly Driver, an acupuncturist, suggested to me that I found very helpful. Make a poultice by pouring some castor oil on a slip of gauze, and lay it on the injured area. Then cover the gauze area with something like saran wrap so that it doesn’t stain your clothes or bedding, and put a hot pack or hot towel on top of that. This will help to decrease the inflammation because ribs can hold on to inflammation for a long time. If it’s a new injury, you can do that a couple of times a day.

    My rib has actually healed very well but I was cautious about doing any strenuous yoga or exercise until it healed properly. I’ve now returned to my regular yoga practice but still feel the occasional twinge now and then, which I take as a sign to take things a little easier.

    It will take time but I hope you’ll be feeling better soon and your rib will heal completely. Namaste.

  3. Deniz says:

    Glad to hear that you’re doing well now, and thanks for your recommendation. I understand that the number of fractures, place, type all matters – was yours a displaced fracture, and which one, if you don’t mind sharing? I was planning on a 2-3 month India trip that was going to include staying in ashrams for yoga – but not sure when I should expect to heal well enough for a yoga regimen on 3-4 hrs a day…Considering how your break was, does this seem possible after 3 or 5 months? I’m not sure if I should just quit this plan entirely for this year…I hear different stories even from doctors, so I’m a bit confused as to what to expect more or less, and it’d just be good to have an idea in order to determine about the India trip and yoga/ashrams…thanks much.

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