PTSD: How yoga and physical therapy can help with PTSD

A traumatic event can cause a person to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition characterized by signs such as anxiety, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks. While therapy and medications are often used as mainstream treatments for PTSD, health experts insist that complementary modalities like yoga and physical therapy have shown promise in helping people manage their symptoms.

PTSD: How yoga and physical therapy can help PTSD (Shutterstock)
PTSD: How yoga and physical therapy can help PTSD (Shutterstock)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Amit Deshpande, founder and director of Activist, shared that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health condition that can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Fortunately, yoga and physical therapy offer promising avenues for healing and managing PTSD symptoms. Yoga provides a holistic approach by combining physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation, helping to regulate the nervous system and reduce anxiety and stress.

Gushed, mindful movements and deep breathing foster a sense of calm and self-awareness, enhancing emotional resilience. Physiotherapy, on the other hand, focuses on restoring physical function and range of motion through targeted exercises and manual therapy. It can address the physical symptoms associated with the trauma, such as muscle tension and pain. Additionally, both yoga and physical therapy offer a safe and supportive environment, fostering a sense of community and connection, which can aid in the recovery process.

Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer at the Jindal Naturecure Institute in Banglore, explained: Yoga is a mind-body discipline with its roots in the ancient Indian subcontinent. Combine physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. It has been found to be successful in reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and promoting overall well-being. Yoga can offer people with PTSD a safe place to reconnect with their body and process their trauma in a nurturing environment. Yoga’s physical asanas and deliberate breathing techniques work to control the autonomic nervous system, reducing hyperarousal and enhancing relaxation. Additionally, yoga’s emphasis on mindfulness encourages people to be in the present moment, which helps reduce intrusive thoughts and improve self-awareness.

He added, On the other hand, physical therapy focuses on improving functional movement and physical rehabilitation. Physical therapy can help people with PTSD deal with somatic symptoms, chronic pain, and other physical effects of trauma. Physical therapy can help people release tension, restore proper movement patterns, and improve body awareness through a variety of techniques such as manual therapy, exercise, and body awareness training. Physiotherapy can indirectly reduce psychological distress and improve overall well-being by addressing physical symptoms. Yoga and physical therapy both provide holistic approaches to healing and can support existing treatments for PTSD. It is vital to remember that these methods may not be appropriate for everyone and should only be used under the supervision of qualified experts. However, incorporating yoga and physical therapy into PTSD treatment plans may give patients greater coping skills and tools to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Bringing his experience to the same, Dr. Sumit Gupta PT, HOD- Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation at Regency Health highlighted that PTSD can also increase stress and anxiety which lead to tension in the body but revealed how yoga and physiotherapy are very helpful in preventing this condition:

1. So many times the patient complains of pain. The physiotherapist sets goals. Strengthening exercise, stability exercise, joint mobilization, needle and range exercise help reduce pain.

2. Breathing exercise – The physical therapist can give the patient several breathing exercises (deep breathing, chest mobilization, diaphragmatic breathing) that help reduce stress or anxiety.

3. Regular exercise for anxiety is an effective method of managing anxiety and stress. Following a prescribed exercise plan will allow the body to release chemicals that can help reduce stress and anxiety.

He listed the benefits of regular exercise on PTSD symptoms as:

  • Some of the positive results physical therapy can have on your physical health include generating mobility and flexibility, increasing strength, losing weight, and improving cardiovascular health.
  • Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your mental health by reducing feelings of depression and anxiety.

#PTSD #yoga #physical #therapy #PTSD
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