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Common Yoga Injuries & How to Avoid Them

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

Yoga is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to both relax and tone muscle. According to the National Institutes of Health, 9.5% of US adults used yoga in 2015 (up from 6.1% in 2007 and 5.1% in 2002). As yoga grows in popularity, yoga-related injuries are also becoming increasingly common.

While sudden and severe injuries can occur in yoga, most yoga injuries develop slowly over the course of months or years – often due to overextension or poor alignment. In this post, we’ve listed six of the most common yoga injury sites – and what you can do to minimize your risk.

6 Common Yoga Injuries

  1. Wrists. Many yoga poses put a lot of pressure on the wrists. For these poses, spread your fingers and palms wide so that your bodyweight is distributed.
  2. Lower back. Back pain is one of the most commonly reported yoga injuries. Lengthen the spine prior to doing a forward fold or downward-facing dog. Also, think of a fold as occurring mainly in the hips – not the spine.
  3. Hips. It’s easy to overextend the hips in many yoga poses. One way to avoid this is to ensure the feet are facing forward whenever the hips are squared off.
  4. Neck. Headstand and shoulder stands can cause neck pain and injury when done improperly. If you do these poses, use props as needed, and have your form evaluated by an experienced instructor.
  5. Ribs. Rib injuries can be fairly common in twists. Avoid these by lengthening the spine before starting a twist. As usual… don’t overdo it! Stop once you feel a stretch.

Avoid Yoga Injuries With These Best Practices

Remember, you should always discuss any new exercise routine with your physician if you have any medical conditions or injuries. Lastly, be sure to follow these commonsense guidelines in your practice…

  • Don’t push your body to its limit. Take it slow.
  • Warm up with simple stretches.
  • If you don’t understand how to do a pose, ask the instructor.
  • Move in and out of poses slowly.
  • Use blocks, rolled up towels, bands and any other accessories you need to practice safely and comfortably.
  • Don’t lock the joints.
  • If you experience an injury, stop. See your primary care provider, urgent care or a Houston sports medicine doctor for an evaluation.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.