Working with Students Who Have Yoga Injuries, Part 3
Like hamstring tears, rotator cuff injuries are easily reinjured, potentially setting your student back to square one. Though it can be hard for your students to do, being patient, never pushing through pain, and avoiding poses that could set them back are the best way to heal these stubborn injuries. It's OK to work through mild shoulder discomfort—and this may be necessary to increase range of motion—but any sharp pain, or an increase in pain after the practice, means your student has gone too far.
As with many injuries, nature and time may take care of the problem—if you can simply get your students to stop doing the action that hurt them in the first place and avoid contraindicated poses during their rehabilitation. They will also need a gentle asana program to build shoulder muscle strength, gradually restore range of motion, improve alignment, and foster relaxation.
In the concluding installment, Part 4, we'll explore the bigger issue of what injuries have to teach us and how they can be a vehicle into a deeper practice.
Dr. Timothy McCall is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine, Yoga Journal's Medical Editor, and the author of book Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Bantam). He can be found on the Web at www.DrMcCall.com.