Managing Pain: Opioids and Yoga

Guest blog by Yoga in ME student, Lauren B Cape

Opioid addiction has been in the forefront for several years. Although opioids can be very helpful for those suffering, they can also trigger a larger problem. As someone who suffers chronic pain from scoliosis, which has led to bulging discs, I have been offered the opportunity to dance with opioids. I chose to pass. Not because of the stigma they carry, because I tend to go hard or go home.

I first discovered yoga while I was fighting as an amateur Muay Thai boxer in the New England area. Many of us practiced hot yoga in Cambridge to stay flexible, strong, and maintain a lean body mass. However, seven years of rigorous training started to take a toll on my body, especially my back. I started to experience shooting pains during training as well as getting out of bed. I knew something was wrong. I formed a relationship with an Orthopedic Surgeon who named a myriad of medications I could take to manage my pain. It was then I asked for alternative solutions. His answer, “your exercise should only consist of swimming, walking or yoga.” Coming from an extremely active background as well as being a certified personal trainer, I was crushed. I didn’t even walk to warm up for weight lifting anymore, I jogged. Swimming was financially unattainable and at the time, so was yoga.

I was very close to giving in to the prescription route. I told my husband daily that I was just going to try them and see what happens. He was not on board. It wasn’t until I moved to Eliot, Maine 3 years later that I discovered Yoga in ME. They were offering a 6 week beginner series for a great price. It was time. I am a full time bartender and doing my job efficiently was becoming nearly impossible. I was in love from the first class.

Not only has yoga dramatically improved my level of pain, I am able to carve out time during the week for just me. I have felt better than I have in 6 years. Although I cannot attend as regularly as I’d like to due to my work schedule, it never fails to disappoint when my body knows it’s been too long since I practiced. The benefits are all encompassing and it’s a great community. I am now able to check in with my doctor every 6 months with only positives to report. For me, opioids could not be the answer. I am so glad yoga is. Namaste!

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3 Replies to “Managing Pain: Opioids and Yoga”

  1. Wow. What a tribute to Yoga in Me and a very moving story. This story surely will convince someone to give yoga a try!

  2. Laura, you are so courageous. Your story reminds me of what Brene Brown says in Braving the Wilderness: “My story matters because I matter. I am absolutely enough” Thanks for sharing your truth.

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