Joints like shoulders and hips are susceptible to injury as well as arthritis. Conventional medicine usually offers physical therapy or surgery, or most likely both. One doctor who specializes in physical medicine has developed some unorthodox treatments that are often surprisingly successful.
Dr. Loren Fishman studied yoga in India for three years before medical school and continues to practice it himself. He has found that modified yoga moves can be used to treat problems like a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder or piriformis syndrome in the hip. He has also found ways to use yoga to treat osteoporosis, sciatica and scoliosis.
Guests: Loren Fishman, MD, is medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City. He is also associate editor of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, on the staff at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and past president of the New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His books include Yoga for Osteoporosis (2010), Yoga for Arthritis (2008) and Cure Back Pain with Yoga (2006). His website is
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for six weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. Kim

    He wrote that he mixed it with juice.

  2. Kitty M

    I just listened to the show on the web thanks to a friend’s recommendation. I have been suffering from a “pull” and spasms between the shoulder blades for a year now possibly from overuse of the computer. MRI and X-rays are normal. Physical therapy provided only temporary relief. I tried yoga once, but went into spasms again, and I am afraid of going back. I have now decided to do nothing upon advice of a practitioner of the Alexander Technique who said my problem is structural, and my muscles are overstretched.
    Who to believe? Would Iyanga yoga be of help?

  3. JQJ

    What a fabulous program. As a yoga teacher of people over 50, I see the evidence of how yoga can enhance mobility and stability.
    Thank you for all you do to enlighten, and encourage us to take some responsibility for our well being. Also, since I am 67, I know the benefit of practicing meditation. It is becoming much more important to my students too as they see results.
    Judy Q. Jeffries

  4. Sal

    I listen to your program this past weekend and found it very interestng.
    My only disappointment is that when I looked up, I could not find any thing on yoga. Maybe I did not look in the right places.
    Still interested,
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Try You will have much better luck!

  5. DianeP

    My yoga teacher gave me some exercises involving a rope and a door to do at home for a small rotator cuff tear after it had healed without surgery. With these simple exercises done daily, I was able to extend my arm above my shoulder again after about a month. Now it’s as if It had never been torn. The tear occurred from repeatedly dropping a heavy purse into the car back seat and reaching back again awkwardly, to pick it up. Yoga keeps me moving without pain at 72. Without it I know I would have had problems by now.

  6. Pat B

    I’m finally inspired to develop a yoga practice because of this program. What Dr. Fishman said about the ways knees work with hips and feet made it clear to me that doing more yoga and doing the right poses will make a big difference. I couldn’t find the link on his website for the book he mentioned about Yoga for Arthritis. Can you email it to me? THANK YOU!

  7. Colleen

    Re: frozen right shoulder.
    I’m a 50 year old mother of 3 and I suffered from this a year and a half ago and was told it can take up to 2 years to resolve. (say wha!) Therapeutic massage aggravated it; acupuncture helped alleviate pain and restore some range of motion (ROM). It wasn’t until I began seeing an unorthodox chiropractor that improvement really began to show. After his evaluation he said my left hip was dropped, causing a misalignment and contributing to the frozen shoulder. He worked with my energy rather than physically adjusting my spine. He gave me some yoga stretches, especially the ones that involve working both sides of the body equally.
    Lying on your back with knees bent and doing slow hip raises and lowering (one spine at a time), which strengthens the back muscles equally/symmetrically. Also, standing against a closed door and walking your fingers up as high as you can tolerate (ouch, ouch, ouch)and relaxing letting your hands drag back down the door. Another one, bending forward and letting your affected arm hang and swing arm in a circular motion, clockwise and counter-clockwise.
    As Dr. Fishman mentioned, this is a painful recovery, and I found that to be unfortunately true when first beginning the exercises. I also set up a pulley with a rope over the door so I could raise my arm to the side with my left arm. (ouch, ouch) Again, painful, and progress was slow at first, but within 8 weeks of starting the exercises, I began realizing that doing the symmetrical stretching and exercises were really helping. For instance, starting to work in the garden, reaching out with both arms pulling a rake toward me actually seemed to help recovery rather than setting me back.
    A yoga exercise that would mimic this task would be kneeling, (sitting on your calves with knees bent) and slowly reaching forward along the floor until you’re fully reaching above your head; you might not be able to get your forehead to the floor at first, but make it your goal. Persistent and frequent stretching is key and I only stretched as far as I could tolerate the pain. Within 3 months of visiting this chiropractor (only 4 visits), and performing the stretches, I had nearly full ROM, but still some pain/discomfort. But now, after 12 months of incorporating additional yoga stretches to daily routine, my shoulder has been up to the task of gardening and working (professional window cleaning) this year with no relapse. In fact, I haven’t felt any of the sore back/joint problems I’ve had in previous years from gardening or window cleaning. Actually, my overall energy and mood have improved as well.
    Yoga rocks and so does my chiro!
    Hope you find this helpful and encouraging.

  8. Dennis F.

    Good show!

  9. Paul C. G.

    Hi, I have a couple ideas to be tried for the problems mentioned on the show this AM. For rotator cuff problems, I got on some steep stairs and used my arm and body weight leaning on the stairs to press the rotator cuff back into place. Do it for about 15 minutes twice a day for the first 2 weeks after the problem occurs. This may solve the problem without surgery. Second, for siatica, I eat 2-3 brocolli crowns for a couple of days and it does solve some muscle related siatica pain. I’m thinking that the increased slip from the magnesium in the brocolli is easing the siatica problem. pg1246 o&o

  10. Lisa M

    I am a physiatrist in practice in Florida and frequently suggest yoga to my predominantly geriatric patient population with great results. It is also very helpful for cancer survivors and caregivers and we have an onsite class in yoga as well as Tai Chi at the Center for Building Hope in Sarasota. Many of the participants report overall better sense of resilience, energy and diminished side effects from their various treatment.
    I agree it is important to work with a qualified health care provider, listen to your body and do not attempt poses that are painful or put undue strain on injured areas. Proper breathing is also an important element that many find helpful too.

  11. alxzba

    After a yoga practice off/on for 20 years, I had to give it up due to physical limitations in favor of other disciplines. Will be interested in other comments.

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