older couple doing yoga

“I have had increasing pain in both rotator cuffs for the past week.This morning I could barely lift my right arm and nearly cried from the pain. I’m a chef and the physical/mental stress of Thanksgiving was taking it’s toll.
“En route to a friend’s pool this morning to try to work this out I remembered your interview with Dr. Loren Fishman on yoga and standing on your head. I probably have not stood on my head in 30+ years but I did this morning and the results were immediate and amazing. I have full range of motion in both arms and the pain has greatly dimished. I can’t thank you enough for your always informative programs.”



When Loren Fishman, MD, described his own experience with a torn rotator cuff and his yoga headstand we were amazed but a little skeptical. On the other hand, Dr. Fishman 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. When it comes to injuries, Dr. Fishman is no flake. He also knows his yoga.
Dr. 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.
We do NOT suggest that someone with a torn rotator cuff start doing headstands without a trained yoga teacher in attendance who can provide appropriate support and supervision. That said, you are not the first person who has told us that this technique can be helpful. One man was all set to undergo surgery but found that the yoga headstand eased his discomfort so much that he was able to postpone and then avoid surgery.
To listen to the full one-hour FREE interview with Dr. Loren Fishman, click on this link. You may be as amazed as he was that this technique was so helpful.
Here are some additional comments about our interview with Dr. Fishman:

“The Dr. is correct. I have “healed” shin splints, rotator problems, carpal tunnel, sinus problems, headaches, fatigue, and depression with yoga. It is truly something that can change your life around if you suffer with chronic health problems.”

“As yoga teachers in the Plano, Richardson and Murphy area (North Dallas) we have seen many students who have benefited from the classical Hatha Yoga poses. The slow and gentle style of hatha yoga we teach has helped a number of students with such neck-/back-/shoulder-pain, arthritis, and even sciatica among other conditions.

“From our experience, the benefits of yoga are as real as Dr. Fishman described. Yet, we always find it especially encouraging to hear a “medicial doctor” support and validate the therapeutic benefits of yoga. His detailed explanations based on his medical knowledge of the body answer the “how and why” yoga helps.
“Most yoga teachers are not doctors and cannot “claim” such benefits without scientific proof; however, Dr. Fishman appropriately addressed this at the end of the show by saying yoga can help with a number of medical conditions but it takes science to validate them. Medical science has a long way to catch up to the ancient wisdom of yoga and I wonder if there is any incentive for researching the benefits of yoga poses — they can’t be copyrighted!. Yet such shows are an encouraging alternative to the mainstream medical treatments prescribed, many which treat symptoms instead of root cause and are riddled with side-effects.
“Thank you for a great show today.”

“I was cured of plantar fasciitis by doing a basic transitional pose called the Downward Dog pose about a dozen times throughout a yoga class. I had suffered for five months with this injury in one of my feet. But after getting no relief from daily exercises recommended by physical therapists and even Pilates instructors, I decided on a whim one day to return to yoga.
“By the end of class, despite constant pain during the Downward Dog poses, the pain had completely disappeared and has never returned in over four years. Two years ago I underwent Total Hip Replacement and returned to yoga, this time studying under a phenomenal yoga instructor who had also had hip replacement surgery. She modified the poses so that I wouldn’t injure my new hip. Needless to say I am a firm advocate of yoga!”

“I am a physiatrist [medical doctor specializing in rehabilitation of nerve, muscle and bone] 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.”

“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.”

Again, to listen to Dr. Loren Fishman describe his own experience with yoga and a torn rotator cuff, click this link.
If you would like to sign up for the free podcast of our radio show so that you can listen to other programs like this one, click here.

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  1. Susan

    Since taking up yoga and investing in a memory foam mattress my back and shoulder pain that really used to affect my day to day life, is so much better.

  2. Jeanne

    Do not do any of the inverted poses if you have glaucoma. My eye doctor has told me it will increase already high pressure in the eyes. I am able to do all other yoga poses without concern.

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