P Sethi, A Batra, N Sethi, J Torgovnick, E Tortolani
P Sethi, A Batra, N Sethi, J Torgovnick, E Tortolani. Compressive Cervical Myelopathy Due To Sirsasana, A Yoga Posture: A Case Report. The Internet Journal of Neurology. 2006 Volume 6 Number 1.
Yoga is rapidly gaining popularity in the West as a form of exercise and mental relaxation. Yoga meaning "union" is an ancient Indian philosophy of life, practiced initially by the Sadhu's (holymen of India) that encourages the union of the mind, body and spirit. Recent research has shown that done under proper supervision, it improves muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, decreases blood pressure, slows the respiratory rate thus improving cardiovascular function. It also reduces stress and anxiety by promoting the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain-killers.
Like any other mode of exercise, complications and injuries can occur if yoga is not practiced under proper supervision. We report here a case of compressive cervical myelopathy as a result of "Sirsasana" (headstand), a common yoga posture.
Introduction To Spinal Biomechanics
The upright human posture is the result of a complex biomechanical interaction between the spinal column and the earth's gravitational forces. The spine is a dynamic organ of posture that serves three basic functions namely transmit the load (organisms weight), allow for movements (flexion, extension, rotation and lateral bending) and above all to protect the delicate spinal cord.
To maintain equilibrium in standing position with least energy expenditure, the articulated parts of spinal column and lower limbs must be aligned with respect to the center of gravity. For postural alignment a “PLUMB LINE”1 representing the gravity line passes through bodies of lumbar and most of the cervical vertebrae. The human spine is not straight; it has curves, which gives it flexibility and shock absorbing capacity. The curvature of vertebral column increases its resistance to axial compression forces. Biomechanically, the resistance of a curved column is directly proportional to square of the number of curves plus one (n2 + 1). When applied to human spine, the curved spine has 10 times the stability of a straight spine (32 + 1 or 9 + 1= 10) 2. A-63-year old male presented with history of tingling & numbness in finger and toes for the last 5 months followed by weakness and stiffness in all the four limbs with frequency and urgency of urination for past one month. There was no history of trauma either to the neck or back. For the last 25 years, he had been doing
Nitin Sethi, MD Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Weill Cornell Medical Center New York, NY 10021 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org