Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why exercise?

You’ll feel better right away, and notice improvement within weeks! 

Did you know that beginners improve the fastest when they exercise? The “Before and After” photos you see in fitness books and infomercials show how quickly the body responds to exercise. 

Even one exercise session can improve your circulation and mental focus. After one month of consistent effort you’ll enjoy noticeable results in strength and energy. 

You’ll even see the difference in the mirror. As you build your health and physical fitness with consistent exercise, you'll enjoy many benefits along the way. 

Why exercise? Your fitness matters more than you may realize.
Regular moderate exercise has been shown to improve longevity and significantly reduce the risk of serious medical conditions and premature death. And if you have fewer medical issues, you’ll have a lower health care bill and a dramatically better quality of life! 

Don’t wait for your doctor’s warnings to get in shape. You can start building (or rebuilding) your health today! 

Why exercise? Specific routines will help you take the stress off of overworked muscles and joints. 

You can choose from a number of free home exercise programs right here on this site. There are flexibility and strength routines, and workouts that target specific areas (lower back and core, knees). Several routines on this site help to correct common muscular imbalances, which will help you prevent discomfort and injury.

You’ll also be able to follow a guide that shows you how to exercise at home. If you are new to exercise, it will take only 12 weeks to develop an active lifestyle that is proven to reduce your health risks substantially. Learn how you can include sports, hobbies, and other physical activities you enjoy into your workout plans and still get great results. 

Ready to begin?

Find out how your health and fitness compares to your peers with several well researched physical fitness tests. Using the tools on this site, you’ll have a complete fitness profile that you can use to track your progress in the weeks ahead. Your results are analyzed to show how much you need to improve to lower your risk of serious health concerns, which is great for setting goals.


Benefits of physical fitness

Why it's worth your time and effort to become fit

Just as it’s hard to put a value on your time, it’s also hard to overstate the benefits of physical fitness. Your well being affects your decisions, activities, opportunities, relationships...nearly every part of your life. 

Personal health and fitness directly relates to your quality of life. 

Do you feel like there’s too much work ahead of you to become physically fit? If you are new to exercise or 'out of shape', you actually have an advantage. 

Though it may be tough at first, be consistent with exercise, and your body will adapt to these new physical activities. You will make progress every week, and your quality of life will change fairly quickly, usually within a month’s time. 

Increased muscular strength will make it easier to lift children or groceries.

A lower body fat percentage will show in the mirror.

Weight loss and improved endurance will help you climb stairs with much less effort.

Health benefits last for a lifetime.

Do you like the idea of these changes? Stay active for a lifetime and you’ll enhance your health as well. Your own benefits of physical fitness will include a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, death from all causes, diabetes, and osteoporosis . Add good nutrition to an active lifestyle and you'll have a powerful combination for good health and fitness.

It's simply too risky to be out of shape.

The health risks below were found in the lowest 1/3 in each age group for cardiovascular fitness......of the studies above were done with women only, so the percent risk may vary for men. 

Exercise, or TV time?

Lack of physical activity tends to make people feel sluggish, and when you combine that with mental fatigue from a long day at work or school, it's natural to want to rest in front of the TV at the end of the day. 

But studies show that diabetes and obesity are linked with TV time. While watching TV or video content (i. e. video on internet), we burn no more energy than we do at complete rest, and we’re also bombarded with fast food commercials compelling us to eat! So even in those who are otherwise physically active, excessive TV time may pose a health risk.

Researchers recommend less than 10 hours of TV per week. They estimate that 30% of new obesity cases and 43% of new diabetes cases can be prevented through watching less than 10 hours of TV / week and walking briskly 30 minutes per day. 
The average American watches over 35 hours of video content per week . Perhaps what we really need is just a change of pace...walk the dog, play with your kids, work in the yard, go to a park....when they are part of a consistent routine, those kinds of activities are easy ways to realize the benefits of physical fitness. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flexor Tendon Injuires

A deep cut on the palm side of your fingers, hand, wrist, or forearm can damage your flexor tendons, which are the tissues that help control movement in your hand. 

A flexor tendon injury can make it impossible to bend your fingers or thumb.


Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. When muscles contract, tendons pull on bones. This causes parts of the body (such as a finger) to move.

The muscles that move the fingers and thumb are located in the forearm. Long tendons extend from these muscles through the wrist and attach to the small bones of the fingers and thumb.

The tendons on the top of the hand straighten the fingers. These are known as extensor tendons. The tendons on the palm side bend the fingers. These are known as the flexor tendons.
When you bend or straighten your finger, the flexor tendons slide through snug tunnels, called tendon sheaths, that keep the tendons in place next to the bones.

A torn or cut tendon in the forearm, at the wrist, in the palm, or along the finger will make it impossible to bend one or more joints in a finger.

Because flexor tendons are very close to the surface of the skin, a deep cut will most likely hit a flexor tendon. In these cases, the tendon is often cut into two pieces.

Like a rubber band, tendons are under tension as they connect the muscle to the bone. If a tendon is torn or cut, the ends of the tendon will pull far apart, making it impossible for the tendon to heal on its own.

Because the nerves to the fingers are also very close to the tendons, a cut may damage them, as well. This will result in numbness on one or both sides of the finger. If blood vessels are also cut, the finger may have no blood supply. This requires immediate surgery.

Occasionally, flexor tendons may be partially cut or torn. With a partial tendon tear, it may still be possible to bend your finger, but not completely. These types of tears can be difficult to diagnose.

In addition to cuts on the arm, hand, or fingers, certain sports activities can cause flexor tendon injuries. These injuries often occur in football, wrestling, and rugby.

 "Jersey finger" is one of the most common of these sports injuries. It can happen when one player grabs another's jersey and a finger (usually the ring finger) gets caught and pulled. The tendon is pulled off the bone. 

In sports that require a lot of arm and hand strength, such as rock climbing, tendons and/or their sheaths can also be stretched or torn.
Certain health conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, for example) weaken the flexor tendons and make them more likely to tear. This can happen without warning or injury — a person may simply notice that his or her finger no longer bends, but cannot recall how it could have happened.

The most common signs of a flexor tendon injury include:
  • An open injury, such as a cut, on the palm side of your hand, often where the skin folds as the finger bends
  • An inability to bend one or more joints of your finger
  • Pain when your finger is bent
  • Tenderness along your finger on the palm side of your hand
  • Numbness in your fingertip
Doctor Examination
It is important to see a doctor whenever the fingers are injured. This is especially true if your finger is jammed and you cannot bend or straighten your fingertip.
First Aid
When you have a serious cut to your hand or fingers, apply ice immediately. Tightly wrap your hand with a clean cloth or bandage to slow down the bleeding. Elevate your hand by keeping it lifted above your heart. See a doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may first clean and treat any wounds that are not deep. You may need a tetanus shot or antibiotics to prevent infection.

Physical Examination

 These standard examination tests help your doctor determine if a tendon or nerve has been injured.

During the examination, your doctor will ask you to bend and straighten your fingers. To test your finger strength, your doctor may have you try to bend your injured finger while he or she holds the other fingers down flat. To determine whether any nerves or blood vessels have been injured, your doctor may test your hand for sensation and blood flow to the fingers.

Additional Tests  
Your doctor may also order an x-ray to see if there is any damage to the bone.

After examining your hand, your doctor may place your hand in a splint for protection.

Tendons cannot heal unless the ends are touching, which does not occur with a complete tear. In most cases, a cut or torn tendon must be repaired by a doctor. This requires surgery.

Surgery is usually performed within 7 to 10 days after an injury. In general, the sooner surgery is performed, the better recovery will be.

If your injury is restricting blood flow to your hand or finger, your doctor will schedule an immediate surgery.

Surgical Procedure
  After surgery, a splint is applied to limit movement and help the tendon heal.

Because tendons tear in different ways — such as straight across, at an angle, or pulled right off of the bone — there are many different methods for your surgeon to repair them. All the methods for repair, however, involve special sutures, which are stitches.

Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis (you may go home the day of surgery). Your doctor will apply a dressing and splint after the surgery. Many doctors use a plastic type of splint to protect the repair. Your fingers and wrist will be placed in a bent position to keep tension off the repair.

Recovery from Surgery 
It can take up to 2 months before the repair heals and your hand is strong enough to use without protection. It may take another month or so before your hand can be used with any force. 

Soon after surgery, you will begin physical therapy. Specific exercises will help you gradually regain motion and function. Stiffness after surgery is common, but it usually responds to therapy. 

Splint wear and proper exercise, exactly as prescribed by your therapist, are as important to recovery as the surgery itself. 

Treatment for Partial Tears
Recent evidence suggests that partially torn tendons do not require surgery for good results. The same splinting and exercise programs that are used for surgery patients can be very effective for patients with partial tears, but with no surgery necessary.

This nonsurgical treatment option is appropriate only after the doctor has explored the wound to accurately assess the extent of the injury.

Long-Term Outcomes

Over the last several decades, advanced research and experience in the treatment of flexor tendon injuries have resulted in improved patient outcomes. Flexor tendon injuries, however, can be very challenging to treat.

Despite extensive therapy, some patients have long-term stiffness after flexor tendon injuries. Sometimes, a second surgery is required to free up scar tissue and to help the patient regain motion.

Overall, flexor tendon surgery results in good return of function and high patient satisfaction. 

Yoga For Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is one of the rapidly growing diseases in the world, and nothing can beat diet and exercise for combating this disease. A healthy diet, that avoids sugar and starch is what can help you keep the sugar in control. 
What most of the people fail to realize that exercise is equally important for tackling any health issue. When the disease is diabetes, which has more than 280 million people across the globe suffering from it, there needs to be a lot of effort and dedication to tackle it. Most experts recommend a diabetes control diet, that helps in most cases, but exercise too is prescribed, which many will avoid. 
Diabetes can be simply described as the disease caused due to the lack or sufficient amount of insulin or ineffective functioning of insulin in the body. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and is important to transport the glucose that is produced after breaking down of food, into the bloodstream. In case of less insulin or ineffective insulin, the glucose will settle and stay in the body without being used for energy and this can pose serious health risks. 

With type 1 diabetes that is caused naturally due to less secretion of insulin in the body, there may not be much of an issue, but for type 2 diabetes that is caused by various factors, that include obesity, lifestyle, heredity, stress, etc., there needs to be serious thought on the cure. The reason we discussed diabetes 
 and the cause is to understand the cure better. 

Exercise is what is recommended by most of the health experts and nothing can beat the traditional form of exercise accepted world wide, that is yoga. 
It has been described as the most effective workout. It has also proved to be extremely beneficial in treating many diseases, one of which is diabetes. For curious people willing to know the exact role of yoga in diabetes, we have compiled information based on studies related to ways in which yoga helps to prevent it.

Yoga For Diabetes Prevention
Yoga is an exercise that involves movement, poses, breathing and focus. It not only helps in physical relaxation, but also helps you connect to the mind. 
The many benefits of yoga are listed below. We will first take a look at these, so as to understand the role of yoga in diabetes prevention.

Yoga helps in excellent blood circulation. This helps blood flow in all the parts of the body. Even those that are difficult to be involved in everyday activities and other workouts.

It involves breathing along with blood circulation, that ensures good flow of oxygen and blood to all the vital organs of the body. This along with the many beneficial poses of yoga help in calming the mind, focusing and meditation. It reduces the stress and increases concentration. This also increases will power, that helps you to push your body to more rigorous exercise and maintain your diet goals, and other healthy lifestyle changes.

As glucose levels are elevated by stress, yoga can help in keeping them in control. The stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and non-adrenaline are reduced in blood, and thus yoga helps in reducing stress. This is also believed to ensure proper functioning of insulin.

Yoga helps in stretching the entire body, tones it and also helps in building muscle. This aids weight loss and thus, is able to combat type 2 diabetes and decrease the risk.

The different poses and stretching also help in building a strong digestive system, gives flexibility to the blood vessels and maintains the levels of glucose in the blood.

Yoga with breathing techniques, that is called 'pranayama' helps in activating the pancreas, that secrete insulin. Certain yoga poses, exert pressure on the pancreas which helps in their activation and also helps in eliminating the toxins.

The muscles are relaxed in with the different poses of yoga, and the increased blood and oxygen supply, are the possible triggers for better insulin reception on the muscles, that in turn enhance glucose consumption.

Blood pressure too is regularized throughout the body, that keeps it in check. As blood pressure maximizes the risk for diabetes, this is tackled well by yoga.

It can be thus concluded that yoga helps in combating weight issues, increases immunity that helps in slow progression of complications. It helps in better insulin production and consumption of glucose. It also helps you be determined and think positively, which is very important when dealing with any disease.

Many studies have found out that people with diabetes who practiced yoga on a regular basis, showed significant decrease in blood glucose and hemoglobin AC1 levels. Another study also found out that yoga therapy for diabetes prevention helped curb after meal rise in blood glucose and insulin resistance. 

Yoga is one name that has been a savior on all diseases. And now we know that it does help to control diabetes. So start practicing from today, but only under an experts training.

Balance diabetes with a healthy diet and with the many benefits of yoga for diabetes!

Home Treatment For Knee Problems and Injuries

Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

**Rest:and protect an injured or sore area. Stop, change, or 
   take a break from any activity that may be causing your 
   pain or soreness. When resting, place a small pillow   
   under  your knee.
**Ice: will reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice or cold packs 
   immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice 
   or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. 

For the first 48 hours after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic beverages.

After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat and begin gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between heat and cold treatments. 

Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling.
  • Don't wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage.
  •  Don't expect the bandage to protect or stabilize a knee     injury. 
  • Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours. A more serious problem may be present.  
Elevate, the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.

Reduce stress on your sore knee (until you can get advice from your doctor):
  • Use a cane or crutch in the hand opposite your painful knee.  

  • Use two crutches, keeping weight off the leg with the sore knee. You can get canes or crutches from most pharmacies. Crutches are recommended if a cane causes you to walk with a limp. Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.

Try the following exercises to maintain flexibility:
  • Hamstring stretch Hamstring stretch in doorway

  • Lie on your back in a doorway, with one leg through the open door.
  • Slide your leg up the wall to straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for at least 1 minute. As the days go by, add a little more time until you can relax and let these muscles stretch for as much as 6 minutes for each leg.
    • Do not arch your back.
    • Do not bend either knee.
    • Keep one heel touching the floor and the other heel touching the wall. Do not point your toes.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Do 2 to 4 times for each leg.
If you do not have a place to do this exercise in a doorway, there is another way to do it:
  • Lie on your back and bend the knee of the leg you want to stretch.
  • Loop a towel under the ball and toes of that foot, and hold the ends of the towel in your hands.
  • Straighten your knee and slowly pull back on the towel. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. It is hard to hold this stretch with a towel for a long time, but hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds. One minute or more is even better.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Do 2 to 4 times for each leg.
 Knee-to-chest exercise
    Do not do the knee-to-chest exercise if it causes or increases back or leg pain.
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
    • Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor (or the other leg straight, whichever feels better on your lower back). Keep your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
    • Relax and lower the knee to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
    • Repeat 2 to 4 times with each leg.
    • To get more stretch, put your other leg flat on the floor while pulling your knee to your chest.
    • Avoid high-impact exercise, such as running, skiing, snowboarding, or playing tennis, until your knee is no longer painful or swollen.

    Medicine you can buy without a prescription
    Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
    • Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol

    Note: Do not use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, for the first 24 hours after an injury. Using these medicines may increase the time it takes your blood to clot and cause more severe bruising from bleeding under the skin.

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
      • Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
      • Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
    • Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
    Talk to your child?s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

    Safety tips
    Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
    • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
    • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
    • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
    • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
    • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
    • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

    Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
    Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

    • Signs of infection develop.
    • Numbness, tingling, or weakness develops.
    • Your knee, lower leg, or foot becomes pale or cool or looks blue.
    • Symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
    • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Yoga’s benefits inspired doctors to prescribe it

    After a sudden move during a tennis match triggered a slipped disc in his back, Dr. Raza Awan found himself in excruciating pain. It radiated from his lower back down his left leg.

    Awan, a rehabilitation medicine specialist, sought help from the city’s best physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath, acupuncturist and massage therapist. Nothing worked.
    “I was desperate,” he says, recalling the injury eight years ago. “I even went to a woman who was humming on my chest.” Doctors wanted to operate, but Awan refused. On the suggestion of a patient, he tried Pilates and yoga.

    Finally, he found relief. Pilates treated the sciatica and yoga eased chronic neck pain from years of playing sports and sitting in front of a computer.  The experience changed how he practices medicine. He’s proof, he says, that when doctors get injured, they become better doctors.

    Awan, now the medical director of Synergy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, has designed a rehab model that incorporates yoga and Pilates.

    The sports medicine clinic is among Toronto’s first to fully integrate yoga into its rehab model — something that would’ve been seen as “unorthodox” a decade ago, Awan says. Now, more than 250 doctors refer people to his clinic, including neurologists whose patients have severe headaches triggered by neck pain.

    Western medicine has loosened up, with a growing number of doctors prescribing yoga to ease and treat illness and prevent injury. The increase has happened as the sciencific evidence continues to mount showing the health benefits of yoga.

    Many of the studies are pilot studies of have small sample sizes. Experts say more randomized controlled trials, the gold standard in research, are needed. But still, the research is compelling.

    Yoga is prescribed for musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoporosis, arthritis and back pain. It helps those living with chronic conditions such as HIV and cancer better cope with the disease. And for those with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, it can ease chronic pain, reduce blood pressure and improve posture and balance.

    The proven mood booster and stress reliever is also used to treat psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression, and to help fight addiction.

    Research even suggests yoga’s stress-busting capabilities can slow the biological clock on a cellular level, according to The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards by U.S. science writer William Broad. Scientists have discovered telomeres, which sit at the ends of chromosomes, get shorter as cells divide and age. One thing that erodes telomeres is stress.

    Broad, a The New York TimesPulitzer-prize winning journalist at The New York Times, notes yoga’s flexing poses and slow breathing stimulate the vagus, one of the most important nerves in the body. The nerve regulates the body’s immune system and its response in fighting illness, including inflammation.

    He also addresses the benefits of yoga in fighting heart disease, saying studies show those who practice report fewer visits to hospital, less need for drug therapy and fewer coronary events.

    Dr. Awan recommends yoga as a sort of preventive medicine, saying patients of his who are weightlifters and runners report less injury. Even medical schools are taking note, says Awan. When he was in school — he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1995 and completed residency training at the Mayo Clinic in 2000 — students weren’t introduced to yoga as a therapeutic option.

    Today, he says, medical schools offer courses on complementary medicine that include acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy and yoga.

    Yoga teacher Kathy Felkai says “the medical profession is now listening.” To illustrate this point, she notes she was invited last year by The Canadian Pain Society to speak at its annual chronic-pain refresher course on the benefits of yoga. Felkai began practising yoga after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia around 2000. Her recovery motivated her to teach therapeutic Hatha yoga.

    She now teaches at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre and the Wasser Pain Management Centre, as part of its cognitive behavioural therapy program.
    Her students have included breast cancer survivors, those with spinal injuries and people suffering from severe arthritis.

    “(Yoga) gives them the tool to cope with whatever they have to cope with physically, emotionally and mentally,” says Felkai, who also runs a yoga class for hospital staff — half of whom attend because they have health problems.
    For breast cancer survivors, yoga relieves anxiety and helps them get through treatments, she says. It also alleviates muscle and joint tightness and eases tension in areas where they’ve undergone surgery.

    “And it improves mood,” says Felkai. “The ladies come in, and they are obviously sad and tired and worn out. And I can give them some pleasure and joy — that’s beautiful to watch.”

    Western medicine, she says, cannot link body, mind and spirit the way yoga does.

    Restoring that link is key to overcoming addiction, because addicts tend to be restless and live in their heads, disconnected from their bodies.

    When Dr. Gabor Maté was the physician at Vancouver’s Onsite detox facility, located above the supervised drug-injection clinic Insite, volunteers taught yoga to addicts
    “They loved that calmness, that contact with themselves that they were gaining for the first time,” says Maté, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.

    Maté is now collaborating with naturopathic doctor Sat Dharam Kaur to teach Kundalini yoga techniques as part of addiction recovery. The five-weekend program, Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery, starts April 6 and7, with Maté speaking at the University of Toronto’s Hart House.

    “Yoga puts you in touch with your body,” says Maté. “It puts you in touch with the part of you … that was there before the addictions even arose.”

    And, he says, yoga promotes a “calmer state of mind that actually allows you to be with your pain rather than escape it …. That’s when the healing happens.”

    Reference:  TORONTO STAR March 23, 2013

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    When Yoga Hurts

    Yoga heals. But it can also harm.

    That’s why Raza Awan, a sports medicine doctor, and Riki Richter, a Pilates and yoga instructor, created a yoga injury prevention workshop for teachers and studio owners.  The idea came after the duo, who co-own and run Synergy Sports Medicine and rehabiliation, noticed yoga-related injuries at their Toronto clinic, near Lansdowne Ave. and Bloor St. W.

    They wanted to show practitioners the more common injuries — rotator cuff, cervical disc, lower back, wrist, hamstring and knee — and how to prevent them.  The benefits of yoga outweigh the risks, but awareness of its potential dangers is needed, especially since the yoga community hasn’t traditionally tracked injuries.

    “We need dialogue (with the community) because (yoga) is growing in popularity,” says Awan. “And there are going to be injuries.”

    Yoga poses can cause injuries or exacerbate existing conditions. Often injuries are linked to a sudden spike in activity, such as teacher trainings, weekend workshops and retreats. Since most are the result of repetitive strain, people can hurt themselves when they increase activity level.

    Damage to the rotator cuff results from weight put on the arms and can be brought on during poses such as plank, chaturanga, handstand and arm balances.  Cervical disc issues occur from extending and flexing the head and compressing the neck. Poses that can result in injury include camel, upward dog, cobra, plow, headstand and shoulder stand.

    Lower back pain is common because of extreme forward and backward bends. Weight-bearing poses such crane and downward dog can hurt the wrist; standing or seated forward bends can injure the hamstring; and twisting and hyper flexing during warrior, hero and pigeon can damage the knee.

    American science writer William Broad, also a longtime practitioner, explores the dark side of yoga in his 2012 book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards.
    One of the biggest myths about yoga is that it’s safe, says The New York Times writer. Some poses have caused nerve damage resulting in disabilities that range from relatively mild to permanent. And although rare, some poses restrict blood flow to the brain, which can cause a stroke and result in death, he says.

    “Yoga can kill and maim — or save your life and make you feel like a god,” writes the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. “That’s quite a range.”  

    Reference:  TORONTO STAR March 23, 2013