Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
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Lisaj
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:40 am

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)

Post by Lisaj »

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is calcification or a bony hardening of ligaments in areas where they attach to your spine. I am seeking advice for one of my students, and am looking for some answers. My student just discovered his DISH recently. He stayed away from doing any yoga classes when he felt muscle spasms starting to occur and finally was diagnosed with DISH. There are no known cures, or as to why he has it. He came back to yin class, and was unable to relax in yin postures due to muscle spasms causes by dish in his thoracic spine. He loves yin. I'm thinking of asanas that are seated, butterfly, caterpillar, dragonfly... Not sure about dragons or spinx. I am also thinking earthing band while he sits in the yin postures, but not sure if it would help the spasms. Goldilocks principle, backing away whenever these spasms happen. I would love for him to enjoy an hour yin class again. Any suggestions? :shock: :shock: :?: :roll:
Thank you in advance!!!
Lisa Jang
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

DISH and yoga

Post by Bernie »

Hi Lisa

First, let me direct you to this article from YogaTherapy.org. It is a rather detailed case study of someone sounding very similar to your student. It shows not only that continued yoga practice can be very useful, but it also talks about what poses may be better. The author, Barbara Sloan, also warns that "Any yoga practice that creates pain should be avoided. Practice needs to emphasize maintaining normal range of motion and increasing sattvic experience, reducing stress, increasing prana."

As you noted the cause of Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is unknown (that is what idiopathic means). Since we don't know how to cure it, all we can do is manage it. There are two key effects that we can treat: the chronic inflammation and the loss of range of motion. You mentioned Earthing Bands, and yes - I would agree that he should try these, not just while doing yoga. This is a cheap and effective way to reduce chronic inflammation and in the long term is better than anti-inflammatories and cortisol injections. He should ground himself at home too, and even invest in the bed sheet so he can get the benefits all night long.

The second thing is to regain range of motion and mobilize his back. If you want to continue to use Yin Yoga with him, I would focus on spine work, but gentle postures for shorter holds: Sphinx, Reclining Twists, Bananasana or twists and side bends while seated in Shoelace. Gentle forward folds could help too, like Butterfly. Of course, he should be free to explore all the non-spinal postures that work the hips and legs all he wants: Dragons! Square, Shoelace, etc. Don't forget the yang options mentioned by Barbara Sloan (like the Pawanmuktasanas.)

You also mentioned that he has trouble relaxing in the postures: this may be a great use of Yin Yoga - to teach him how to relax. If he can learn to play his edges and only go to where there is a manageable stress, and then at that point work with his breath and awareness to help let go of stress, that could be very valuable training for him. You can teach him the Ocean Breathing technique if he doesn't know it already.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
Bernie
Lisaj
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:40 am

Thank you

Post by Lisaj »

Hi Bernie,

Thank you so much for your detailed response! I am so blessed to have you as my mentor and teacher! I'll let you know how it goes!

Best,
Lisa J
Lisa Jang
Lisaj
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:40 am

Sequence for my yin student

Post by Lisaj »

Here's the sequence I did today. He is sensitive with being supine, so everything was seated.

Seated Meditation (So Ham)
Emphasis on ocean breath throughout class
Butterfly 5 min
Caterpillar 5 min

1/2 Shoelace 3 min
Full Shoelace (option Suhkasana) 3 min
Sleeping Swan 2 min
(Repeat this sequence other side)

Baby Dragon 2 min
Dragon flying low 3 min
1/2 Dragon Split 1 min
Sleeping Swan revisited 3 min
(Repeat Other Side)

Child's Pose
Option Prone Savasana
Seated Alternate Nostril Breath


The sequence went well. Of course, I added some counter poses not listed. :) He was able to enjoy the whole class without spasms. I'll keep you all updated. Earthing device ordered...;)
Lisa Jang
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Very nice! Thanks for sharing.
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