Stress can aggravate pain, whatever its cause. When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, your pain tolerance may be lower. Pranayama is a powerful way to quickly relax the nervous system, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system; thereby reducing stress levels.
When you experience pain, your rate of respiration increases, your breathing becomes shallower, your muscles tense and you may become agitated, irritated, depressed or anxious. Your breath rate is directly connected to the level of stress you experience. Practicing slow, deep breathing techniques like pranayama lowers your level of stress, helps your muscles relax and induces your body’s relaxation response thereby helping your body manage pain.
Special type of Pranayama with Inhalation via right nostril and exhalation via both nostrils but creating a sound of Hmm.. (Honey bee Sound) from the throat is found to be very effective in Arthritis patients.
From a yogic perspective, pain is commonly related to prana, or life force, not moving well through an area—a pranic block. Prana, according to yogic teachings, follows awareness. When the breath is accompanied by the vibrations of different sounds, it can be used as a tool to direct awareness. Thus certain breathing techniques like Ujjayi & Bhramari can be practiced to remove pranic block by moving energy that has been stagnating.