Jeff Fine

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TotalSelf Considered podcast iconWhen we’re injured we want answers. We want someone to tell us what is wrong and what to do about it. Yet all too often, people in pain find themselves on the medical merry-go-round. They go to multiple doctors and other providers only to find that their pain remains unchanged or worsens. And because pain causes not just physical but also emotional suffering (hopelessness, despair, and frustration), sometimes people stop trying to find new ways to heal.

The good news is that yoga, though familiar to many in our culture but rarely viewed as a viable modality to treat and manage injuries and pain, may be just what the doctor didn’t order!

In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Caryna Wong, who has had great success using yoga to help clients work through injuries, manage pain, and improve their functional capacity. Caryna found non-traditional ways to manage her pain and heal herself after going through the aftermath of a car accident, as well as auto-immune and other health problems. As someone who personally dealt with chronic pain and multiple injuries, and transformed herself, Caryna brings unique insights into her work with people dealing with injury and pain.

Listen to this episode of the TotalSelf Considered to hear more about how yoga and breath work can help manage and treat pain.



Episode summary:

  • Many people suffering from chronic pain struggle to find out what will really help them, and often see multiple doctors and other providers
  • Pain causes physical and emotional stress
  • Caryna started practicing yoga after a car accident left her with lost range of motion. She was also dealing with scoliosis, herniated disks, and auto-immune issues
  • Modalities that Caryna uses include yoga, and aerial yoga. Aerial yoga allowed her to move in a way to get strong without putting too much pressure on joints
  • Nutrition also essential in managing inflammation and pain
  • Pain can be demoralizing, can cause depression. Emotional – psychological experience a big part of pain
  • Protecting yourself and experiencing pain due to fear – moving safely and getting stronger helps understand what’s fear and what’s injury
  • Fear causes us to avoid and not try – hard to be motivated to keep exploring
  • Breathing exercises and pain: resetting breathing patterns and “breathing into the pain”
  • Breathwork is one of the most underrated sources of pain management
  • For older people, people who are deconditioned, focus is on conditioning, strengthening without causing too much pressure on the spine or the joints
  • For weekend warriors- important to spread training out or add more movement to your other days
  • Active sedentary – most of us are sitting too much. Even people who are working out don’t move enough within the average day
  • Caryna works with Dr Loren Fishman, to make sure she knows the diagnosis and pathology and is recommending safe movements
  • Yoga work is very individualized, one-on-one. Doing exercises that are not individualized and unsupervised can cause more problems
  • Older and fit people who are not keeping up with what they should/shouldn’t be doing are at risk of injury
  • The body wants to move to the patterns and where the muscles are stronger
  • Caryna treats multiple back injuries – unlike PTs who treat only one at a time
  • Breathwork and meditation can calm down nervous system and interrupt the pain cycle
  • Yoga new in terms of being used medically, to treat injuries and chronic pain. More and more studies and data showing the results.
  • Many doctors would discount the idea of doing yoga to treat injuries even though data shows surgeries don’t always have long lasting results
  • Surgery should be a last resort, but it’s not treated like that.
  • Important to be strong going into surgery and correct patterns, otherwise you’re at risk for reinjury
  • This work is not for everybody – it’s not a quick fix. Ownership of your own medical journey is vital
  • A lot of new possibilities with regenerative medicine and PRP
  • Teaching people how to have control over their musculature
  • People who sit a lot and even well trained athletes have challenges with neuro-muscular control that can increase chances of injury
  • Increasing body awareness and helping people recognize early stages of pain


“People who are hurt or have pain, they already feel bad so they don’t want to feel worse.” – Jeff

“Moving hurts but not moving would hurt more.” – Caryna

“The more you can control your body, the more you’re going to be able to control the pain.” – Caryna

“The consistency of your attention to this is going to help you with staying injury free.” – Jeff

Resources and links:

Jeff Fine’s website:

Jeff Fine’s Total Self blog and podcast:

Caryna Wong’s Facebook page:

Caryna Wong website:


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