Have you have been suffering from back pain and have tried almost every therapy and medication but still can’t get much relief? You should give Yoga a go!
Regardless of the severity of your condition and whether you’ve undergone spinal surgery, you can perform some simple exercises or poses to get some relief and strengthen the area of concern. However, be sure that the condition is stabilized and at a functional stage post-surgery before starting on any exercise program.
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and you should always consult your physician before attempting any form of exercises if you have existing medical conditions)
Yoga can provide numerous benefits to patients by offsetting skeletal compression that is often associated with back pain.
Once the skeletal compression in your body is negated, you are able to experience significant increase in proper body alignment. In addition, your sense of balance will also improve. Yoga will also decrease your pain related to different kinds of spinal disorders.
According to many studies and research, practicing Yoga poses can even help significantly reduce the lateral spinal curvature, which is the root cause of most back problems. This can be quite helpful for people who’ve been suffering from persistent pain for years.
Yoga strengthens the back by building and working on all layers of muscles on the back.
The intrinsic and deep layer of the muscles are very often neglected and overtime, the weakening of it affects the support of the spine and hence, causing pain and weakening of the spine. The common conditions are lateral spinal curvature (scoliosis), rounding of the back (kyphosis) and abnormal inward curvature of the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine (lordiosis).
Primary Areas of Focus
Yoga is one of the most effective ways to get relief from back pain. While practicing Yoga poses for back pain, you need to focus on many different areas of your body. Some of these areas include your spine, shoulder blades, abdominal muscles, hips, minor and major muscles of Psoas group.
These muscles help control your thighs’ flexing motions. While performing Yoga exercises, focusing on these areas will help improve your overall balance and reduce pain. Besides providing some basic relief, it will also prevent any additional curvature in your spine.
Here are some poses when practiced in repetitions over time will improve flexibility and strengthens the back.
The Cat/Cow pose has always been quite popular for back pain. It is a gentle, undulating movement, when practiced can effectively increase flexibility in your spine. You have to be on all four limbs on the floor. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. As you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward.
Triangle pose can also provide some relief. It is performed on both sides of the body. With this pose, you’re able to lengthen your spine on the side it is bent. It strengthens the legs, stretches the hamstrings, calves, hips and shoulders.
This restorative pose is really helpful for relaxation. It can effectively decompress the ribs present on your body’s concave side. You sit back in a kneeling position on your heels, and lay your upper torso right along your thighs. You also need to stretch your arms along the floor in the front direction. Take deep breaths and move your arms to the concave side. This will help even out your back.
Bird Dog Pose
In order to perform this pose, you need to start on your knees and hands. Imagine a glass of water on the lower back, and another one between the shoulder blades. Trying not to ‘spill any water’, take your right leg straight back and reach your right arm forward. Before switching sides, you should come back to all fours. It’s necessary to repeat the pose about 3-5 times on each side.
In this pose, you have to sit with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Hinge back without rounding the lower back. Meanwhile, lift the legs in front at a 45 degree angle. You should keep drawing the lower abs in, and stretch out the lower back. Eventually, hold the position for 5-8 breaths. After lowering yourself down, repeat the pose twice. If keeping the legs straight feels too challenging, you can even bend the knees.
In case you have time for just one pose, this will be the perfect choice. This pose works well for your midsection, back, hips, waist, deep core muscles, shoulders, buttocks and arms. Lie on the stomach, and place the elbows under the shoulders. Tuck under the toes, and press firmly though the back of heels and legs.
It’s important to engage the lower abs and tighten the core when you lift the body up off the floor. You need to come in a straight line of energy from your head to toe. Try not to let the ribs splay open or lift the buttocks too high. Hold the position for up to a minute and repeat the pose 2-3 times.
Reclining Spinal Twist
The reclining spinal twist is a great relaxing pose and good cool down to any work out. It can be done on your bed before going to sleep. In addition to relieving back pain, it helps with the digestive system as well.
It stretches the back muscles and glutes, lengthens, relaxes and realigns the spine. The twist also gently presses into the digestive organs, encouraging blood circulation and activates the digestive system.
If you have very serious degenerative disk issue, practice the pose with caution and do not force the body if it feels uncomfortable. Stop at once if short and sharp pain is present.
These were some of the best yoga poses for back pain. However, always practice with caution and do not push your body to its limits. With these simple to practice poses, I hope you can experience significant relief to your back pain. Of course, having a personal instructor will help your practice to be more effective, safe and beneficial for your concerns.