Everyone has at least heard of yoga by now, it's only been around for the last 5,000 years.
With its roots in ancient tradition, yoga has become commonplace in modern society. But it's not just another fitness trend.
The health benefits of yoga are far-reaching, and the claims are now backed by scientific research.
In this post, we'll discuss how yoga for back pain works to alleviate pain, as well as ten different poses that are best suited for treating lower back pain.
Yoga For Back Pain
Many people are turning to holistic medical practices as alternatives. This includes yoga for back pain.
Yoga "is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Amond the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Raja yoga."
But in the context of modern day society, it's spiritual aspects are focused on less. Rather, it's regarded more as a form of physical exercise.
The health benefits of yoga are many, though. Studies have shown that practicing yoga leads to improved muscle strength, increased flexibility, improved cardiovascular health, lowered stress levels, and improved mental health.
And of course, yoga is a great way to ease the symptoms of back pain. Yoga helps ease the pain by providing the muscles in the lower back with some much-needed exercise and stretching, first and foremost. Continue reading to find out how to fight your back pain with yoga!
Yoga For Back Pain Poses
You don't have to be an expert to reap the yoga for back pain relief benefits. All it takes is a little bit of practice.
It does, though, require a bit of caution for the newcomer. Those new or inexperienced with yoga should take care to not overexert themselves in order to prevent unnecessary injuries.
When attempting these yoga poses, take it slow and know your limits.
1. Seated Spinal Twist
When it comes to yoga for back pain poses, this one might be the most simple. But simple doesn't mean ineffective, as it's a great pose for improving posture as well as spine mobility.
To perform this pose, begin in a seated position. Then bring your right foot to the outer edge of your left knee. From there, bring your left arm and elbow to the outside of your raised right knee. While doing so, look over your shoulder to get an adequate stretch.
From there, bring your left arm and elbow to the outside of your raised right knee. While doing so, look over your shoulder to get an adequate stretch. Hold the position for up to ten breaths before switching sides.
2. Sphinx Pose
This position is a terrific yoga for back pain pose as it improves blood flow both within and around your spine. It helps to increase flexibility while relieving pain.
The Sphinx also helps to work out the muscles along the spine, in the lower back, as well as on the shoulders and legs.
To perform this pose, lie down on your belly with the tops of your feet resting on the floor. From there, tuck your elbows toward your sides and under your shoulders. Gently raise yourself up onto your elbows while keeping your belly and legs on the floor.
Breathe in slowly for ten breaths or so before slowly lowering your head back to the floor.
3. Triangle Pose
This yoga for back pain pose might want to make you do a cartwheel (if only your back wasn't in so much pain). The position helps to work out the back and leg muscles, as well as those along with your abdomen and hips (both muscle groups which impact back pain).
To begin, stand upright with your feet together. Then, bring one leg out to the sides with your foot facing forward slightly. With one arm, reach down to the extended leg while reaching for the sky with the other. Both your legs should be straight while performing this stretch. Once
Both your legs should be straight while performing this stretch. Once you hold the pose on one side for up to ten breaths, switch to the other side.
4. Pigeon Pose
Of all the yoga for back pain poses, this one might be the most challenging. It works to stretch the muscles around the hips, which can contribute to lower back pain.
Begin with by laying on your stomach with your legs together and the tops of your feet against the ground. Then bring your left knee forward so that it appears perpendicular to your other leg. Hold this position for up to ten breaths before switching sides.
5. Low Lunge With Backbend
Yoga for back pain poses sometimes only hit specific areas of the back or nearby muscle groups. This position, however, works out and stretches the entire back.
To perform this pose, begin in a low position as if you were going to perform a lunge. With your front knee raised, and the back knee resting on the ground, raise your arms up above your shoulders and head.
After your arms have reached past your ears, gently lean back. Hold the position for about five breaths before switching the position of your legs and repeating.
6. Cat and Cow Pose
Yoga for back pain poses sometimes require a warm up, and this pose is just that.
This pose is great for stretching a sore back as it helps to loosen up the muscles of and surrounding the spine. With practice, this pose helps keep the entire back limber.
The pose begins on the hands and knees with a straight back (also known as the table top position). With your arms straight and below your shoulders, look up while breathing in and arching your back downward.
Then, as you exhale, drop your belly so your back begins to curve downward as your neck extends upward.
Alternating between these two positions works to ease tight muscles while shifting the spine toward a neutral posture.
7. Child's Pose
This simple yoga for back pain pose provides a great way to stretch the spine.
It takes pressure away from the lower back and works to lengthen the spine while also ensuring it's in proper alignment.
To perform this pose, kneel down and sit back so your buttocks approach your heels. Keep your arms loose, but extend them straight ahead while leaning forward. Hold this position for up to ten breaths before returning to the starting position and repeating.
8. Upward Forward Bend
This pose is also sometimes referred to as the "forward fold," and is a great yoga for back pain position.
The upward forward bend works much like how trying to touch your toes stretches your hamstrings and back muscles. Stretching these muscle groups relieves tension from the lower back, making it effective for pain management.
To begin, stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your knees from becoming locked and start leaning forward as you begin to exhale. Bend down at the waist and try reaching for the floor.
Don't over exert yourself, though. Repeat this position several times, taking up to ten breaths with each session.
9. Downward Facing Dog
The downward facing dog pose is a classic position. It targets the large muscle groups that your lower back consists of, which makes it a great yoga for back pain pose.
These muscles provide support for the lower back, and this pose helps to lengthen, as well as strengthen, these major muscles. It also helps to stretch and decompress the spine.
To perform the pose, begin on both your hands and knees. Your hands should be in front of your shoulders. From there, raise your knees up from the floor and raise your hips upward until you make a pyramid shape.
Hold the position while breathing in and out up to ten times.
10. Upward Facing Dog
This yoga for back pain pose is much like the Sphinx pose detailed above. It works to stretch your abdominal muscles, but it also contracts and uses the back muscles.
Just like you would enter a Sphinx pose, begin lying flat on the floor. But this time, you'll want your palms to face down on the floor.
With the tops of your feet pressed to the floor, bring your legs together and begin to lift yourself off the floor using the muscles in your back rather than your arms. Hold this position for up to ten breaths, and repeat as you are able.
With a bit of practice, you can create your own yoga routine and incorporate it into your other exercises. It doesn't have to take up much time, even fifteen minutes every other day can help your start feeling better.
By practicing yoga more frequently, your back will become stronger and more flexible. As a result, it will be less prone to injury, as well as regular aches and pains.
Have you used yoga to help fight against back pain? We'd love to hear your story! Share your experience with us in the comment section below.