What Can Cause A Tight Lower Back
Sports injuries, overtraining, and accidents can cause your back to feel tight. Even everyday activities such as sitting can cause tightness.
Often you develop tightness in the lower back to compensate for an issue in another part of the body. Tight hamstrings and gluteus muscles can also contribute to this tightness. Having poor posture or using incorrect form while lifting weights or having weak core muscles can also play a part.
There are several other factors that can lead to or complicate a tight lower back. These include:
- sprains and strains
Youll typically see improvements within two to six weeks of doing daily exercises. You should see a doctor if:
- your pain doesnt improve within a few weeks
- you have intense pain while doing the exercises
- the pain spreads to your legs
Also see a doctor if you experience any numbness, swelling, or severe pain. Your doctor can help to determine if any pain or tightness is being caused by an underlying condition.
There are many lifestyle changes you can practice to help prevent lower back pain. Here are a few guidelines and tips:
- Adopt a balanced, healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Do Hydrate Then Hydrate Some More
Drink water, not sports drinks, says Amy C. Sedgwick, an emergency medicine doctor and Yoga Medicine;certified yoga instructor in Portland, Maine. We want to help increase our blood volume so this fluid can be distributed more easily to the tissues to allow transfer of nutrition, healing cells and flushing out metabolic waste. Hydration is the way that happens.
Beginner Friendly Yoga Poses To Relieve Back Pain And Strengthen Your Back
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According to the American;Chiropractic Association, it is;estimated that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.;Low back pain in particular is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.
These alarming numbers speak to the importance of taking care of you back now, before it sidelines your life. Apart from maintaining a healthy diet and weight, regular exercise, and practicing proper posture, yoga can be an extremely effective tool for preventing and mitigating back pain. This ancient practice is also known for strengthening your back, which goes hand in hand with prevention of back issues.
One study published on NCBI concludes the efficacy of yoga for relieving back pain:
Yoga appears as effective as other non-pharmacologic treatments in reducing the functional disability of back pain. It appears to be more effective in reducing pain severity or bothersomeness of CLBP when compared to usual care or no care.
In this post we consulted with Josie, our friend and certified yoga instructor, to come up with 10 beginner friendly yoga poses that target your back- both to relieve your back tension and pain, and to strengthen the muscles in that area. Practice these poses often, whether next to your desk at the office, or at the comfort of your own home.
As always, if you already suffer from back problems, consult with your doctor first on whether its safe to practice yoga .
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Yoga Poses That Are Hardest On Your Spine + Tips On How To Stay Safe
Scientist and Yoga Instructor
Yoga for every body, every day, every way. View more
Many of us practice yoga to stretch out our backs and make sure were pain and tension-freeand yoga is a great way to do this. It can keep your back healthy, happy, and as bendy as possible. However, it can be very easy to injure your back if youre practicing poses incorrectly or holding poses with poor form.
Read our list of quick tips below on the three kinds of yoga poses that are hardest on your spine and can give your back the most trouble, as well as how to correct them to make sure you keep your spine safe during your practice.
Is It Safe To Practice Yoga If You Have Knee Issues
Generally speaking, yesit is safe to practice, says Olivia Zurcher, a 200 RYT yoga instructor in Des Moines who had two ACL repairs after sustaining injuries while participating in collegiate cheerleading. However, it is critical to listen to your body, whether you are practicing at home or with an experienced teacher. If you are practicing at a studio with an instructor, inform your instructor about your injury, past or present. This is key to keeping yourself safe. This information also impacts the verbal cues and potential assists your teacher provides for class, she adds.
Our experienced trainers will keep you safe through your yoga workouts. Learn more here.
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Yoga Poses That Can Make Your Back Pain Worse
Yoga is often thought of as a restorative practice, since many poses are gentle and focus on stretching and flexibility. And plenty of people, including some athletes, even use it to help them recover from an injury, as the slower pace of yoga helps them ease back into movement. The flip side: Yoga also has the potential to cause injuries or worsen themespecially if you already have back problems.
“If you have impingement issues or any kind of structural imbalance, you’ll want to let your instructor know ahead of time,” says Angel DeSantis, instructor at CorePower Yoga in Austin, TX. While people with back pain can certainly practice yoga, there are several poses they ought to avoid or modify to make them safer. Here are six to watch out for.
If you have a hard time transferring weight or you have an issue with bulging disks in your lower back, stay away from any type of twist. “Twists can put too much pressure on the disks,” says celebrity yoga instructor;Kristin McGee. “People tend to over-muscle themselves into it instead of using their abdominals to lead the movement, which can result in serious injury.”;
Why Use Yoga For Bad Knees
Yoga is a gentle exercise that is for everyone and anyone, the different poses, and modifications of the poses are great for individuals who are just starting out with yoga or who have suffered injuries.
Avoiding exercise when you are injured is not always the best approach because it could slow the recovery process down due to your body no longer being in motion.
Yoga is a great alternative if you are used to intense exercises but need to slow down for a while until you are done recovering.
The spiritual, physical, mental and emotional benefits that yoga brings is another reason why yoga is excellent for bad knees or injuries because your mindset will soon change with consistent practice.
It is important to be patient with yourself and to always listen to your body while doing yoga. If something hurts while in a certain pose then come out the pose immediately.
Yoga is not intended to cause further injury but to help heal current injuries.
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Yoga For Back Problems
Yoga is an ancient practice developed in India almost 4,000 years ago. In the last decade yoga has become increasingly popular in the west, and currently, about 15 million people in the United States do yoga.
Generally in the US, yoga classes consist of a combination of physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga has been used for thousands of years to promote health and prevent disease, and many people with back problems have found yoga to provide several benefits, including:
- Relieving pain
- Increasing strength and flexibility
- Teaching relaxation and acceptance
In recent years, researchers have become interested in studying the effects of yoga on treating disease, and studies are encouraging that yoga can be a useful part of the treatment plan for many medical conditions as varied as heart disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, epilepsy, asthma, addiction, and many neck and back problems.
Dont Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
But It May Depend On The Injury
Lyndsay Hirst, a physiotherapist who teaches clinical yoga and pilates, notes that ones physical ability depends on the type of knee problem. If someone has a meniscal tear , they might find it uncomfortable to fully bend the knee, so positions such as sitting back into childs pose might be difficult, she explains.
Those suffering from general degeneration due to wear and tear, or arthritis, can use yoga as a way to stretch their joints. Hirst says this wont lead to any harm or danger. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but will get easier over time. One of the best parts of yoga is the fact that it can be customized to any person. And that means anyone dealing with an injury can modify it to fit their needs.
There are floor sequences that will keep your knees safe, and, of course, arm balances and inversions give you plenty of yoga with no risk to your knees, shares yoga instructor Shana Meyerson. When it comes to leg-intensive postures, you can still practice as long as you are incredibly conscientious about your movement. All yoga requires that you are extraordinarily mindful as you practice. So, in a way, injuries bring you deeper into your practice, as they make you more aware and in-tune, she says.
Proper Form Is Especially Important For People With Back Pain
The main issue with yoga-related back injuries is that people dont follow proper form and speed, says Dr. Lauren Elson, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They quickly drop into a yoga pose without gradually lengthening into it.”
This is similar to jerking your body while lifting a dumbbell and doing fast reps instead of making a slow, controlled movement, or running on a treadmill at top speed without steadily increasing the tempo. The result is a greater chance of injury.
In yoga, you should use your muscles to first create a solid foundation for movement, and then follow proper form that slowly lengthens and stretches your body. For example, when I perform my seated twist, I have to remember that the point of the pose is not to rotate as fast and far as possible. Instead, I need to activate my core muscles and feel as though my spine is lengthening. Then I can twist slowly until I feel resistance, and hold for as long as its comfortable and the tension melts away.
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How Yoga Can Help Reduce Back Pain
Yoga is a very popular and safe form of exercise. Many people think of yoga as just a good way to relieve stress and tension, but it can also help you reduce back pain and maintain a healthy spine. Yoga poses, called asanas, are important because they help stretch and strengthen important back muscles.
Although there’s more to yoga than the posturesbreath control and meditation are just as essential as poses are in yogathis article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can prevent back pain.
This article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can help prevent back pain. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
Yoga Poses To Avoid If You Have Bad Knees
Although yoga is great for injured and non-injured individuals, some poses should be modified if you have and knees or a knee injury. Childs Pose, Hero Pose, One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, Yogi Squat and Bound Angle Pose should all be modified for bad knees because of the strain that is put on your knees.
You dont want to cause future injuries. Luckily with each yoga poses there is, a modification exists. These poses can still be done if you have bad knees, just be sure to do the modified versions.
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Cat And Cow Pose Loosen The Back And Warm You Up
The perfect poses for an achy, sore back, Cow and Cat stretches loosen your back muscles, whether as part of a yoga routine or as a warm-up for another workout.
Try it: Starting in an all-fours position, move into Cat pose by slowly pressing your spine up and arching your back. Hold for a few seconds and then move to Cow by scooping your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades back and lifting your head. Moving back and forth from Cat to Cow helps move your spine onto a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension.
Repeat 10 times, flowing smoothly from Cat into Cow, and Cow back into Cat. Repeat the sequence as needed.
How Do I Know If Yoga Is Okay For My Knee
The bottom line is this: if it hurts, dont do it, says Meyerson. With any injury, you have to be smart about keeping yourself safe. If a posture feels intuitively wrong, get out. No pose is worth risking deeper, long-term, or even permanent injury. Avoid or adjust anything that sends sharp pain or feels like it is straining your knee in an excessive manner, she suggests.
With any injury, always talk to your provider before any physical activity, says Zurcher. If there is any pain at all, the yoga pose is not for you today. This does not mean youll never do the pose again. Pay attention. Listen to how your body is feeling each day and adjust accordingly. Also, try out other parts of yoga, like meditation and breathwork.
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To Help Zurcher Offers Knee Modification Options For A Few Common Yoga Poses:
- Warrior II poseto triangle pose: When transitioning from warrior II pose, which has a flexed knee joint, to triangle pose, which has an extended knee joint, activate your leg muscles, specifically your quadriceps, to avoid hyperextension.
- Half pigeonpose: The gravitational weight of your body in this posture puts pressure in your knee joint. Some days it may be fine. Other days skip it. Take a reclined figure four pose to allow more control over how much sensation youll feel in your joint. Additionally, flex your toes towards your shins to keep the muscles around your knees activated and prevent injury.
- Childs pose: Your knee is in extreme flexion in this pose and can be irritatedespecially when the posture is held for a long duration. Place a block or bolster underneath your body, or transition to supported heros pose or a comfortable seat.
Other Poses Worth Modifying For Anyone With Knee Issues:
- Half Frog pose: Meyerson says any pose can be made accessible with proper alignment, instruction and modification. But some deep knee postures, like this one, should be approached with extreme caution and moderation, using props when necessary.
- Deep Side Lunge pose: Skandasana is traditionally cued to bend deeply in your knee joint, so your seat rests on your lifted heel, states Zurcher. If youve got a knee injury, limit the range of motion to 90 degrees or greater when practicing this pose. This will look more like a side lunge. Note: this variation requires more strength to hold!
- Toestand pose: Instead of trying to lower your seat toward your heel in this pose, Zurcher recommends focuses on the balancing element of this pose, which requires additional strength and focus, and will help avoid knee irritation.
- Lotus pose: This pose requires deep external hip rotation and can cause pain in the knee joint, especially the lateral collateral ligament , if forced or not enough flexibility in the hips and knees, says Zurcher. Half lotus is a great substitute, but I like baddha konasana or . With or without a block under your bent knee, these seated poses require external rotation. But dont put pressure on the knee joint.
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Thread The Needle Pose
This pose is known to loosen the upper back muscles. It deeply stretches out the sides of the body; youll definitely feel it as you thread the needle.