If You Experience Lower Back Pain Your Hips Could Be The Cause Of It These 10 Poses Will Help Strengthen All The Right Muscles To Fix Pain At The Source
Weak hip muscles are often the hidden cause of lower back pain. Sitting for prolonged periods of time is particularly damaging, as it shortens and tightens the hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves while weakening our abdominals, back muscles, outer hips, and glutes. Over time, the effect of this muscular imbalance leads to an anterior pelvic tilt – meaning lower back and hip pain.
To combat this problem, start by making it a habit to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. Then, incorporate this yoga program into your daily routine. It’ll help strengthen your hips, which is beneficial in combatting lower back pain.
Yoga For Lower Back Pain: A Beginner’s Guide To Easing Back Pain With Stretching
Some of the best exercises for your body include a combination of cardiovascular, strength, and stretching routines. A mixture of activities will help you to increase your heart rate, all while strengthening your muscles and improving your sense of well-being.
Yoga for lower back pain is one of your all-inclusive options—and it is also among the most popular workouts today. While it is beloved among men and women of all ages for its wellness benefits, it has been around for thousands of years. Rooted in India, yoga is well-known around the globe for offering people a low-impact physical activity and a newfound inner peace.
If you are interested in yoga for back pain, keep reading this guide. We will explain exactly how certain stretches can help to improve your symptoms and keep you active. You will also discover the types of philosophies and poses that can help to protect your back and body while enhancing your health.
There Are Various Elements Which Can Explain The Statements Above
- First of all, yoga exercises strengthen the back muscles and the abdominal muscles. Both of those muscle groups are essential for keeping a proper and straight body posture and for movement of the body. By strengthening those muscles and increasing their control and awareness, back pain can be significantly reduced or avoided.
- Secondly, besides strengthening, yoga exercises also stretch the muscles and allow them to relax. People with lower back pain can benefit a lot from stretching not only the back muscles, but the entire body. By stretching the hamstring muscles for example, the motion of the pelvis expands and tension and stress in the lower back is reduced.
- Finally, yoga exercises stimulate blood flow throughout the body, allowing nutrients to be carried through the body and toxins to be removed from the body. As a result, overall nourishment of the lumbar muscles and soft tissues is improved.
An Upward Forward Bend Releases Tight Hamstring And Back Muscles
Sometimes called a forward fold, the upward forward bend stretches the hamstrings and back muscles while providing a release for tight, tense shoulders.
Try it: Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and your knees loose, not locked. While you exhale, hinge at your waist and bend forward, reaching toward the floor. Don’t worry if you can’t reach all the way to the floor at first; just stop wherever your hamstrings feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat the pose five to seven times. On the last bend hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths.
Low To Moderate Evidence Suggests That Yoga Helps With Back Pain
Because the trials were not blinded and were based on self-assessment and self-reporting, Cochrane researchers considered the risk of bias to be high. They therefore reduced the level of certainty in the outcomes to “moderate” in order to account for the potential bias, and reduced it even further for studies wherein results were imprecise or conflicting.
Overall, the reviewers found that yoga may improve back function and reduce lower back pain in the first 6-12 months.
However, they found the improvement to be relatively small and, in fact, the reviewers point out that the effect is not large enough to be considered clinically significant.
The review determined with “low to moderate certainty” that yoga improves back-related function when compared with no-exercise control groups. Therefore, it remains unknown whether there is any difference between yoga and other back-focused exercise.
In terms of harm, yoga was found to worsen the back pain for 5 percent of the participants, but it was not associated with serious adverse effects.
The authors mention that larger scale studies with a longer follow-up period would be needed to assess the long-term health effects of yoga.
“The yoga exercises practised in the studies were developed for low back pain and people should also remember that in each of the studies we reviewed, the yoga classes were led by experienced practitioners,” adds Wieland.
Proper Form Is Especially Important For People With Back Pain
The main issue with yoga-related back injuries is that people don’t 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 it’s comfortable and the tension melts away.
Does Yoga Help Back Pain Simple Examples You Can Do At Home
Does yoga help back pain? This is a question I hear a lot. Today, I will discuss the benefits of yoga for all you back pain sufferers out there . There’s many options including the Chirp Wheel, inversion tables, yoga and more. If you struggle with back pain, yoga might be just what you need to get the drug free pain relief you are looking for.
**Pssst…At the end of this post, I will give you a link to some simple yoga poses you can do at home.
I have been dealing with back problems for many years, and it wasn’t until somewhat recently that I started to understand how yoga can help. My issues are mostly on the right side of my body. When I get sciatic nerve pain, it runs down my right leg, even into my toes.
I have had several back injuries over the years, and, unfortunately, I sit a lot during the day, which is an excellent recipe for tight hips. The muscles on the side of my hips, including the gluteus medius and piriformis, are very tight. These muscles on the outer hip can pull on your pelvis and affect spinal alignment.
I actually had a chiropractor tell me that he had never seen anyone with glute medius muscles as tight as mine. YIKES!
How Can We Avoid Lower Back Pain While Working From Home
You’ve no doubt played musical chairs in your house several times a day so far, moving from the sofa to the bed, over to the kitchen stool and the dining room chairs to find a comfortable sitting position to do your work to no avail.
However with a lack of access to ergonomic office chairs to provide support and relief for our muscles and joints, many of us are experiencing pain in our lower backs from being hunched over at our laptops or sat at the wrong height to complete our work.
As a result, several of our yoga experts have suggested exercises to help loosen up our joints and keep our core and back muscles strong.
They all agree that it is essential to get up from your chair and move around frequently.
‘If possible move your desktop around. I go from the floor, to a bolster, to a chair to standing,’ suggests yoga teacher and movement coach Kim Hartwell. ‘Often we get pain in the lower back as a result of tight hips and hamstrings. It’s more often than not that these muscles are actually weak too, so the best thing we can do is strengthening exercises like squats, lunges, bridges rather than stretching alone stretching.’
Meanwhile, yoga teacher Georgia Wood advises workers to ‘come into a child’s pose with wide knees and practice some cat, cows’ to break up your working positions.
While many people believed that doing backbends will ease lower back pain, yoga teacher Lydiana Abbott says that, in her experience, it can actually exacerbate issues.
Triangle Pose Lengthens Torso Muscles To Build Strength
Triangle pose is great for strengthening the back and legs and can help lengthen your muscles along the sides of your torso while stretching the muscle fibers along your outer hip .
Try it: Start standing straight with your feet together. Next, lunge your left foot back three to four feet, and point your left foot out at a 45-degree angle. Turn your chest to the side and open up the pose by stretching your right arm toward the ground and the left arm toward the ceiling, keeping both your right and left legs straight. You may not be able to touch the ground with your right arm at first, so don’t overstretch — only bend as far as you can while maintaining a straight back. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch to the other side, and repeat as needed.
These Poses Could Make You Put Down The Pain Relievers
Achy back? Give yoga a go. Numerous studies have shown the power of the ancient practice, which emphasizes stretching, strength, and flexibility, to relieve back soreness and improve function.
According to research published in July 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga may even help reduce the need for pain medication. At the start of the three-month study, in which one group was assigned to physical therapy for their back pain, a second to yoga, and a third to reading about pain management strategies, 70 percent of the subjects were taking medication. By the end, however, while the number of people taking medication in the reading group stayed the same, only 50 percent of the yoga and physical therapy subjects were still taking it.
Researchers are also starting to discover how yoga’s effects on the brain may contribute to decreased pain. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in May 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, scientists found that there were significant differences between the brains of those with chronic pain and the brains of regular yoga practitioners. Those with chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain, but those who did yoga had more — which suggests that yoga may be not just physically but neurologically protective.
What Yoga Exercises Can We Do To Ease Lower Back Pain
Spinal twists and glute strengthening exercises like lunges, squats and bridges are great to alleviate joint and muscle pain, but there are specific yoga-inspired moves that can aid pain relief more specifically.
Here is a list of exercise to try:
- Abbott suggests: ‘Create an upside-down V shape with body, with hands and feet on the ground.
- ‘Have a microbend in the legs and stick your bum up to the ceiling. The intention is to create more space for the spine to lengthen and a safer stretch for the hamstrings.’
Half Dog Pose
- ‘Bring your knees to the ground and have your hips lined up on top of them,’ Abbott explains.
- ‘Bring your hands forwards and the forehead might come to touch the ground in between the arms. Similar benefits to downward dog, and it’s easier on the hands, arms and shoulders.’
- Wood suggests this is a great exercise to get some movement in your spine and a release for the lower back.
- To do this, she advises: ‘Come to hands and knees.
- Inhale and lift your tailbone and the crown of your head, looking to the ceiling – arching the spine.
- Exhale and drop your head and tailbone, pushing up into your mid-back – rounding the spine.
- Repeat 10 times, moving with your breath.
Child’s Pose Elongates Your Back And Relieves Stress
It may look like you’re resting, but Child’s pose is an active stretch that helps elongate the back. It’s also a great de-stressor before bed at the end of a long, exhausting day.
Try it: Start on all fours with your arms stretched out straight in front of you, then sit back so your glutes come to rest just above — but not touching — your heels. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat as many times as needed for a good, soothing stretch.
The Long Answer Is: It Can Be A Lot More Complicated
Everybody’s pain is different. It’s important to respond to low back pain with a very targeted approach. Why? There can be multiple reasons behind low back pain. For some, the problem is decreased mobility in the hips. For others, the issue may be decreased lower abdominal strength. I like yoga because it promotes general movement.
But it isn’t a targeted solution. I can’t guarantee that a one-size-fits-all yoga class is the right solution for YOUR pain.
With that being said, Physical Therapists often incorporate similar exercises/stretches performed during yoga for the treatment of low back pain. If you’re interested in how physical therapy can help, you can learn more here.
What Is The Preferred Way To Sit To Alleviate Pain
There is no ‘correct’ way to sit, other than the one that feels most comfortable for you. Some people may prefer to work at a desk and sit upright, while others may prefer to lie in bed for ultimate comfort and relaxation.
However, according to Osborn-Jenkins, if you really want to reduce your lower back pain, ‘any change of position should give you some relief’.
‘If you are working from a laptop you may find it more comfortable working at a table, so you can see your monitor with more ease and comfort,’ she says.
‘A chair that provides some support for your lower back and your screen near eye level is best. Many people get back pain while trying to sit in a “good posture” because their muscles have to work very hard to keep them upright. It is ok to slump as your back is designed to bend, but just like any part of your body, it will not thank you to stay there all day.’
Using yoga to reduce pain, Hartwell suggests lying down on your front to release the hips or sitting on a block or book to have better posture.
Build Your Yoga For Lower Back Pain Routine Safely
Even if the practice of yoga is ancient, research on the benefits of yoga for lower back pain is still in its infancy. Because of this, it is important to begin your practice under the supervision of your doctor and with a qualified yoga teacher.
Yoga teachers are not regulated in the U.S., but teachers registered with the Yoga Alliance as either RYT-200 or RYT-500 have met a standard set of rigorous training guidelines. An “E” indicates that they are experienced teachers, and most Yoga Alliance-certified teachers also list any specialties they may hold .
Start slowly, and again, listen to your body. Some soreness after activity is to be expected with any new exercise program, but sharp, stabbing or shooting pain is an indication that something is not right. Approaching yoga for lower back pain in a gentle, restorative way can help you learn to find relief from pain while improving your flexibility and stress levels.
You can start with a few poses each day or find a video or online class that guides you through a sequence of yoga for lower back pain. Whichever works best for you depends on your condition and treatment plan, so talk to your doctor before starting.
How Often Should We Be Having Breaks From Sitting
If you wear a fitness tracker and regularly find it buzzing to let you know you need to stand up you’ll know how important it is to break up sitting with regular movement.
Your body is always going to hold itself in the easiest way possible
‘Most people should not sit for more than 30-60 minutes without a break for good back health,’ says Osborn-Jenkins.
‘Although there is not enough evidence to set a time limit on how much people should sit each day, sitting too long can lead to other health concerns . So, find ways to move more and sit less, this could be a timer on your computer as a reminder or making all phone calls standing up.’
The physiotherapist says that just two minutes of activity, such as walking or putting the washing out, can help break up sitting times.
‘Aim to be physically active every day, any activity is better than none and it should be something you enjoy,’ she notes.
‘Per week this should total to 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. You may find that simple back movements like gentle twists lying down, hugging your knees to your chest and gentle backward stretches prepares your back for activity and gives you some relief.’
From a yoga teacher’s perspective, Hartwell suggests sitting in a squat-sit position and opening the hips with stretches like couch stretch, pigeon or lizard to alleviate back pain.
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Minutes Yoga Practice For Lower Back Pain Relief
When teaching this sequence, or any other sequence, to a student with chronic lower back pain, request them to ask their doctor or physical therapist for any advise and contraindications. Once you know which positions or exercises you must avoid and which are highly recommended you can still modify the practice. Generally speaking, a yoga practice for lower back pain relief, should focus on the following key points:
- Lengthening the hip flexors
After completing the warming-up with Surya Namaskara, lie down in Shavasana until your breathing becomes slow and steady again.
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.
The Top 3 Reasons Why I Love To Incorporate Yoga
I love the emphasis on breathing and body awareness. I often use a technique called diaphragmatic breathing for pain relief. Try laying down on your back with your knees bent Place a hand on your belly, and the other hand on your chest. Each time you inhale, the hand on your belly should rise Each time you exhale, the hand on your belly should fall. Try this technique for 5 minutes any time your back starts to “seize up” for relief.
#2 Mental Health
Another reason why I love yoga as a Physical Therapist is the emphasis placed on mental health and wellbeing. Studies have shown a link between chronic low back pain and depression. So….be a little more forgiving to yourself. Yoga is a great way to release all of that stress you’ve been holding on to!
#3 Postural Awareness
I love the emphasis on postural awareness. It is so easy to get into bad postural habits throughout the day…I even catch myself slouching quite a bit! Yoga instructors always seem to comment on alignment and “lengthening” the spine I love the reinforcement!
I wanted to share a couple of my favorite low back pain relief exercises… with a yoga-PT fusion flare!
Yoga-Physical Therapy Fusion
Diaphragmatic breathing: see the explanation above!
Abdominal marching: Draw your belly button in so that you are flattening your low back against the yoga mat. Holding that position, lift your legs into a slow march. Don’t let your spine rotate from side to side….keep your back flat!
Pigeon Pose Relaxes Hips By Stretching Rotators
Pigeon pose, which can be a little challenging for yoga newbies, stretches hip rotators and flexors. It may not seem like the most obvious position to treat a backache, but tight hips can contribute to lower back pain.
Try it: Start in Downward-Facing Dog with your feet together. Then draw your left knee forward and turn it out to the left so your left leg is bent and near perpendicular to your right one; lower both legs to the ground. You can simply keep your back right leg extended straight behind you, or for an added hamstring stretch — seasoned Pigeon posers, only! — carefully pull your back foot off the ground and in toward your back. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch to the other side, and repeat as needed.
Yoga Poses That Will Help You Avoid Back Injury
There are many ways to cause back injury, especially in the lower back. Back injuries and pain can have a myriad of causes, such as a weak core due to lack of exercise, sitting for long periods with poor posture, even strain from too much exercise. However, with yoga, you can exercise and strengthen your core, alleviate pain from a back injury, improve posture, and more. The only drawback? Yoga has the potential to damage your back, defeating the purpose of practicing it in the first place. Fortunately, with this guide, you’ll know which poses are best for your back and which should be avoided so you can practice without back injury.
Tips for Protecting Yourself from Back Injury
Before getting into which yoga poses are good and bad for the safety of your back, it’s important to understand why yoga can cause back injury, and how to avoid that. Yoga can be a very efficient tool for soothing back pain because it stretches and strengthens muscles that provide support to the back and spine, but only if practiced properly.
Move Slowly and Steadily
Set a Foundation
Remember that pain in a stretch is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. If this happens, slowly ease up on the stretch to avoid causing a back injury.
Yoga Poses to Avoid
However, if you plan on attempting this pose, the following tips may help you stay safe.
Tips for staying as possible while practicing backbends include the following.
Here’s What Dara Had To Say About His Practice:
?I was feeling frustrated with practice and after month’s of lower back pain, I was showing no signs of improvement. After a chat with Lauren, we began working together to create a series of postures to decrease my pain and increase mobility in my lower back. I’m excited that I’m showing improvement and am finally able to enjoy my practice again.?