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.
How To Move Into Standing Forward Fold:
Start in a standing position with your feet hips-width distance apart. Inhale, then exhale and bend at your hips. Keep your back straight and pull your hips back as you fold, then, relax your upper body toward the floor. Hold onto opposite elbows and relax your neck. Keep your knees soft or slightly bent. Hold for 5 to 10 full rounds of breath.
How Yoga Helps The Back
Yoga is one of the more effective exercises to help reduce back pain. This pain relief alternative helps to stretch and strengthen muscles that support the back and spine as well as the abdominal muscles. Neglecting to use your core while sitting for prolonged periods can put extra pressure on your lower back. The abdominal muscles help the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided.
Many yoga poses help remove the pressure off your back by aligning and elongating your spine, allowing you to stretch comfortably. Individuals are instructed to hold yoga poses anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds. Within the pose, certain muscles flex, while others stretch, promoting relaxation and flexibility in muscles and joints. Another benefit to practicing yoga is that the movements can also help increase blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in and toxins to flow out.
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Standing Forward Bend Pose
Why Yoga For Back Pain Relief Works
Scientifically speaking, theres still a lot of research to be done about why some people experience back pain relief when undertaking a regular yoga practice. Some studies show that yoga has no discernable physical impact on the actual sites of pain.
And yet, study after study shows that the perception of pain decreases when people practice yoga, and often more than people who practice other sports, educate themselves on their condition, and do nothing at all.
It seems that yoga is magic! Theres minimal quantifiable evidence of what changes, but participants express that something does significantly change for the better. Why? How?
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Should I Do Yoga With Lower Back Pain
The answer: you should do whatever feels best in your body. Yoga has been proven to decrease back pain. It relaxes the mind, teaches resiliency, and mobilizes stiff joints. Whether you practice alone or with a guide, yoga for back pain might help you feel more connected with and comfortable in your spine. Remember: if youre at all unsure of your health or have any pre-existing conditions, the first step to a new practice is to consult your doctor or physical therapist about the best types of movement for you.
About the Authors
Angélique Poulain is a Yoga Coach with a background in Yoga Therapy and Pilates. Her holistic approach always focuses on alignment, injuries, and support. You can find her on Instagram: Angeli.que_Poulain and on her website: www.YogaRebel.de. Take yoga classes with Angelique on the adidas Training app!
Emily Stewart is a freelance writer at Runtastic. Shes a 200-Hour and nearly 500-Hour certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor. She is also a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor. Shes taught in the USA, England, Malta and is currently teaching yoga in Austria. Shes attended and hosted yoga retreats around the world. She spent 6 months studying abroad in India, where she attended an inner-city Sivananda Vedanta Yoga ashram at least twice weekly. She also spent three days at their forest ashram in Tamil Nadu, India. She has served as a Mentor and Teacher Trainee with The Kaivalya Yoga Method Teacher Training.
The Power Of Yoga To Treat Back Pain
While severe back pain due to a recent injury should always be examined by a doctor, chronic and moderate-level back pain can often be assisted with the power of yoga. Yoga naturally helps strengthen and lengthen your spine, stretch your muscles, and fix your backs alignment, which can often be at the root cause of persistent back pain for those of us who sit at a desk all day.
In fact, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, chronic back pain sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis were half as likely to need pain pills or over-the-counter treatments for their pain as non-yogis. There are specific yoga poses that help to alleviate back pain more than others, and they have been outlined below. Do the following pain-relieving yoga sequence two to three times a week to start feeling back pain relief.
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The Goal Of Yoga Poses
The goal of yoga poses isn’t about bending and forcing your body into certain positionsthat could actually cause more back pain. Instead, yoga poses teach you proper alignment, such as how to maintain good posture. You may also become more flexible and be better able to maintain your balance.
When you do yoga posesyou can do them standing, sitting, and lying downyou should feel comfortable in them. But before getting to the more advanced poses, you have to practice the easier versions of the poses.
Think about it: If you’ve never trained for a marathon before, you wouldn’t just force your body into running 26.2 miles, would you? Why would you want to force your body into certain yoga poses if your body’s not ready for them?
Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose
This twist stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips.
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The Psychology Of Pain
Even the most athletic or anatomy-focused yoga classes usually feature small bits of philosophy: the interconnectedness of people, the bridging of mind and body, and the importance of self-reflection. Effective chronic pain interventions usually feature education on pain and self-management. They influence beliefs, help end catastrophic thoughts, encourage honesty around fear, and help those in pain pursue self-efficacy. Yoga naturally integrates these ideas into practice, which is why so many doctors recommend yoga for back pain relief.
Yoga Poses To Try At Home
Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any new yoga program to identify any possible risks. Consistent practice will result in improved posture, increased balance, and proper alignment of the head, shoulders and pelvis. You may notice that your back muscles feel more relaxed and flexible the longer you hold the pose. Make sure to continue breathing your muscles need oxygen!
Downward Facing Dog
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Half Lord Of The Fishes
Come on baby, lets do the twist! This twisting position radiates energy into your spine and back. Its also a good stretch for your hips, neck, and shoulders. If youre feeling fatigue, this pose will help alleviate that pain.
When Yoga Doesnt Help
Its important to note that yoga may be dangerous for some participants, like all types of exercise. One study showed that yoga increased lower back pain in some participants after six months of regular practice. However, increased back pain due to yoga was the same risk as other exercises.
The takeaway: listen to your body! The participants in this study were required to continue practicing, no matter what, for scientific investigation. The participants should have been allowed to stop when their pain increased.
You are entitled to stop your practice when it doesnt serve you. And since yoga teaches you to listen to your internal cues, it will tell you when youve had enough.
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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. Dont worry if you cant 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.
How Can I Reduce Lower Back Pain With Yoga
Simply put, the movementsand the isometric, or movement-free, holdsused in yoga can help you build both strength and mobility, both of which play a role in reducing low back pain.
“Yoga is great for working on flexibility and core stability, correcting posture, and breathingall of which are necessary for a healthy back,”Sasha Cyrelson, P.T., D.P.T., O.C.S., clinical director at Professional Physical Therapy in Sicklerville, New Jersey, tells SELF.
She adds that yoga is generally safe to do daily. It’s important, though, to make sure you’re in tune with your body and to stop doing anything that makes any discomfort worse.
“Never stretch into a position of pain, Dr. Cyrelson says. Pain is how our bodies tell us something is wrong. If it actually hurts, ease up on the stretch.” That means you should feel a combination of muscle tension and release, but if theres any pinching, sharp pain, or brief numbness, ease way back on the stretch.
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Why Yoga Is The Best Remedy For Back Pain
- Yoga makes you aware of your body postures and teaches you to sit properly to avoid the consequences of back pain.
- Most of the Asanas help strengthen the abdomen, back muscles and provides support to the spine, which can lower the risk of back pain.
- Regular practice of yoga works on stiff back muscles to increase flexibility, which gives relief from lower and middle back pain.
- Meditation, an integral part of yoga, helps relieve the stress that arises due to back pain.
Here is a compilation of 11 yoga poses to relieve back pain according to experts and some passionate yogis.
Causes Of Upper Back Pain
Claudia Jasper, a yoga teacher based in New York, agrees that one of the most common causes of upper back pain is poor postureand certain daily activities, like texting, typing or carrying a heavy bag, can exasperate your pain. Other causes of upper back pain, according to medical professionals at the University of Michigan, include overusing your back muscles or pressure placed on your spinal nerves from a herniated disc.
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Yoga Poses To Relieve Lower Back Pain
According to the American Chiropractic Association, at any given time, there are over 30 million Americans suffering from low back pain. Thats an incredibly high number! The cause? Americans tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle. This means our days are filled with hours on end of sitting sitting in our cars, hunched over a steering wheel sitting at our desks, hunched over a computer screen and sitting on the couch, hunched over our favorite TV show. Sitting and hunching certainly is not the path to good posture and a healthy spine. Bad posture results in underused or overworked muscles, and the entire spine is compromised as a result. Compound these effects with time and repetition, and youve got a recipe for lower back pain! Enter yoga. Yoga is touted as a natural, holistic path to self-healing. Whats more, yoga has actually been recognized as a legitimate treatment for many of our common ailments, and back pain is definitely on this list! Overall, yoga helps lengthen and strengthen your muscles, and create more space in the entire body. But there are certain poses for certain ailments that work specifically in the area of question to heal and strengthen. There are dozens of yoga poses that help strengthen and support a healthy spine, so weve taken some of our favorite poses and created a short yoga sequence to help with lower back pain.
Tips For Practicing Downward Facing Dog:
Press down firmly into each palm, particularly into your thumb and forefinger.
Spin your shoulder blades out and up to avoid sinking into your shoulders.
Let your head hang freely to remove any tension in your neck.
If your lower back feels rounded, bend your knees deeper.
Focus on lifting your hips up and back rather than on pressing your heels down its completely natural if your heels dont touch the floor.
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So Does Yoga *actually* Help Back Pain
Studies have shown that yoga can in fact be beneficial for back pain.
In a 2017 study, a small group of 320 adults were assessed to see if yoga was as effective as physical therapy for treating chronic lower back pain. Participants in both the yoga and physical therapy classes showed similar improvements in their pain levels.
Another study found practicing yoga decreased pain levels by a small to moderate amount over a short period of time. While this research is helpful to see the benefits of yoga, more research is needed to know exactly how beneficial practicing yoga is for back pain.
Yoga Postures For Back Pain
By Liz Rosenblum | Last updated July 30, 2021
For most of our lives, we take our backs for granted. But at some point in just about everyones life, our backs revolt and remind us that they need love and attention too. Thankfully, for many of us, the pain is only temporary. But for others, it can be much more debilitatingand much more frustrating.
In severe cases, medical attention may be necessary, but if your pain is less severe, yoga may be able to help by strengthening the back, stretching it and improving circulation to the spine and nerves. You can build strength in the lower spine by practicing yoga regularly. Start the free 30 Day Yoga Challenge to get into a good routine and loosen up your back. Here are some yoga postures for back pain.
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