Yoga for Back Pain
Yoga for Back Pain
Dealing with back pain? Well, yoga for back pain is a great alternative to help you relieve the pain. Read on for exciting yoga poses you can use for the pain.

Uh oh.

The twinge is back. The dreaded kink that makes simple everyday activities like getting out of bed or tieing your shoes a task to be dreaded.

Back pain affects almost everyone at some point or another. In fact, it's the single leading cause of adult disability worldwide. It's no secret that our spine goes through a rebellious streak every now and again.

For some, it's a chronic issue that can drastically reduce one's quality of life. Back pain, however, can be managed, and some of it is easy to do every day on your living room floor.

To start, you need a yoga mat and a designated quiet space to practice.

If you need professional guidance on yoga for back pain, check out these tips on choosing the suitable yoga class for your needs.

As with any injury, you should consult a medical professional to rule out more serious causes.

1. Downward Dog

Yoga for back pain has been around for centuries for a reason. Well-Rounded yoga practice is ideal for helping keep your mind and body holistically in balance. However, if you're short on time or resources, there are a few targeted poses for back pain.

Yoga also has several health benefits, from stress reduction to weight loss and increased flexibility. The human body is complex, and when one area is tight, it can cause a ripple effect, especially the spine, through other areas of your body.

Some people are surprised to learn that it's actually their tight hamstrings causing them severe back pain and mobility issues. In fact, hamstrings don't just run down the backs of your legs; they connect to your lower back and sit bones.

When your hamstrings are out of balance, your lower back will likely be out of balance too. To lengthen and strengthen hamstrings, try downward facing the dog.

  • How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width. Slowly raise your tailbone towards the ceiling and extend both your arms. Once in position, gently push your heels to the floor and your legs as straight as comfortable. This will stretch your low back and hamstrings simultaneously.

2. Bridge Pose

This restorative and calming pose lengthens and aligns the spine. It can be done quickly at home in just a few minutes. If your neck or head is bothering you from the floor, a folded blanket or flat pillow can be added to ensure you're comfortable.
  • How to do it: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Bend your knees to place your feet flat on the floor and as close to your tailbone as is comfortable.
Exhale and press your feet and arms into the floor while raising your torso towards the ceiling. Keep your head and shoulders flat on the floor. Clasp your hands below your pelvis and activate your gluteal muscles.

You can stay here anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. When you release, roll your spine gently back down to the floor.

3. Child's Pose

Perhaps the most relaxing yoga pose of them all, the child's pose is delightfully easy and surprisingly restorative to the mind and body. Frequently used as a rest pose, it gently elongates your lower back.
  • How to do it: Start on all fours and then sit back on your calves. Extend your arms out in front of you and lay your forehead on the floor. Take deep, full breaths while reaching further in front of you to stretch your spine. You can hang out here for as long as it feels good.

4. Pigeon Pose

This pose can be more intense but is very good at stretching your hip flexors and alleviating lower back pain caused by tight hips.
  • How to do it: Start in Downward Dog, and then pull one knee forward and turn it out to the side so that your leg is bent and near perpendicular to the opposite side. Lower yourself to the ground and lean forward over your knee.
Hold for 5-10 breaths before switching sides.

5. Cat-Cow

You learned this yoga pose in elementary school - because it's super easy and fun! This pose helps retain flexibility in your middle spine.
  • How to do it: Start on all fours with a neutral spine and neck. Slowly exhale, drop your back towards the floor, and raise your head to look at the ceiling (picture a cow!).
Focus on noting and relieving tension while doing this pose. On the exhale, draw your belly button inwards, round your back like a Halloween cat, and look down at your navel. Repeat for at least 1 minute.

6. Sphinx Pose

This pose is another easy one for beginners that stretches your abdomen while strengthening your low back and glute. Picture the Egyptian Sphinx, and you've got an idea of this pose.
  • How to do it: Lie on your stomach and engage your buttock, low back, and leg muscles. Bring your elbows under your shoulder with your palms on the floor and slowly raise yourself up, looking straight ahead.
Make sure you aren't stretching only your lower back and not stretching too far. Stay in this post for up to 5 minutes.

7. Locust Pose

This one is not for beginners, as it can be more intense. That being said, it's a perfect way to strengthen the back muscles to support the spine in your daily life.
  • How to do it: Lie on your stomach like the sphinx pose, but with your arms down to your sides and palms facing the ceiling. Slowly lift your head off the floor, followed by your feet and legs. You may bring your hands together behind your back or leave them as is.
If this is too intense, focus only on raising your head and chest. Make sure to rest in between this pose.

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A Final Note On Yoga For Back Pain

It's advisable to avoid jumping into a yoga regimen for back pain if you have specific, more severe back injuries, such as a spinal fracture or a herniated (slipped) disc.

However, suppose your injury is minor, or your healthcare provider has given the ok. In that case, yoga can be a great tool in treating recurring back pain and strengthening the spine and back muscles to prevent future injuries.

Happy stretching!