Gentle Yoga for Lower Back Pain and Bad Backs
- by Rana K. Williamson
People who deal with lower back pain, bad backs and other forms of spinal injury face an uncomfortable and potentially disabling condition. The spinal column is a vital part of the body that supports the trunk while protecting the spinal cord and nerves and aiding in posture and fluid movement. It is now a matter of conventional wisdom among back care professionals that yoga exercises for lower back pain problems and other spinal cord-related issued can reduce pain and even heal injuries when executed correctly.
Start Slow After a Proper Evaluation
As a matter of common sense, anyone who suffers from persistent problems with the lower back should be assessed by a back care professional before beginning a program of yoga for lower back relief.
Some positions, including both backward and forward bends and unilateral movements like the Tree Pose of Warrior 3 calling for single-leg balancing can actually worsen back conditions. The same is true of some deep, standing positions.
It is important when selecting a program of yoga for lower back pain to begin at a low level of intensity, increasing the difficulty and duration of the exercise over time with stretches and poses that strengthen the spine and increase its range of motion. If, at any point, a pose causes pain, discontinue or modify the pose.
Yoga Poses for Back Pain
Although it is highly recommended that beginners staring to do gentle yoga for lower back, seek the guidance of a professional instructor before beginning a program of yoga for lower back exercises, some poses that are effective include:
- Corpse Pose: Execute this position flat on your back, relaxed, arms at your side palms down. Try the position with the knees turned outward slightly. If that hurts, modify with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and out and allow all tension in the body to drain away.
- Wind Relieving Pose: This position is also performed flat on the back. As you inhale, bend the knee, placing the hands below the knee cap and drawing the leg toward the chest. Keep the other leg flat. As you exhale, bring the forehead up to touch the knee. Inhale. On the next exhalation return to the original position and repeat the sequent with the opposite leg.
- Sage Twist: Be careful as this position does call for a twisting of the back that can aggravate back pain. Discontinue the use of this pose if you feel discomfort. The intent of this position is a gentle stretch, moving only so far as is comfortable. Sit on the floor, legs to the front, extended. Bend the right knee and lift the right leg over the left placing the right foot on the floor beside the left knee. With the spine straight, put the left elbow on the right side of the right knee. Bend the left arm touching the right hip with the fingertips. At the same time, twist and look over the right shoulder. Hold a few seconds, release, and repeat on the other side.
- Fish Pose: Lying on the back with bent knees and arms at the side, arch the back as far as is comfortable and raise it off the ground by pushing with the elbows. If you can do so without discomfort, tilt the head back and rest the crown of the head on the floor. Breath from the diaphragm and hold the position for a minute if possible.
- Cat Pose: Begin on the hands and knees with the back held flat. Make sure the hand are directly in line under the shoulders with spread fingers and keep the knees under the hips. Hold the head loosely and look at a spot on the floor between your hands. Inhale. With the exhalation, arch the back and tuck the chin toward the chest as if looking at the navel. Tuck the tailbone. Hold for a few seconds before releasing to the original position.
Other yoga postures that can help strengthen the back and increase its flexibility include:
- Single Leg Raises
- Triangle Pose
- Double Leg Raises
- Half Spinal Twist
Additionally, an excellent reference book is "Relief is in the Stretch: End Lower Back Pain Through Yoga" by Loren M. Fishman.
Yoga exercises for low back pains has proven to be both a curative and a preventive regimen for back care. Even if you do not suffer from lower back pain at this time, remember that the condition is more prevalent in women than in men and often comes on in middle age. By incorporating back strengthening yoga poses into your health care and exercise routine now, you should be able to avoid or greatly lessen the extent to which you must deal with lower back issues in the future.