Can Yoga Help Back Pain?
From interrupting your everyday activities to enhancing your stress and anxiety, back pain can throw a monkey wrench in your life. Having to deal with consistent pain can begin to affect your mobility and your mental state very easily. For those that have chronic back pain, finding something that can help relieve it is a necessity. There are many ways to go about this, and one of them could very well be yoga.
Yoga can help with back pain in a multitude of different ways. Because of the poses and stretches utilized in yoga, your posture, and upper body strength will be improved. Along with this, spinal mobility will improve thanks to better alignment and flexibility. Lastly, this low-impact exercise allows for relaxation which will release the tension in muscles, which could decrease back pain greatly.
To help you figure out if yoga can help with your back pain, we thought we'd take a look at how the two interact. We will also give you some other valuable tips that we think can help you relieve some of that back pain.
Yoga & Back Pain: How It Helps!
Because back pain is very familiar to a wide swath of the population globally, it might come in handy to understand the benefits you receive through using yoga to combat this pain. Though there is a wide range of mental, spiritual, and physical benefits of utilizing yoga for any type of health condition, when it comes to back pain here are the four main ones:
Sometimes back pain can be exacerbated by poor posture. But due to the stretching and pose utilized in yoga, no matter the discipline, you're going to have better posture. This is partially due to the increased flexibility as well as the strengthening of the core muscles.
Better posture will mean less stress put on those muscles of your back, and therefore the pain will decrease. You will also find that the benefits will be long-lasting with a dedicated and continued practice.
Another way that yoga is beneficial when it comes to back pain is the strengthening of the core muscles. It is a low-impact exercise that allows you to build your muscles over a longer period of time.
By increasing the strength of these muscles and their flexibility, you'll be able to reduce the pain greatly. The strengthening of these core muscles is also what helps develop the very first benefit we talked about above - posture.
Yoga is intended to help align not only your energies with your inner self and the world surrounding you, but also in a physical manner as well. Through the transitional movements through the poses and stretches, you are improving your flexibility while making sure that your spine is in better alignment.
Once your spine aligns properly, you'll feel that there is a relief of tension within the muscles of your core, and this will decrease the pain immensely. This is why if you have any type of back pain, incorporating yoga into your daily routine is such a great choice.
One of the main reasons a lot of people suffer from back pain is tension that gets trapped in the muscles. Once the tension gets trapped there, and you go about your everyday life, whether that be on your feet 24/7 or sitting at a desk for an 8-hour shift, you're going to find that the tension only builds.
By utilizing yoga and the breathing techniques coupled with the stretching and poses, you'll be able to decrease that tension and therefore dissipate much of that back pain, whether it be upper or lower.
Which Yoga Should You Choose?
All of those benefits sound amazing were sure, especially if you're someone who suffers from chronic back pain. Understanding the benefits is one thing, but when you start looking for what yoga style to go with, you're going to notice that there are a lot of choices for you. While some have a more spiritual focus, others will put a larger focus on the physical aspects of the practice.
When you're looking for yoga practice for back pain through the spiritual and mental aspects is important, you want to look for one that is more focused on the physical aspects of the ancient practice. There are a couple of great options, but maybe the best place to start would be with Hatha.
Hatha puts a specific focus on movements and the transition between the poses. There are a bunch of different types of Hatha, but primarily the restoration type or Vinyasa would be excellent for someone with back pain. But this style of yoga is not the only one that you can look into to help manage your pain.
Yin yoga Is also a great choice, especially if you're looking for one specific to manage your pain. Because of this type of yoga focus on holding poses, tension within the muscles releases better. The release of this tension will help decrease pain greatly and allow you to utilize breathing techniques to subvert the pain as well.
When it comes to yoga styles that you should stay completely clear of, there are a few options as well. Over the last decade, yoga has transformed, and many methods are a little bit more aggressive than the traditional style. Types like Kundalini, Bikram, and Ashtanga all fall within these categories. These are more challenging and are not great for people with back pain, especially when they are just starting out.
Some Poses for Back Pain
The truth is, every pose within yoga can help with back pain, no matter the type you are doing. Of course, as we said above there are some that are a little more aggressive and could serve to agitate that back pain, so as long as you choose the right style you should be good.
If you're looking to add in a few poses into your daily routine without going to a class, there are a couple of poses that we think could be beneficial for back pain. Here are a few of the ones we suggest you try out:
This is one of those poses and yoga that looks like it's not much of anything, but there is a wealth of benefits from utilizing it. The pose itself works on stretching the upper body for better relaxation and through the breathing exercises, you're clearing your mind.
For this pose, start on all fours and for extending your arms out in front of you. Then rock your body back, sitting on your glutes. You want to rest this above, but not drop onto your heels. This position is best when held for up to 30 seconds, and you have to make sure you breathe during the process as well.
This is one of the best poses for someone who is just starting with yoga. It's intended to help improve flexibility, especially in your back. You're going to lay on your stomach and place your hands by your side, faced down. Then take your feet and push them inwards so that both your big toes are facing one another. While doing this, you need to make sure that your glutes are tightened.
As you lift your head, upper body, and legs from the floor, you're going to exhale. Reach through your muscles all the way through your legs. When you do this, make sure to raise your arms up off the floor and keep them there, but close to your body. You're going to repeat this process two or three times, and you'll fill a huge sense of relief as the tension leaves the muscles in your body.
Crescent Moon Pose
This pose is intended to stretch out your obliques, hips, and lower back. You're going to stand with your feet directly under your shoulders, and you're going to interlace your fingers. With your palms facing out, you're going to raise your arms up to the sky. Then you're going to start to bend towards one side.
Do not push your chest outward, and keep your core muscles tight and engaged at all times. Make sure that your foot that is opposite of the way you are bending stays firmly on the ground and holds the position for about a minute. You should feel a stretch from the opposite side that your body is leaning toward.
Yoga can be utilized to help in a plethora of different health situations. But if you're someone who has chronic back pain, yoga can help you and is a great addition to your workout routine. Not only will you be improving your flexibility and building your core strength, but also relieving tons of tension.
All three of these things can combine to create severe back pain. So adding in yoga will help alleviate that and get you well on your way to a happier and healthier life.