Is Yoga Safe for Back Pain?
We’ll begin this discussion with the following disclaimer: if you have chronic back pain, discuss any exercise plans you have with your physician or chiropractor BEFORE you start a program. Yoga is an ideal way to gently exercise your entire body. It has been cited as a way to relieve pain for joints, muscles, and even back pain.
Typically, yoga exercises will include stretching exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation. There are no high-intensity activities that can hurt the back. As a form of holistic practices, yoga is designed to help relieve pain, increase flexibility, increase body strength, and double as a relaxation measure.
Although medical studies cannot currently confirm that yoga cures back pain, studies have shown that yoga exercises help relieve some pain. While some patients should avoid these movements, any back pain sufferers are encouraged to take advantage of the slow stretches to promote flexibility in their back and neck.
Activity #1: Downward-Facing Dog
This stretch is a classic yoga move that stretches the back extensors. This total-body move helps you strengthen the muscles that support your lower back and spine. Essentially, this pose helps your body support itself.
Activity #2: Child’s Pose
In this pose, you are elongating your back. It helps de-compress your spinal cord as your arms stretch far in front of your body. After you’ve been doing this move for a while, your back should start to “loosen up.” Sometimes, the cause of back pain is stress from sitting all day at a desk. This move will help relieve the tension.
Activity #3: Pigeon Pose
This aptly named pose might be a little difficult for neophyte yoga practitioners, but practicing it will help you loosen the muscles and joints in your hips region. While most people associate back pain the lumbar and mid-back pain, the source of the pain might sometimes be in your hips. This post helps stretch the area to alleviate the pain over time and improve posture.
Activity #4: Upward Facing Dog
The opposite of the first activity, this pose opens up your chest. This pose might be challenging and against your idea of a “relaxing” back pose, but it actually helps engage the muscles in the back. Again, yoga helps you build muscles that help your body hold itself better, helping ease the burden from your bones.
Activity #5: Forward Fold
This one pose targets three areas: your hamstrings, shoulders, and your entire back. Essentially, folding forward gently stretches your back muscles, helping relieving tension with the dual benefit of releasing shoulder tension.
Yoga Class for Back Pain
There’s no need to guess what poses you should do at home alone! If your doctor gave you the clear to practice yoga to relieve your chronic back pain, take a yoga class. Certified yoga instructors will never push you beyond your pain limits, and you can enjoy the extra guidance from an instructor who understands how yoga can help relieve your pain.
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