Back pain is so common that 8 out of 10 people will experience it at some point in their lives. This statistic has been on the rise as more than half of adults now work at a desk job. The constant sitting, inactivity, along with poor diet and exercise are the main causes of lower and upper back pain. However, most victims of this epidemic claim to not know why their back hurts. What they should know is that most types of back pain can be easily resolved with some devotion to your health.
Instead of paying for expensive back pain treatments that costs Americans $100 billion a year through prescription medications, chiropractic and therapy treatments, you can do simple yoga poses for back pain relief.
Get started with these yoga exercises for lower back pain relief. And remember to be consistent. Do your exercises at least once a day, preferable in the morning and at night when your muscles are most tight.
Yoga for Back Pain Relief
You can find many assanas that relieve back pain in a modified Sun Salutation :
- Start in a standing position with your feet shoulders -with apart and your hands together in a Pranamasana (Prayer Pose).
- Breathe in and raise your hands and arms above your head into Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose). Your arms should stay close to your ears as you slowly arc your back while reaching above your head and extending your arms past your head until you feel a stretch between your shoulders and down the middle of your back. Reach with your fingers and push the pelvis forward slightly.
- Slowly bring your arms down to your side in a full circle motion. As your arms reach hip level, begin to bend your torso. Then bring your arms down to your toes and hang forward. Slightly push your lower back up to the ceiling to get a deeper stretch in this Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose).
- After holding this pose, lift one leg and step it back bringing it parallel to the ground with your toes pointed and your knee touching the ground. Bend your planted leg and look up into Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose). You can extend your arms above your head and arc your back for an even deeper stretch.
- Continue your in-out breathe as you bring the planted leg back, bring both knees off the ground, and straighten your arms into Dandasana (Stick pose).
- Lower your arms and legs until you are flat on the ground then straighten your arms again but leave your legs in place. Arc your back and look up into Bhujangasana (Cobra pose).
- In Cobra pose, slide back so that you are sitting on the bottom of your feet and calves but leave your arms straight out in front of you. Go into a modified Balasana (Child’s pose) by extending your arms forward and your tailbone backward as much as possible. Pretend like you are trying to separate the top half of your body from the bottom.
- Breathe in as you come to your knees and palms (both shoulder-width apart). Here you will do a sequence that alternates between Marjaryasana (Cat pose) and Bitilasana (Cow pose). Begin with Cat pose by breathing in and curving your back by lengthening your arms and dropping your tailbone. Then as your breathe out swing into Cow pose by arcing the back and pushing the tailbone up and out.
- After several sequences, on your last Cat pose curl your toes under and push your legs so they are straight into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog pose). Keep your hand s and legs shoulder-width apart as you put equal pressure on both in a perfect triangle.
- Step forward using your same leg as in Equestrian pose and keep the opposite leg straight. Bend your forward leg and plant your same hand next to the inside of your foot. Turn inward and reach your free hand to the sky. Look at your extended arm in Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle pose).
- Return your extended arm to the ground and bring your straight leg forward so both feet are together back to Hand-to-Foot pose.
- Slowly stack our spine as you return to Prayer pose.
- Repeat using the opposite leg.
Additional Back Stretches:
Halasana (Plow Pose)
Lie on your back using a thick mat. You can put a pillow under your shoulders for extra support. Straighten your legs so that they are perpendicular to your torso. Keep your arms close to your side so that you can use them to push your lower back up off the ground. Keep your legs together as your feet go past your head. Go as far as you can without feeling discomfort. Stretch your arms away from your body for a deeper stretch.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of Fishes pose)
Start in a seated position with your legs straight. Bend one leg and bring your foot under the opposing thigh near your butt. Bend the second leg and cross it over the other so that your ankle latches onto its knee. Twist your body toward the foot under your tight. Bring the opposing arm across the body and rest your elbow on your bent knee with your fingers facing up. Continue to twist the body for deeper stretch and switch sides.
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-big-toe pose)
Lie on your back and bring one leg straight so that it is perpendicular to your body. Use a yoga strap or your hands to grab your foot, ankle, or calf. Slowly pull your leg toward your chest. You can lift your head toward your knee for a deeper stretch that you will feel in your lower back and thigh. Switch legs.