It is estimated that 80% of people will experience back pain in their lives. While this sounds like a lot of suffering going on, many people can alleviate this pain without major interventions like surgery or medication.
If you are one of the many who have mild to moderate back pain then yoga might be an option for you.
In this article, find out how to use yoga for back pain relief and avoid future injuries.
What Causes Back Pain?
Before you ask “what can I do to relieve lower back pain?” you first have to find the cause. Otherwise, you will continue to have reoccurring pain.
The most common back pain causes are:
- Poor posture
- Prolonged stress
- Weak muscles from lack of exercise
- Pulled muscles from over-exercising
- Tension in muscles from strain or immobility
- Resurfacing injuries
- Work-related movements
Most, if not all, of these causes can be eliminated or minimized by behavioral changes. This is because back pain is caused by misalignments related to daily patterns like slouching, lifting, and holding tension from stress.
Stopping these habits can help you in the long run. However, stretches for lower back pain relief might help reduce or remove the pain completely in a matter of 30 minutes.
So, is it True—Is Yoga Good for Back Pain?
Skeptics may say that stretches for lower back pain relief are temporary. The truth is that continuous yoga practice does improve your posture, reduce stress and inflammation, and strengthen your back muscles, thus removing the causes of back pain listed above.
But, don’t just take my word for it. There are studies from the National Institutes of Health that confirm yoga is as effective as any modern form of physical therapy for chronic to mild back pain.
You can also discover the results of yoga for back pain for beginners yourself by using the yoga sequence below.
Yoga for Back Pain Poses
It is important to remember before you start these back pain relief stretches to ensure you are in a healthy condition. Consult your doctor or practitioner if you are not sure of your physical ability to do yoga.
You can also use yoga modifications and yoga blocks to help you stretch safely. Yoga poses should never hurt or be painful. Never continue a yoga stretch if you feel pain.
Also, be sure to read about basic breathing techniques to assist you in your yoga practice. Breathing exercises can deepen your stretch while increasing oxygen in your blood to enhance your yoga experience.
Now, let’s go over some popular yoga for back pain poses.
Child’s Pose (Shashankasana)
This yoga pose is a perfect start to your sequence as it helps elongate the back. You can also determine the level of stiffness and relieve tension in preparation for other asanas (yoga poses.)
To do this pose, sit on your knees with your feet tucked under your buttocks. You can place a pillow in between your feet and buttocks for assistance. Then keep your knees touching or as close as possible. Lower your head to the mat with your arm stretched out above your head.
Hold the pose for at least 2-3 minutes, longer if it feels comfortable.
Heart Melting Pose (Anahatasana)
After holding the child pose, slowly slide into a heart melting pose. Lift your buttocks up as you slide your arms and torso forward. Keep your thighs perpendicular to your calves and your knees at hips width.
This is a great lower back pain exercise as you can arch your back to get a deep release of tension. Move back into child’s pose once you feel ready to rest.
Repeat, alternating between child pose and heart melting pose if desired.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Next, bring your legs forward in front of you, sitting on the mat with your back straight. Bring your head toward your knees and touch your fingers to your toes. You can hold onto your ankles or calves as a modification. Try not to bend your knees as you hold the position for at least 30 seconds.
Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana Twist Modification)
This is a classic yoga mediation pose with a literal twist. First, sit with your legs crosses on your mat.
Take a moment to focus on your breath in meditation by placing your hands on your thighs close to your knees with your palms up. Close your eyes and take long, deep inhales and exhales through your nose and out your mouth.
After several cycles of breath, begin your twist by bringing your right arm to your left knee. Breath in as you turn your upper body to the left, looking behind you. Keep your naval facing front as much as possible. Use your free hand as balance as you twist.
Repeat on the right side using your left hand on your right knee. Remember to take an inhale and exhale as you come in and out of the twist.
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara)
Now that your back is warmed up, let’s get it moving. A sun salvation is a common yoga sequence that stretches all parts of your back.
Begin in namaste then raise your arms above your head and slowly extend them beyond your upward gaze as you arch your back. Swing your arms out to your side as you lower your head and torso to touch your toes. Keep your head toward your knees.
Step back with one leg and keep the other in place next to your hands on the mat. Look up as you stretch your lower back pain, left side. In your next sun saluation you can switch sides and stretch your lower back pain, right side.
After holding for a few minutes, bring the bent leg back and come into a full plank. Lower yourself to the mat and come up into cobra pose. Your palms sit beside you as you lift your chest and head, arching your back.
Bring your hips up as you come into downward facing dog. Step or jump forward to bring both legs back together. Hold your head against your knees then slowly come up, stacking the spine, raising your arms above then beyond your head. Come back to namaste to finish.
Repeat again using your opposite leg.
Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
Finish your yoga for back pain relief sequence by gaining balance with tree pose. Stand on your mat and bend one leg, bringing your foot to your thigh. Don’t place your foot near your knee, go above or below it.
Bring your hands to namaste and slowly raise them above your head. Hold this yoga pose, finding balance by placing your lower back into your hips and keeping your back straight.
Repeat using your opposite leg.
Longterm Benefits of Yoga for Back Pain
To benefit from yoga for back pain it is important to continue your practice even after you find relief. Continuing yoga several times a week will improve your posture, flexibility, and overall strength. Then you will see that the back pain won’t reoccur as much as it did before.
Make yoga a part of your everyday life by starting yoga at home for more than just back pain relief.