Back pain is a common disorder that people of varied age groups are likely to experience. Back pain causes may range from the wrong posture to old injuries or a simple sprain to mental stress. Regardless, back pain should not be neglected and requires prompt attention.
A visit with a physician, a physical therapist, or a chiropractor may be the answer to your back troubles. However, medicines and medical treatment will only curb your back pain for some time before it returns.
Non-medical and non-surgical treatments like exercise therapy are effective in obtaining long-lasting relief from back pain and stiffness. Yoga is one of the best exercise therapies for patients with chronic back troubles.
Role Of Yoga In Treating Back Pain
Yoga has gained immense popularity worldwide for its positive effects on people’s well-being and health. Most Yoga postures involve stretching the muscles and retaining the body in specific poses for short intervals. Due to its profound benefits in developing and strengthening the musculoskeletal system, Yoga is very effective in treating back pain and other disorders. Let us see how!
- Yoga causes the mechanical release of the tension that builds up in the back muscles, thereby helping muscle relaxation.
- There are specific yoga postures that strengthen the back muscles, tendons, and cartilages.
- Yoga is pivotal in adjusting wrong spinal alignment or wrong back posture.
- Yoga rejuvenates the spinal nerves that coordinate the functions of back muscles.
- Yoga postures focused on muscle strengthening also soothe sore back muscles and help with pain relief.
When done correctly, Yoga can do wonders to heal your back pain. The following section describes the steps of a few Yoga poses that help to alleviate back troubles.
Yoga Postures For Back Pain
Here are some Yoga postures that help overcome recurring back pain and stiffness.
Bhujangasana, also known as the Cobra Pose, is a very commonly performed Yoga exercise. It is a significant muscle-relaxing posture and is also part of other complicated Yoga postures.
- To perform Bhujangasana, lie down with your chest, abdomen, and thighs touching the floor.
- Place your palms on either side of the chest while bending the elbows and look straight ahead.
- Elevate your face, neck, chest, and torso off the floor by straightening your elbows and balancing your body weight evenly on both palms.
- Your legs must be parallel to one another and touching the ground with the soles of both feet facing upward.
- Arch your back and neck backward and push your chest outward till your spine and abdomen experience a good stretch.
Hold the Bhujangasana pose for 5-10 breaths before relaxing your body. Depending on your physical stamina, you may repeat the posture a few more times. Bhujangasana removes stress and inflammation from the back and neck muscles and allows increased flexibility of the muscles.
Marjariasana, a two-step Yoga posture, is named so because the person mimics a cat’s actions while performing the pose.
- Lower your body and balance your body weight on your palms and lower limbs.
- Keep your elbows unbent such that the arms are perpendicular to the ground.
- Bend your knees so the thighs are perpendicular to the ground and the shin is touching the ground.
- Gradually arch your spine so that the navel is pulled towards the ground. Push your buttocks outward and raise your neck to look upward.
- Continue regular breathing while you maintain this position.
- Now lower your head and push your spine upward, so your back has a hunched appearance.
- Draw your buttocks inward and try to look toward the ground.
- Continue regular breathing for some time and shift back to the former position.
You may alternate between the two postures of Marjariasana for up to five counts. Marjariasana is excellent for spinal flexibility and stretching of the back muscles.
The child’s pose or Balasana is one of the relaxing Yoga postures that stretches all the body muscles.
- Go down on your fours and sit with your knees folded and thighs spread out in the shape of the letter ‘V.’
- The arches of your feet must touch the ground, and your buttocks must be resting on your heels.
- Bend forward from your waist till your head touches the ground.
- Stretch your arms forward and keep your palms feeling the floor in front of your head.
- Relax your abdomen, torso, back, and hips while you continue breathing normally.
- Remain in the final position of Balasana for 5-10 breathing cycles.
Balasana stretches and relaxes the back muscles and strengthens the spine.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
The Adho Mukha Svanasana or the downward dog is relatively easy and popular. The pose is named so because a person resembles a canine stretching its body during the final posture of Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- Lower your body on the floor till you are on your hands and knees. Keep your chin elevated just enough so that you are looking straight ahead.
- Take a deep breath, and elevate your hips and abdomen while exhaling till you straighten both your knees.
- Balance your body weight equally on the palms and feet which are touching the ground.
- Your head should be between your arms with both ears close to your upper arms.
- Inhale after you assume the final position of the Adho Mukha Svanasana and continue normal breathing.
Adho Mukha Svanasana helps to relax sore and stiff back muscles and soothe muscle inflammation. Back pain and tensed back muscles respond very well to Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Paschimottanasana or the seated forward bend because you bend your entire upper body forward while sitting down. It helps to increase body flexibility and gives an excellent stretch to almost all the body muscles.
- Keep a straight back, and sit with your legs stretched out in the front. Keep the feet slightly spread from each other.
- Inhale deeply and then bend forward from your waist while exhaling.
- Stretch your hands and try to hold your feet with each hand. If you cannot reach that far, try touching your shins instead of your feet.
- Continue normal breathing while you hold the position for some time.
Paschimottanasana stretches the spine and back muscles and even adjusts wrong spinal alignments.
Halasana is named so because the body resembles the shape of a plow while performing the posture.
- Lie down with your arms at the side of your body and your legs straight without bending the knees.
- Place your hands beneath your tailbone, straighten your legs and elevate them, so they are perpendicular to the ground.
- Support your buttocks with your hands and pull your legs towards your head till the toes are near your head.
- Attempt to touch your toes on the ground behind your head. Keep your hands in a relaxed posture by the side of your body once your body is in the Halasana pose.
Halasana is slightly more complex than the other postures described earlier. Do not push your body to perform Halasana if you cannot bend your legs backward.
Halasana stretches the back muscles and the spine and removes any soreness from the back muscles. The posture also helps to release tension and knots from your back muscles.
Dos And Don’ts
While Yoga is certainly one of the best forms of physical exercise, we advise caution before beginning Yoga practice. Here are some essentials you need to remember if you choose Yoga as a remedy for your back pain.
- Yoga can help to relieve back pain that develops due to mild injuries, swelling of muscles, nerve irritation, or wrong posture. A medical opinion is recommended if your back pain is due to any severe damage, congenital disability, or a debilitating disorder like cancer.
- Do not practice Yoga unless it is under the supervision of a certified Yoga trainer.
- Your Yoga trainer must be fully aware of your health issues before you begin learning from them.
- Always use a Yoga mat and ensure that the underlying flooring is hard and even.
- Warm-up your body adequately before you begin your Yoga session.
- Always end your yoga session with a few minutes of relaxed body stretching.
- Stop performing any Yoga posture that causes sudden pain, spasm, or discomfort anywhere in your body.
- If you experience breathlessness, dizziness, or any unbearable symptoms while performing Yoga, seek immediate assistance.
Yoga has immense benefits for back pain relief when practiced correctly. However, seeking medical treatment and Yoga is advisable to get rid of back pain permanently. Connect with a certified Yoga instructor soon to know which Yoga postures suit your health needs.