Young, Old, Sedentary or Active: Anyone Can Suffer from Back Pain
It seems that no one outside a select few lucky souls is immune from the potential for experiencing back pain at some point. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) reports that 31 million Americans suffer from low-back pain at any given time.
Back pain is as unpredictable as it is seemingly inescapable. It can strike without warning, presenting as anything from a dull ache to sharp and immobilizing spasms, and can last for a few days or become a chronic condition.
Yoga and Other Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Can Prevent or Relieve Back Pain
If you are suffering from back pain that will not subside, or if you have suffered bouts with it before and want to prevent additional issues without scheduling a doctor’s appointment, you have many options. Become your own back pain manager by committing to eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and adding some exercise to the mix.
Put an Emphasis on Gentle Yoga for Your Exercise Regimen
No matter what else you do as your form exercise, or exercises, try adding some yoga — as little as 5 or so gentle poses — into the mix. Whether you are shortening the hamstring muscles and the illiopsoas muscles from long periods of sitting, or you are tensing up your back muscles from the intensive running and jumping you do, yoga can help restore balance and alleviate back pain.
Add These Five Yoga Poses to Your Schedule for Back Pain Relief
Even if you have never visited a yoga class or have much familiarity with yoga, you can get started quickly and easily. As a bonus, you will probably quickly fall in love with the ancient practice that focuses on stretching, strength and flexibility to help soothe your aching back.
For now, try the following five yoga poses to start feeling relief as quickly as possible:
Perhaps one of the most well-known yoga poses, the Downward-Facing Dog stretches your whole body, with an emphasis on your back extensors, or the large muscles that form the lower back.
Kneel down on your hands and knees before pushing up and pressing back, aiming to raise your tailbone to the ceiling. For a deeper stretch that targets your hamstrings, try to extend your heels to the floor.
The Sphinx pose serves as the foundation to the progressive back bend series that moves on to Cobra and Upward-Facing Dog. Back bend poses help you gently strengthen your back, arms and core for a combination of targeted and supporting therapy.
For Sphinx, start by lying on your stomach with your full body extended. Place your forearms on the floor at a 90-degree angle with your elbows at your waist while keeping your legs and feet connected to the floor and extended with toes pointed. Slowly and carefully raise your neck, head and upper chest off the floor and allow for a slight arch in your back.
Cat and Cow
This yoga pose is a classic because it is so simple and so effective for back relief. No matter how acute your back pain at any time, you can probably at least try cat and cow, which lets you mildly alternate between arching and rounding your spine.
Move to the floor on your hands and knees while keeping your back flat before beginning to mimic the animals in the title. First, breathe deeply while rounding your back like a cow before returning to your starting position. Then arch your cat like a cat while monitoring your breathing.
This simple and soothing pose may fool people into thinking it does nothing besides offering a break during a challenging pose, but the active and soothing recovery aspects of this pose is essential when trying to relieve back pain and elongate the spine.
Start on all-fours with your arms stretched out in front of you and your buttocks hovering slightly above your heels. Hold for 5-10 breaths or as long as needed.
Eagle Spinal Twist or Two-Knee Twist
This pose may seem challenging, depending on the degree of back pain you are experiencing, but you can definitely limit the range of motion, only going as far as comfortable from side-to-side.
A little side-to-side spinal flexibility may help your overall back health, so it is worth doing the best you can. Lie on your back while hugging your knees to your chest. Extend your arms out to your sides then lower both legs to the left then to the right.
Hopefully these poses will get you started on the road to recovery and may inspire you to begin regular yoga practice.
What poses have helped you with any back pain? Share with us and comment below...