Back pain is a problem for many people.
Back pain has been a problem for me since I was about 12 years old… when I was young I have a pretty pronounced scoliosis in my back… Even at 40, even though is much improved, I still need to take care and be aware of several things such as my posture, back strength and flexibility.
First thing to say here is before starting yoga when you have back pain you should consult your doctor. Back pain can be the result of many different cause so is good to be sure of the situation before starting. Also a doctor can advise you of any movements or postures that maybe you should avoid with your specific problem.
How can yoga for back pain give you relief
Yoga is very special in that it combines several things that make it good for people with back pain. One is that is a non-impact sport, unlike running that can aggravate back problems because of the impact on the legs that travel up to the back. Another aspect that makes it good it that it is a perfect balance between flexibility and strength training. Where as most sports will focus on one or the other aspect.
This balance between strength and flexibility helps in that many back problems come from muscle spasms, the stretches and help loosen the back and the poses that build strength can tone the back and making it stronger. A side note is that strengthening exercises, especially in the early stages of training also help to increase flexibility.
Another key point is to take it easy when doing yoga for back pain, in other words, modify a little, use props to help you in the poses. Props get you into the pose partially with proper form, when you cannot get into it all the way on your own this is a great way to help, also props offer support in the pose so while you try to get further into one you have the benefit and safety of the prop there with you.
When doing yoga for back pain you MUST relax, if you are not relaxed your back will spasm and you risk injury. I know this is easier said then done, I have had alot of pack pain over the years (which has greatly reduced since training Yoga), so I understand.
The way to relax is to allow your body to flow into the pose (that is the best way to put it). Use breathing and just let go into the pose. NEVER force a pose or push yourself into one.
Concentrate on Your Breath
Yoga instructors will tell you when to inhale and exhale as you move through the poses. Concentrating on your breath is a key to yoga stress management, it helps you to bring yourself into the present moment as you focus on your breath and to let go of the things that are causing you stress, This also loosens the muscles in the back and shoulders, where stress seems to like to gather.
Work the opposites
Most yoga classes do this anyway but it is even more important for people with back pain. If you work forward bends be sure to work back bends as well in an equal ratio. When dealing with back pain balance is the key to helping you.
Some back pain can just be because of an imbalance, for example a friend of mine loved to work his abs, he wanted the 6-pack and got it and kept working it. He developed a bad back, he always had some pain there. Later he started to focus on his lower back muscles, and slowly things got better. Do not let this story make you go nuts on your back exercises though, because the same thing can happen in the opposite if you neglect your abs… back problems can stem from that to.
Just remember Balance is the key.
Some Basic yoga poses that can help your back.
Here are a list of some poses that can help the back. Will be working on doing another photo shoot to add images for these poses for you.
Downward facing Dog: Helps to stretch the back and lengthen the spine
Cat-Cow pose: The movement between these two helps develop coordination strength and flexibility in the spine also works alignment.
Child’s pose: This pose stretches the back nicely and helps the hip muscles as well helping to loosen the lower back.
Conclusion about yoga for back pain
Back pain is not much fun, and it can be very frustrating and uncomfortable for those of us who have it. From being unable to take a deep breath because feels like knives in your upper back, to being unable to sit though a move you love because your lower back has pain and your legs and hips do not feel good.
The best news is that Yoga can help you. But remember to consult your doctor first and find a good teacher. DO not try to teach yourself when have back problems, find a guide, a good teacher is worth 100 pictures and dozens of DVD’s.
Also some Thai Yoga Massage is a great way to loosen the muscles and help you feel much better, I am fortunate to live in Thailand where a 1 hour massage is about $4.
Your back is the most important part of the body, without a healthy and strong back you will loose the strength is your legs and arms. Take care of your back and you will see your whole body become stronger and better.