Back pain is one of the most common complaints and can be literally debilitating. It can happen to anyone, even people who live sedentary lifestyles, as avid athletes and yogis.
Your back is a vulnerable region, especially your lower back. Unlike your cervical or thoracic spine, the lower back is not protected and is easily overloaded without adequate support.
In addition to acute injuries, sitting all day often leads to shortening of the iliopsoas and hamstrings. Over time, this can cause tension and pain in the low back.
In addition to lengthening your muscles and helping you feel more relaxed, yoga can also reduce painful back symptoms. In addition to treatment at a back pain management facility, the following poses may also alleviate your pain.
The Sphinx Pose is a gentle stretch that helps recirculate blood back to muscles to aid in healing. This pose also helps lengthen your abdominal muscles, which can also alleviate back pain. Lying on your tummy, align your elbows under your shoulders and then relax them down to widen your chest.
Also known as the Reclining Big Toe Pose, this stretch helps relax tight hamstrings that you feel tugging in your lower back. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended in front of you. Hug one knee to your chest and grab your big toe with two fingers and thumb (called a “yogi toe lock”). Gently start to kick and extend your foot as straight as you can towards the ceiling without hyperflexing your foot. You should feel a gentle tug in your hips and lower back.
Twisting-type stretches are an excellent way to break up tension in your lower back. They can also be used as a counter pose to other stretches. Start by lying on your back with legs extended forwarded. Draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Slowly release your hands but gently turn your torso to create a T shape.
Viparita Karani Pose (Legs Up the Wall)
With your legs up snugly against a wall, relax your torso until it is flat on the floor. Scoot as close as you can to the wall and let your body relax. Allow your legs to feel the force of gravity and surrender to it as your back softens into the mat. Use deep cleansing breaths as you enjoy these moments of restorative inversion.
As with any type of back pain, seek immediate medical attention if you develop severe, unrelenting pain, or if you develop bowel or bladder dysfunction. If your back pain is minor, practicing these four poses as much as possible will hopefully alleviate your symptoms and help you get back to feeling your best.