As we grow older, I feel like so many of us begin to struggle with back pain!
But what can we do to help it? Sometimes medication and physiotherapy isn’t always the go-to option.
Medications can come with a long list of side effects, and physiotherapy waiting lists can be long.
It gets to the point where we can look at our daily habits and see if there is anything we can begin to do to ease our back pain or sensitivity.
I believe that yoga is a great solution to back pain – it is gentle, restorative and encourages the release of tension in your body. Read on to find out more!
What causes back pain?
Back pain comes in multiple different forms, and can two different people in two different ways. Either way, it can potentially be debilitating, and make all daily tasks just that bit harder.
Back pain can be caused by an injury. Have you recently tried lifting something very heavy and strained your back? This can be described as acute back pain, and should last no more than six weeks.
Chronic back pain, however can last three months or (quite often) longer. Causes include:
- Muscle or ligament strain
- Bulging or ruptured discs
If you do suffer from chronic back pain and don’t know the nature or cause of it just yet, I strongly suggest seeing a GP to identify what it’s coming from. This can help you understand the pain a little better, and tailor your recovery and exercises in a more controlled and strategic manner.
How yoga can help
So where does yoga fit in to all of this?
Well as we already know, yoga can be a great recovery practice for someone with injuries. Yoga can be an extremely healing practice for both your body and mind.
Yoga poses focus heavily on deep stretches, and relaxing whilst doing these.
Stretching certain muscles and tendons can actually have a benefit for other muscles in the body.
For example, a hamstring stretch can be beneficial for people who suffer from lower back pain, because stretching the hamstring muscles expands motion in the pelvis, decreasing stress across the lower back.
Yoga also focuses on correct body alignment and good posture. Some back pain may be a result of bad posture, or not properly aligning your body.
Proper body alignment is actually quite hard to do if you haven’t been shown how to do it properly!
Yoga is here to help. A consistent yoga practice will result in better posture, and strengthen and stretch each side of the body equally. In turn, this can help to ease back pain and sensitivity.
What I love most about yoga is that although it is a physical practice, by practicing regularly, you see so many benefits for your mind as well.
Yoga really encourages tapping into your inner dialogue, and noticing the narrative going on in your head. This also includes noticing how your body is feeling in certain poses, and being hyper aware of the sensations going on.
If you begin to feel any pain in a yoga pose, you should move out of it a little, or fully come out of the pose. By being more in tune with your sensations, you can avoid further straining your back in poses, and avoid causing any further pain.
Yoga poses for back pain
Depending on where your back pain is located, you’ll want to be practicing certain poses to help relieve tension and pain.
Lower back pain
Personal favourite – child’s pose is one of my favourite poses. In fact, I think it’s probably a firm favourite for most people. I personally have some pain and sensitivity in my lower back, and child’s pose is extremely releasing and relaxing for the lower back. To increase the stretch, try lifting your arms up when in child’s pose, move them forward just a little and put them back down.
Middle/upper back pain
Personal fave – I love bridge pose whilst putting a block beneath my back – this makes the pose really releasing and you get a much deeper stretch without having to use your legs to keep you up, allowing you to fully relax in the pose.
(I also haven’t included details of how to do these poses, but please let me know if a post explaining these would be valuable!).
Be careful with these poses…
When you are either in a yoga class or doing your at-home practice yourself, you should always be mindful of your back pain to prevent straining your back further.
You may have had a back injury, or your back may be naturally quite sensitive – whichever the case is, it’s important that you take it slow in poses where you feel you may feel some strain in your lower back.
So, make sure to be extra mindful in these poses:
When moving through your asanas, if you do begin to feel strain or pain in any of the poses, make sure to come out of them a little, or come out of them completely.
If you have strained a little too much, it can be helpful to practice a tension releasing pose, such as the ones listed above, depending on where your back pain is.
I really hope you have gained some useful info from this post! I really believe that yoga is a great all-rounder. And when used properly, you can gain some serious benefits physically and mentally.
It’s always a good idea to consult a professional if your back pain is particularly bad, I don’t recommend yoga as a substitute for seeing a health professional.
Yoga in combination with other medical practices such as physiotherapy might actually be beneficial in itself!
Whatever you choose to do, please let me know how you’ve got on.
All the best