Anyone who has struggled with back pain knows how real this pain can be. The causes are many, but the results are the same, your ability to function normally becomes affected, your overall appreciation for life becomes lowered, and you and your loved ones suffer as a result because you simply aren’t you.
There are a variety of reasons this spot can be tight as well as different ways to treat the tightness or pain you may be experiencing. One of my favorite ways is to use yoga for back pain I often experience from time to time.
But before we go into that, let’s explore some of the many reasons we may fall prey to this disabling affliction.
Why Do We Suffer from Back Pain?
The first, and perhaps most obvious reason for back pain, can be the result of an injury, serious or minor. It could be the result of an accident or perhaps even a medical condition, and it will take time to heal, even rehabilitation may be in order.
There are a variety of reasons we can feel stressed in life, work, family, money, to name a few, and they can all affect us physically. In yoga, there are the Seven Chakras, energy centers throughout us that affect our body and our emotions.
The way our body moves and acts is often a reflection of our inner emotions; they have a symbiotic relationship with one another. We can often understand our physical symptoms by looking within and checking in with our emotions.
There are some jobs, such as a builder, parent of a young child, or mover, again, to name a few, that require the individual to lift on a regular basis. This stress on the body can cause physical pain, targeting the lower or upper back. If we don’t remember to take care of our bodies, the pain will only worsen and we will find ourselves in trouble later on, down the road of life.
The same can be said for those who are athletic or enjoy physical activity. Maybe we did a repetition incorrectly with our weights, maybe we landed funny during a jump, or maybe we pushed ourselves too hard, too fast, and our back paid the price.
Lastly, those who sit at a desk day in and day out can sometimes suffer from back pain. Ergonomics dictates that we have our wrists straight, that we have the proper lumbar support for our lower back, that our seat back angle is 90 degrees and that our feet are planted firmly on the floor. To do otherwise may result in a hurt back.
When we don’t take care of our bodies, some areas become weak. One particular part of the body, the core, directly affects your back. Your abdomen is the front anchor of your spine, when it is weak this causes your back muscles to have to work harder to support the front. More work for your back means it is more likely to have pain throughout or become injured due to the added stress.
Whether due to a faulty mattress, a lumpy pillow, or even the preference in which we sleep, we may find that when we wake up to take on the day that our back whimpers a bit each time in disagreement. If this is a problem for you, some changes may be in order to adjust your sleep arrangements.
Women during their monthly cycle can often suffer from back pain before or during their cycle. Knowing that back pain is another symptom to add to the already plentiful list is simply put, a pain in the backside, and one that women shouldn’t have put up with just because it’s that time of the month.
Yoga for Back Pain
Now, before I go any further if you are suffering from severe back pain, pain that simply won’t go away or that is drastically affecting your quality of life, it is important that you go and see your healthcare provider. Be sure to talk with them about any exercise you may be trying or any medication that you plan to take for the pain; you do not have to suffer alone.
Instead of targeting each cause of pain, I feel it would be more beneficial to target lower, side, and upper back pain and what many believe are some helpful yoga moves that are known to help treat and improve the symptoms that we feel.
I, like many out there, have suffered from that unidentifiable pain that suddenly shows up, lingers for a bit, and then with the help of my yoga, dissipates after some time. It is through some targeted yoga moves that I have been able to treat the pain that I have felt and I would love to share these moves with you.
P.S. Urban Fit Yoga owner and founder, Wayne Campbell, also shares his go-to back pain relief poses here for additional support.
This is what I do to regularly maintain my back, and I think we can all benefit from applying this yoga for back pain prevention. They may seem simple enough, but trust me, I notice the difference when I don’t do them. Regular yoga classes are my favorite way to maintain a practice - and relief.
The first begins in Mountain Pose, a great pose to align the spine. After a few moments here, I stretch my arms up and complete a side stretch to the right and a side stretch to the left. On each side I breathe in for a few counts and breath out for a few counts, I repeat it at least once more on each side. This move can also be done in a chair, for those who sit at their desk all day.
The other way to provide some regular back maintenance is to go through a Sun Salutation Vinyasa. What a great way to greet the day. Downward Dog is a wonderful pose to help align the spine and stretch it out, while Forward Bend and Cobra help to stretch out the lower part of the back.
Yoga for Lower Back Pain
I have definitely suffered from lower back pain over the years. If not for my yoga practice there are some days I may not have made it through in one piece. For all the various reasons this part of my back needed some extra care, I turned to the following poses.
At the beginning part of my practice, I am always sure to add in a Cat-Cow Sequence. I find these poses so effective because of their counter-stretching method on my spine, it simply feels good.
The other pose that helped me immensely after my lower back took its toll from carrying around two young children was Reclined Twist, which I always was sure to complete at the end of my practice before Savasana.
A few extra lower back poses that I have found helped over the years are:
Yoga for Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can also affect the shoulders and the neck, so, you must be sure to be delicate with this area of the body. Some have been known to hurt themselves here in their yoga practice.
One of my favorite yoga for back pain poses is Thread the Needle. Begin in Table Top and slide your arm along under your body, depending on which side you choose. Relax the side of your head on the floor, be sure that you don’t feel any neck pain in this position. This is a great pose to follow up after Cat-Cow Sequence.
Feel free to also complete a Chest Opener followed up by a Shoulder Opener. The Chest Opener requires that the arms are kept lower and so you will really feel the pull on your center to the upper part of your back.
The Shoulder Opener can be a bit tricky to grasp your two hands together behind your back. If you require a bit of help, hold onto a strap, a towel, or any piece of material that will connect your two hands and give you the pull that you need to really open your shoulders up.
Wide Child’s Pose is also helpful for opening up the shoulders and upper back and just allowing the muscles to relax. This too is a pose that you need to remain in for a few minutes in order to fully reap its benefits.
Yoga for Side Back Pain
Although rarer, this pain does happen, often from a pulled muscle, and some much-needed side stretches are in order to help alleviate the tender spots along the side of the back. I can’t help but reiterate my maintenance side stretches mentioned above, as these will certainly do the trick, but in case you need a few more, try the following.
Extended Side Angle is a great way to stretch out any tension along each side of the body. These can be followed by Triangle Pose, which will allow you to go deeper into the stretch. Chair Twist on both sides is also beneficial for lengthening the sides of the body.
And for any of my introvert friends wanting to add a mental and emotional relief layer, I would recommend mixing-in any of these poses.
Treat Your Back with Care
If you are reading this article, I don’t need to remind you of the importance of taking care of your back so that you don’t have to suffer when it just isn’t working right. Remember that there are a lot of reasons that we can suffer from this affliction, so be sure to get yourself checked out if something just isn’t feeling right, both physically and emotionally.
Using yoga for back pain, in my world, is a must. I can’t imagine my life without it, especially in times of need, whether my pain is from emotional stress, not sleeping right, or tweaking something from an activity I did throughout the day. To me, it is my savior, and I can only hope that you will turn to it to in your time of need as well.
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