- How our lifestyle is increasing the prevalence of back pain
- How does yoga work to give you relief from back pain?
- Yoga poses to try out
- Some points to keep in mind
Back Pain – Where Does the Cause Lie?
While injuries, medical conditions etc. have always been a major source of back pain, most people today suffer from this issue due to an entirely different reason – lifestyle. Fueled by junk food and lack of exercise, our sedentary ways of living keep us confined to couches and desks, often in poor postures. Obesity is at an all time high, negative habits such as alcohol and smoking prevail, and even activities considered necessary and formal, such as wearing high heels, are all slowly impacting our spine and back health.
Needless to say, this is not an ideal situation. Back pain creates discomfort, irritation and stress, takes away from our wellbeing, happiness, and productivity, and can also become the grounds for more pervasive and chronic problems later in life.
How Can Yoga Help?
Back pain is one of the major wellness areas where yoga has shown great benefits. Here is how the practice of yoga can help out in back pain –
- Yoga helps in stretching and strengthening the muscles that support the back and spine, thus improving their functioning and reducing back pain.
- Yoga also helps in reducing tension from the muscles, thus helping them relax, and in the process, you find alleviation from pain.
- Regular practice of yoga promotes good and correct posture. You carry this from our workouts to your everyday life, and thus actively prevent pain from occurring
- Lastly, yoga helps in generating greater awareness about your body. This means that you better understand what your body is capable of, and learn to pick up subtle signs that your body is beginning to become uncomfortable. This can also help you avoid pain.
- Pain is as much an emotional and mental experience as it is a physical one. While your body heals through yoga, the practice can help you mentally deal with the experience too.
Poses to Try
Here are some poses that work specifically on relieving back pain, while also providing numerous other benefits to the body and mind, too.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – A pose known for being easy to do and bringing all-around benefits to the body, this asana helps in relieving back pain, while also working on digestion, menstrual discomfort, headache, and fatigue. Mentally, it is known to be calming and helps in alleviating symptoms of depression. Hold the pose for upto three minutes to feel its best impact.
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose) – Though traditionally performed with the feet in the padmasana, beginners should keep their feet straight to focus on the upper body. This inversion pose is known to help the upper back and neck muscles and posture, along with stimulating the abdominal organs and the thyroid gland. In ancient texts, it has been referred to as destroyer of all diseases.
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) – A slightly challenging asana for those with lower levels of flexibility, it is however a good asana work towards as it provides a number of benefits and is a good way to improve your back strength and flexibility. It also improves posture, stimulates the muscles of the abdomen, and stretches the entire front of the body.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) – A stretcher of the chest, neck, and spine, this asana actively engages the core and the hips, stimulates the lungs and thyroid, improves digestion, and is also helpful for relieving menstrual discomfort. At a mental level, this asana can help in reducing anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia, and is known for providing relaxation.
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose) – Challenge your balance and concentration with this leg strengthener which also works for lower backache, sciatica, and asthma. Try holding the pose for at least fifteen to thirty seconds, and be sure to work the other side as well.
- Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose) – A deeply relaxing and rejuvenating asana, this pose works to alleviate back pain, while also tackling digestive issues, premenstrual syndrome, migraine, blood pressure, and respiratory ailments. At a mental level, it provides relief from anxiety, insomnia, and mild depression. Hold the pose for anywhere between five to fifteen minutes.
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – A great way to reduce mild backache, this asana also helps in dealing with menstrual discomfort, anxiety, fatigue, and respiratory ailments. As an inversion pose, it can be challenging on the neck and shoulders, to be sure to use modifications and support as necessary.
Some Pointers to Keep in Mind
Yoga is an excellent way to deal with back pain, but in order to ensure that you take the best from this exercise, there are some points you should keep in mind
- It is always best to consult with a yoga teacher to help you out, as improper posture or doing asanas that are beyond your capacity can lead to injuries.
- Your body knows best, so do not ignore its signals. If something feels uncomfortable or painful, stop immediately.
- If your backache has originated from some medical condition or injury, do consult your medical professional to know what practice is the best for you.
While these poses given above can give you instant relief from backache, your ultimate goal should always be prevention of any pain in the first place. So be sure to integrate these asanas into your daily workout to improve your posture and strengthen and stretch your back regularly, so that you do not fall prey to any discomfort or back pain of any kind.