We’ve Got Your Back
All back pain is not created equal. That being said, be sure to get persistent back pain thoroughly checked by a medical doctor. You want to understand what type of back pain you have. Are spinal discs pressing on nerves the source of pain? Or is it something else? If you have muscle tension, notice when it hurts. Is it caused by too much driving or sitting, a bad mattress or a weak core? One of the things yoga can help you to do is just notice when the back hurts and what you are doing to contribute. At times you may not realize a pattern of, for instance, holding stress in certain areas or moving in a repetitive way that is leading to strain.
Also don’t rule out emotional tension. Some experts believe that constant thoughts of something like feeling overwhelmed can lead to physical tension that shows up as low back pain. There is a growing body of research that finds that yoga can help ease low back pain. Take a look at these three yoga poses that may help ease the aches and even prevent pain from settling into your lower back.
To begin, place hands on the mat and lower legs supporting you on the floor. On the inhale, lift your chest bone and extend your tailbone. As you exhale, round your spin, gently drawing your head and tailbone toward each other. If you are new to this movement, start with ten times and work your way up to 20 times.
Thread the Needle
This pose helps stretch the hip flexors and tight muscles around the hips. Lie down on a mat. Cross your right leg over your left at a ninety degree angle. Gently flex your right foot. Thread your arms behind the right leg, interlacing the fingers and pull your right leg toward you. Switch and do the other side. Complete two to four times on each side.
Lie down on your back. Bend your knees. Drape your right leg over your left. Take your left hand and gently guide your top (right) knee toward the floor. Don’t push it. If your knee doesn’t reach the floor, that’s ok. Listen to and honor your body. Switch to the other side, and stay in the pose for a minute or so on each side. Important note: relax!
As you do all of these poses, take long, deep inhales that match your exhales.
These are just three poses that can help ease low back pain. There are many more, so you may also consider scheduling a one-on-one session with a therapist or qualified yoga instructor to discover what muscles you need to stretch and which ones you need to strengthen to eliminate and prevent low back pain.
Here’s to a healthy back!
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– KELLEY COLIHAN ROBERTSON, E-RYT