Back pain is a common ailment affecting around 80% of Americans. Yoga offers relief to sufferers of all types of back pain including lower back pain, mid back pain and upper back pain.
The following are several yoga poses that can help to relieve your back tension, gain core strength and help bring your spine into proper alignment.
The Cat Stretch
The cat stretch is an excellent yoga pose that will help relieve back pain while also strengthening the muscles around the back.
- Begin on all fours – just like cat. Your hands should be flat on the ground aligned directly under your shoulders. Keep your back flat like a table. Hold this position while looking straight ahead.
- As you inhale, lift your chin and tilt your head back. Lower your abdomen to the ground while raising your tailbone to the ceiling. Squeeze your buttocks.
- Hold this pose while taking deep, drawn-out breathes.
- As you exhale, lower your chin towards your chest and arch your back. Decompress your buttocks.
- Continue to hold this pose before returning to the initial position. Repeat five to seven rounds.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
The Half Lord of the Fishes twist is a great exercise for the back because it strengthens and lengthens the spine. Pay close attention to your body when you do this pose. If you feel pain, start slow and work your way deeper into the pose as the pain is released.
- To begin, sit on the ground. Your legs should be straight out in front of you. Next, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Slide your left foot under you right leg. Your left foot should be just outside of your right hip. Rest the outside of the left leg on the floor. Now, move your right foot over your left leg and rest it on the floor outside of your left hip. Your right knee should be pointing straight up at the ceiling. This is your starting position.
- While exhaling, twist your body towards the inside of your right thigh. Press your right hand against the ground behind your buttocks. Place your upper left arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee.
- Press your right foot into the ground while lengthening the torso. Lean your upper torso back slightly while bringing your shoulder blades together. Proceed to lengthen the tailbone into the ground.
- Now, turn your head to either the right or left. Twist the torso by turning to the right or counter the twist of the torso by turning to the left while looking over your left shoulder at your right foot.
- Inhale through the sternum. Push your fingers against the ground to help. Hold the position for about a minute then release with an exhale. Return to the staring position and repeat on the opposite side.
Downward Facing Dog
The Downward Facing Dog aligns and stretches out the spine. It can help reverse the damage caused by hunching over.
- Get on your hands and knees. Place your knees below your hips and your hands somewhat ahead of your shoulders. Spread your palms and turn your toes under. This is your starting position.
- While exhaling, elevate your knees away from the ground. Keep your heels lifted off the floor and your knees slightly bent. Lengthen your tailbone away from the rear of your pelvis. Now, lift the buttocks towards the ceiling.
- Now, while exhaling, extend you thighs back and stretch your heels into the ground. Straighten your knees. Steady the outer thighs and rotate the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of your pelvis.
- Steady the outer arms and press your fingers firmly into the ground. Elevate your inner arms from the wrists to the top of the shoulders. Steady your shoulder blades against your back. Now widen the shoulder blades and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms.
- Stay in this pose for one to three minutes. Then bring your knees to the ground with an exhalation and rest in the child’s pose.
The back is very delicate. If your muscles are overworked or pushed too far, it may result in back pain and future back problems. Turn to yoga to help tackle the pain and make your back muscles stronger.
Peter Wendt is a blogger living in Austin, Texas. He highly recommends his readers try out yoga for back pain relief. If yoga therapy is not enough, Wendt recommends his readers visit Advanced Pain Care for back pain treatment in Austin.