As indicated by the National Institutes of Health, 8 out of 10 people in the US will go through some form of lower back pain in the course of their lifetime. Although it is quite widespread, that does not signal that it is an issue you must put up with.
Your lower spine has been fashioned to secure and sustain all your motions. When your spine is not in alignment, not only does your back feel terrible, but it can also have an effect on your mental well-being. The great thing is that yoga can be used to help reduce lower back pain giving you a sense of comfort.
WHAT ACTUALLY HURTS WHEN YOU HAVE LOWER BACK PAIN?
The five lumbar vertebrae located at the base of the spinal column form the lower back (L1 to L5). The lumbar vertebrae are the most massive of your spinal section, being the primary means of support for your upper and lower body, as well as furnishing you with the capability to twist and shift your torso. Additionally, they defend your spinal cord. A complicated web of ligaments, tendons, and muscles is positioned here to make sure everything remains in its rightful spot while allowing proper movement.
The lower back area is frequently subject to a lot of pressure and weight when undertaking activities like running, lifting, strolling, carrying, etc. Thus, there is no shock that lower back pain is quite usual.
There are some potential causes of lower back pain. A herniated disc is a condition that occurs when the intervertebral disc—the cushioning between the vertebrae—is compressed and unable to fulfill its role correctly. Herniated disks can cause pinched nerves. Sometimes, low back pain is indicative of a tear or strain resulting from weakened muscles.
WHAT CAUSES LOWER BACK PAIN?
Besides the classic medical difficulties like a bulging disk or osteoarthritis, many lower back pains can be blamed on remaining in a sitting or vertical position for periods of time – a practice that many of us have become all too familiar with as we work from our homes. Spending too much time sitting down can cause the supporting muscles to become weak, thus reducing their capability to aid you when needed. This could result in pulled, strained, or sprained muscles, and a lot of pain.
When your muscles lack the strength needed, the humblest of tasks can bring on the ache in your lower back: picking up your son or daughter, carrying something ponderous, or turning your body in an unanticipated direction when within a car.
These yoga postural exercises can soothe strained muscles, bolster frail muscles, and reduce any discomfort in the lower back. Be mindful while transitioning into each posture, and when it becomes uncomfortable, stop! Tune in to your body and adjust your workout accordingly. Be kind to yourself so as not to make your back problems worse.
BEST YOGA POSES FOR BACK PAIN
In contrast to a traditional yoga class, these postures have been specially crafted with treating back aches in mind. These practices are more relaxation-oriented rather than vigorous; they are peaceful and restorative. Yoga should be a safe, low-impact form of exercise. It may be a good plan to talk to your physician before beginning any new exercise regimen if it has been a while since you’ve done any physical activity, or if you have health worries or injuries.
Check out these poses if you’re a beginner and are looking for relief from back pain. They are yoga postures specifically designed to aid those with aches and discomfort. These movements can be done by themselves or as a component of a wider collection of poses.
When practicing yoga with lower back pain, it is important to move gradually and gently transition into each pose. Breathe freely and never hold your breath. If you feel any soreness or discomfort in your back, cease the activity right away.
1. DOWNWARD-FACING DOG (ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA)
Downward Facing Dog is yoga’s most widely recognizable pose. This pose is beneficial for restorative purposes and may help to alleviate discomfort in the lower back and reduce backache. This exercise can build up and stabilize the muscles in the back, providing a pleasant relieving experience for the torso. This makes it an ideal selection to do yoga positions designed to provide relief from back pain.
HOW TO PERFORM A DOWNWARD-FACING DOG
- Start with your hands and knees on the floor
- Ensure your knees are beneath your hips, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Place your palms flat on the ground with your fingers spread out.
- As you exhale, lift your knees from the floor and raise your pelvis towards the ceiling. Begin to straighten your legs, but keep a slight bend in the knees. Keep your arms straight as you do so. Lift your sit bones towards the ceiling. Lengthen your spine and tailbone. Start with your heels off the ground (as you become more flexible, you can press them onto the ground).
- You can hold this position for up to a minute as you breathe. During this time, focus on distributing your weight evenly between both sides of the body. Keep your chin tucked in slightly.
2. SPHINX POSE (SALAMBA BHUJANGASANA)
This is a very soft backward bend, which makes it a great place to begin for anyone enduring back pain. Strengthening the spine, reducing tension and stress, and alleviating the tightness of back muscles are all possible benefits of this strategy. It has been established that this yoga pose can be efficient in relieving pain in the lower back due to it extending the muscles on the front side of the body, which could be causing constriction in the lower back.
HOW TO PERFORM THE SPHINX POSE
- Start by laying on your belly, with your legs side by side. Point your toes at the wall behind you and rotate your thighs inwardly (which helps to lengthen your lower back and sacrum)
- Place your elbows under your shoulders, with your forearms parallel to one another on the floor. As you inhale, lift your upper torso and head from the floor so your backbends.
- Focus your attention on your lower belly, lightly drawing it away from the floor and towards your lower back. This movement supports the even curvature of your backbend and helps the bend spread up the back.
- Stay in this position for between 5 to 10 breaths, then lower your head and torso to the floor to relax.
3. LOCUST POSE (SALABHASANA)
This pose can be difficult but has the potential to greatly strengthen the muscles in the back, arms, and buttocks. Including yoga poses in your routine for back pain relief can be really beneficial. Doing so can be effective in relieving both low and mid-back discomfort.
HOW TO PERFORM LOCUST POSE
- Begin by laying on your stomach with arms next to your torso (palms facing up)
- Point your feet to the wall behind you. Bring your feet together so your big toes are touching and your heels are slightly to the side.
- Rest your forehead on the floor
- Very slowly, lift your chest, arms, and head from the mat. Optionally, bring your hands together behind your back.
- If you want to deepen the pose, lift your feet off the ground.
- Look ahead or, if you can manage it, slightly up towards the ceiling.
- Stay in this pose for up to a minute, then rest.
4. HALF LORD OF THE FISHES (ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA)
This posture harnesses a rotary movement which can reduce muscle strain and ache in the back. Beneficial for extending the neck, hips, and shoulders. If you want to alleviate lower back discomfort with a yoga sequence, this is an excellent option.
HOW TO PERFORM HALF LORD OF THE FISHES
- Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, then slide the left foot under the right leg, so it is just outside of the hip. Move the right leg over the left and stand it to the left side of your body.
- As you exhale, twist your torso, and place your right hand behind you. At the same time, place the elbow of your left arm outside of the knee of your right leg. Your left arm should be pointed up, so the hand is towards the ceiling.
- Press your elbow against your knee as you turn your torso further. Look over either shoulder.
- Stay in this pose for a minute, then repeat it on the other side.
5. CHILD’S POSE
This calming position is extremely calming and an ideal way to finish a brief yoga routine. This position is ideal for lengthening the spine, alleviating pressure, and calming the back muscles.
HOW TO PERFORM A CHILD’S POSE
- Sit on your heels and with your knees together
- Slowly bend forward, with the assistance of your hand, and place your forehead on the floor.
- Stretch your arms in front of you or place them alongside your body (palms up)
- Breathe deeply as you focus on releasing any tension in your back and shoulders
- Remain in this restful pose for up to 5 minutes.
MORE POSES TO RELIEVE LOWER BACK PAIN
MARJARYASANA / BITILASANA (CAT-COW POSE)
Cat-Cow is an exceptional method for elongating your hips, chest, and spine when you begin your warm-up.
Begin in a position with your hands and knees supporting you, known as the Tabletop position. It’s essential that your hips, wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in perfect alignment and that your knees are positioned directly beneath them. Additionally, your arms should be at a right angle to the floor. Position your head in the center with your eyes looking down.
Breathe in deeply and raise your buttocks and torso upwards towards the roof, letting your abdomen drop to the ground. Lift your head to look straightforward. As you breathe out, curl your back up towards the roof, making sure that your shoulders and knees stay where they are. Let your head drop downwards towards the ground without pressing your chin against your chest.
You should perform 10 to 20 breaths, following the pace of your inhales and exhales. Repeat this sequence as often as you’d like.
UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD BEND)
Even though it may appear to be a fundamental posture, Standing Forward Bend is not to be underestimated. It stretches and relaxes the hamstring muscles, calves, and hips; bolsters up the quadriceps, and reduces stress.
Stand straight up in Tadasana, hands on your hips. Release your breath, and flex your hips as you lean forward, to lengthen the front of your body.
If possible, try to keep your knees straight and put either your hands or fingertips on the ground just ahead of or beside your feet. You may also place your palms at the back of your ankles. If it is not achievable, cross your arms and grip your elbows. Push your heels down well on the floor and raise your butt up towards the roof. Turn the top thighs slightly inward.
With each inhale, lift your body slightly. With every breath out, allow yourself to relax further into the position. Allow your chin to drop towards your chest and let your head hang down from the source of your neck, which is located in the higher back region between your shoulder blades.
MALASANA (GARLAND POSE)
Garland Pose targets the muscles in the lower back as well as in the quadriceps, groin, hips, and torso to provide a good stretch. Additionally, it helps in strengthening the ankles.
Squat with your feet as close together as possible. Maintain your feet planted firmly on the ground if it is possible. If not, gather your mat up or place a towel beneath it. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Take a deep breath outward and lean your body forward so that it is close to your legs.
Place the elbows against the inside of the knees and press them together. Form the Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) with your palms, pushing back against the knees in order to extend your torso forward. Hold for 30–60 seconds.
APANASANA (WIND-RELIEVING OR KNEES-TO-CHEST POSE)
This asana (pose) stretches and releases the muscles in the lower back to alleviate lower back discomfort.
How to: Lie down on your back. Bend your legs, lifting one foot off the ground and bringing it as close to your stomach as possible. Do the same with your other knee. Put your hands on either your shin or the back of your legs and draw your knees as close as possible to your torso. You can give yourself a massage in your lower back by rolling back and forth. Remain here as long as you need, and then lift your feet off the mat and relax, with legs bent and feet spread apart to hip level or even wider.
SUPTA MATSYENDRASANA (RECLINING SPINAL TWIST)
This stretching exercise is beneficial for loosening tight and sore lower back muscles, while simultaneously extending and calming the spine. It particularly works on the glutes and back muscles. Nonetheless, twisting the lower back can inflame it, so if there is any pain, come out of the stretch gradually.
Lie on your back, stretch out, and make a T shape with your arms, keeping them level with your shoulders. As you draw in a big breath, bend your knees and raise your feet off the floor. Your knees should be aligned with your hips, creating a 90-degree angle in your legs if that is suitable for you. Exhale and let your knees fall to your left. Keep your shoulders on the mat. As you turn to the right, your left hip will rise. Rotate your head to the right and keep it there for 1–2 minutes. Move your legs back to the middle and then reverse them.