Yoga Poses for Back Pain
Think of yoga and chiropractic care as the peanut butter and jelly of complementary care. Although they’re both very different methods of treatment, they combine to create a healthy treatment that almost everyone can enjoy. These two treatment methods work well together because chiropractic treatment is used to enhance the function of the neurological system by improving the relationship of the spine with the rest of the body. Once the spine is realigned, then yoga can support the strengthening of the supporting muscles through a series of poses such as, Cat/Camel, which improve both strength and posture. Different yoga poses work to calm the central nervous system and to increase the spine’s range of motion. Today we’re going to go over a few yoga poses that you can easily do at home that will help with lower back pain.
The first pose is what we like to call the cat/camel many yoga instructors refer to this as cat/cow. Cat/camel and Cat/cow simply give descriptors to the movement you’ll be doing. Begin by Starting in an all-fours position, move into cat pose by slowly pressing your spine up, arching your back. Hold for a few seconds and then move to cow by scooping your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades back and lifting your head. Moving back and forth from cat to cow helps move your spine onto a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension. Do these 15 times for 3 sets and feel free to take a break between each set.
Opposite Hand Opposite Leg aka Birddog:
One of the most rehabilitative postures you can do in yoga for back pain relief is Bird-Dog Pose due to how it works your core and lumbar spine muscles. As a beginner, Bird-Dog Pose will begin to build strength in these muscles that have weakened overtime that have allowed conditions like sciatica to cause chronic back pain, especially in your lower back. If performed using proper spinal alignment and hip flexion, Bird-Dog Pose will become one of your go-to poses for back pain relief. To perform Birddog:
Start on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor directly below your shoulders and your hips aligned with your knees. Your neck should be in line-with your back and your gaze should be down or slightly forward in front of your nose.
Shift your weight into your left knee and slowly begin to lift your right leg off the ground and straighten it behind you while pointing your toes to the ground. As you lift your leg be sure to lift with your hips and your core muscles and not your lower back muscles. If you feel your lower back muscles tighten you have lifted your leg up too far and need to lower it to be in-line with your body.
Shift your weight onto your right hand and lift your left arm straight in front of you. Just like when you lifted your leg, use your core muscles and shoulder flexors to straighten your arm in-line with your body. Your fingers should be reaching forward with your palm facing you and your thumb facing towards the sky.
Making sure your entire body is a straight line from your arms down through your neck and spine to your legs and feet, begin to stretch your fingers as far forward as possible while keeping a straight spine.
While you are stretching your fingers forward, flex you foot so your toes are pointed to the ground and your heel is pushing behind you like if you were standing sideways on a wall.
The cobra pose is helpful for lower back pain which originates in the spinal column. This can be from poor posture or ailments such as slipped disks and osteoporosis. This pose gently stretches and strengthens your spine, particularly in the pelvic area. To perform the Cobra begin by lying face down on your mat with your feet hip width apart. Place your hands palm down under your shoulders and on an inhalation; slowly raise your torso up. Raise yourself as high as feels comfortable, keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides and your pubic bones pressed into the floor. Roll your shoulders down away from your neck. Hold this pose for five deep breaths. Release the pose by slowly lowering yourself to the floor on an exhalation.