Yoga has been shown to help with so many health problems that it’s a wonder more doctors aren’t “prescribing” it as medicine. From anxiety to arthritis, PTSD to chronic pain, yoga and its associated mindfulness and breathing exercises have helped millions of people reclaim their health.
If you have back pain, it turns out that yoga may be able to help you, too. Scientific studies have shown that people with lower back pain who participate in a regular yoga practice tend to report less pain, less dysfunction, better spinal mobility, and improved quality of life compared to back pain sufferers who don’t.
Safe, fun, medication-free, and good for your brain as well as your body? Sign us up!
A Simple Yoga Flow For Back Pain
It almost goes without saying that if you’re totally new to yoga and you struggle with chronic back pain, you should speak with your doctor or other trusted healthcare practitioner before jumping into the next available yoga class.
- Cat/Cow Pose: Gently prepares your spine for movement (if getting on the floor is difficult, you can also do a variation of this sitting in a chair).
- Thread the Needle Pose: Provides gentle rotation and stretching to the low back.
- Downward Dog: Stretches the spine from neck to low back.
- Runner’s Lunge Pose: Increases hip mobility.
- Triangle Pose: Strengthens core.
- Sphinx Pose: Provides gentle back bend.
- Pigeon Pose: Intense hip and glute stretch (try this variation if pigeon is too difficult).
- Child’s Pose: Gentle and relaxing.
A Few Helpful Hints:
Try to move with your breath (in through the nose and out through the nose) and hold each pose for approximately 3 to 5 breaths before moving on to the next one. Complete the sequence as many times as you’d like–anywhere from 5 to 10 times total can be effective.
The goal with all of these movements is to elongate your spine, stretch your connective tissues, stimulate your nervous system, relax your muscles, and provide some stress relief. Be sure to finish your session with a cold glass of water and perhaps a nice soak or sauna session. Do this two to three times per week, and pay close attention to how your back feels.
Remember that your yoga practice should never cause you increased pain, so back off if you’re feeling particularly sore or uncomfortable. Always chat with your doc with any questions, and/or find a trusted yoga instructor who can help you make sure you’re performing these moves correctly.
How has yoga helped you? We want to hear it! Let us know about it in the comments below.