When you become an adult, back pain can be a common complaint. Ever heard the joke, “My back hurts! I must be getting old!”? Yeah. Like death and taxes, it seems that all too many of us believe that back pain is just inevitable.
While back pain can be common and occur frequently, it doesn’t have to be something that you just live with. (Doesn’t that sound terrible?) In addition to following your doctor’s advice about how to take care of your back, you can use yoga for back pain to ease your discomfort and prevent it from becoming an ongoing issue for the future.
Causes of back pain
You might assume that a lot of back pain is caused by injuries — falls, twisting the wrong way, getting hit by something, and the list goes on. But injury isn’t the only cause for this kind of pain!
The cause of your back pain can help determine the best way for you to heal from it, including whether yoga is a good option. Here are a few common causes of back pain…
Your back is made up of many muscles, any one of which can be the root of discomfort. Your back does more than keep you upright throughout the day. It helps you bend, twist, and reach more easily!
But that also means there are lots of ways that you can injure your back. Muscle pain can occur if you strain your back when picking up something too heavy or twisting the wrong way, or if you get a knot in a muscle. (Ever sleep the wrong way? Ouch!)
Quite often, when you have back pain from a muscle injury or other muscle issue, the way you change your posture and movements to compensate for it can cause more pain throughout your back, especially if you don’t take care of it.
Disk pain occurs when you have a herniated, bulging, or slipped disk in your spine. Most often, this occurs in the lower back. When you have a problem with a disk in your back, the nerves in that area of the spine can be irritated, which is what causes the pain. In some cases, disk pain must be addressed by more invasive medical intervention, such as surgery.
If you have a mild case of irritation or are recovering from surgery, though, you can take steps on your own to heal, as well as to prevent pain in the future. Doesn’t it feel good to take matters into your own hands?
Arthritis most commonly occurs among older adults due to the changes in the body that naturally come with aging. But arthritis can occur in younger adults, too! It can happen nearly anywhere in the body — including the back. Arthritis develops when there is inflammation around the joints.
Along with pain and limited mobility, arthritis can cause local swelling, redness, and tenderness. Arthritis can worsen over time, even with treatment. It can even become debilitating. For many people, lifestyle changes and staying active with gentle physical activity (like yoga!) can help keep arthritis pain in the back tolerable.
There are other potential causes of back pain, too. You may have an injury from a fall or from getting hit by something in the back. Back pain may also be a symptom of a condition.
Some people are simply susceptible to chronic back pain, especially as they age. This is kind of a bummer (sorry!), but you may have no control over these causes. The discomfort might stick around. Still, you can take steps to take the edge off. Yoga for back pain can be effective no matter the cause of your pain.
Yoga for back pain
Though you may need to be careful about particular poses to keep from aggravating pain, yoga can be a good solution to ease back pain, as well as to strengthen your back muscles to prevent further injury. Yoga is a way to move the body gently with slow motion and poses. You’ll ease those aches and pains in your back without risking additional injury.
Top 5 Benefits of yoga for back health
Along with the numerous benefits of yoga to your overall health and well-being, there are notable benefits when using yoga for back pain.
#1) Relaxation and reduction of stress
This is especially helpful for muscle pain. Relaxing the muscles in your back will help ease the tension causing the pain, so you’ll start to feel better. Yoga’s relaxing quality is one of the biggest reasons it is recommended for easing physical pain.
#2) Stretching the back muscles
If your back pain is due to stiffness or if you’re recovering from an injury or procedure, yoga is a good way to gently stretch your back muscles and get them back to where they should be. The more you use your muscles, the easier it will be.
#3) Adaptability when recovering
Since yoga is highly adaptable, you can still practice it when recovering from back pain. There may be poses that aren’t advised based on your type of back pain, but you can adapt them to still take care of your physical health without re-injuring your back or aggravating your pain more.
#4) Ability to continue practice with pain
Some exercise programs are too intense to continue when you have an injury or chronic pain. Since yoga is more gentle (and adaptable) you can continue to practice as you’re recovering from pain or injury. Your body will stay in its exercise routine, which may help you heal more easily.
#5) Prevention of future pain or injury
Yoga for back pain not only helps ease your pain in the now, but it can help strengthen the muscles in your back for the future. With stronger muscles, you are less likely to experience pain or injury in your back, either during yoga or during your daily life.
Things to consider
Even though yoga can be practiced when you have back pain — and can even help improve back health! — there are a few things you should consider when using yoga for back pain…
Not all poses are advisable. Yoga uses back muscles for many poses. Some poses focus on more difficult muscle systems. In order to prevent aggravation of your pain or re-injury, it is important to know which poses to avoid. Speak with your doctor and yoga instructor for advice about adapting your practice when healing from back pain.
You may have to rest. Though yoga is considered a gentle form of exercise, there are intense practices. Some people practice every day, and many people take on more challenging yoga poses in order to push themselves physically. If you have back pain, this may be too much for you. It’s okay — and advised! — to be gentle with your body until your back feels better. You’ll come back stronger than ever if you take the rest you need.
Your physical activity may be limited. If you have back pain due to an injury or you’re recovering from a surgery or other procedure, your doctor may give you limitations about what you can do. Sometimes, yoga will not be recommended. It is important to always follow your care provider’s advice about physical activity so you don’t re-injure yourself or cause bigger problems. Trust the experts!
Yoga poses for back health
Some poses are specifically designed to help with back health. If you want to ease pain or strengthen your back, consider some of these poses:
Downward Facing Dog
Standing Forward Bend
Knees to Chest with Slow Rock
Your back is an important part of your daily life and health. If you have back pain, it can be hard to manage your days. Fortunately, you can use yoga for back pain, whether you’re recovering from an injury or have a chronic pain condition that you want to manage more effectively.
Since yoga is a gentle practice, it can be a good way to address back pain without doing too much, and the poses can easily be adapted to help prevent making your back pain worse. If you want to use yoga for back pain, be sure to check with your care provider and your yoga instructor so you can make the healthiest and safest decision for you. Listen to their advice about implementing yoga for your pain. That way, you’ll be less likely to re-injure yourself or aggravate your pain.
Don’t just deal with back pain
You don’t have to simply deal with back pain as a part of adult life. While it may be common, it doesn’t have to be acceptable. You shouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily!
Instead, you can use your yoga practice to ease your pain, improve your back health, and keep living the healthy, happy life you deserve. For more instructional tips and yoga poses to ease your back pain, check out our Youtube video!
You don’t need to bend over backwards to find an online yoga program – start streaming free!