Hi everyone! Kelly and Brittany here with another ‘Top Yoga Question’… we have your backs!

The lower back is a sensitive spot for many people. While there can be a ton of causes of lower back pain, a weak core and poor posture from sitting all day (and consequently shortening the hip muscles that then pull on the lower back) are two really common contributing factors to lower back aches & discomfort. It’s always important to figure out what’s causing pain so you can address it and prevent it from happening again. But in most situations, doing some yoga can help relieve tightness & give your lower back some relief.

A lot of adults complain about back pain. (Getting older kinda sucks sometimes.)  Many things can cause back pain, but since you use so many back muscles for everyday activities, you are more likely to feel the back pain just by trying to live your life. Fortunately, yoga can be an effective way to ease back pain so you don’t have to deal with it doing daily activities.

If you have any history of lower back injuries, problems with your discs, or experience pain that lasts more than 72 hours without improving, seeing a physical therapist before doing any exercise may be  recommended. However, if your lower back pain is more of a general achiness or discomfort, it’s worth trying some yoga stretches to address any tightness and alignment issues. 

It’s sad, but true — lower back pain is just a part of life for a lot of us. According to a recent press release from the American College of Physicians, this type of pain is one of the leading causes for doctor visits in the U.S., and about 25 percent of all adults say they’ve experienced it for at least one day of the last three months. Ouch! Common lifestyle causes of this problem include too much time spent sitting at a desk, poor posture, and stress — all factors that we’re working to minimize at bulldog.

Rather than prescription drugs (especially narcotics), the ACP is now recommending that patients suffering from acute lower back pain be treated with non-pharmaceutical therapies such as exercise, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction (like meditation), tai chi, motor control exercise, and — of course — yoga. Those doses of prescription drugs are a thing of the past, and doctors have confirmed what we’ve believed to be true all along: the best path to healing is a more active, thoughtful one.

Dr. Lauren Elson, the Medical Editor of the Harvard Special Health Report An Introduction to Yoga, says:  “Yoga helps strengthen and stretch back muscles that might be tight, which improves mobility.”   Since yoga focuses on poses and slow stretching, different positions can be used to stretch and move the back and spine, bringing it into better alignment and easing the pain. Poses can also stretch tight muscles and help work out knots.

Naturally, patients who are suffering from chronic lower back pain may ultimately find that their physicians prescribe them something to ease the symptoms, but because of the new recommendations, most doctors will likely be moving away from opiods and other heavy-duty meds in favor of gentler anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants.

One thing seems clear: hitting the mat here at bulldog is one way to help relieve that pesky lower back pain — and if you haven’t started experiencing these aches, you have all the more reason to start a regular practice so you can increase your chances of not becoming part of those statistics in the future.

 

Let’s bring it to the mat with Allison!  Allison is one of our most experienced yogi’s who has worked with many practitioners with back pain, acute and chronic, through yoga therapy and postures. Allison will be walking us through the best yoga poses to ease your back pain.

All poses are completed on the floor / on back.  The back muscles and hamstrings are safely stretched while the back is supported by the floor, preventing it from rounding or pushing backwards. And doing the pose on the floor allows you to safely stretch your hamstrings without putting much stress on your vertebrae.

  1. Reclined Knee to Chest
    1. Strengthens lower back muscles. Improves flexibility of upper back and spine.
  2. Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (with or without strap)
    1. It lengthens the hamstrings, releases the low back.
  3. Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Open to Side)
    1. Opens the hips and inner thighs
  4. Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Revolved)
    1. Relieves tightness along the outer leg
  5. Reclined Figure 4 / Eye of the Needle
    1. Stretches the hamstrings and quadriceps. If the elbow is used to push the thigh, it opens the hips as well.

 

Thank you for hanging with us and chatting about Yoga for Back Pain! To get your Bulldog fix on the regular, subscribe to our channel or head over to bulldogonline.com to access our library of awesome at-home yoga workouts AND guided meditations.

 

Also, be sure to check out more videos from our Top Yoga Questions playlist to better master your flow.