Back pain can sideline you from your favorite activities for several days or several weeks. You do not even have to wrench your back to experience unexpected lower back pain. Sitting at a desk all day or sleeping in an odd position can cause back pain that just will not go away. However, there is good news if you are in pain. The art of yoga can help work out the soreness in your lower back and heal achy or injured muscles. This ancient form of exercise is also excellent at releasing tension in the back and giving you better posture. Good posture will help you avoid lower back injuries in the future, keeping your back strong, flexible and healthy.
Yoga is a fairly safe form of exercise for sufferers of low back pain. However, you should always be careful in performing the poses. It is a good idea to see a doctor to rule out serious injuries to your lower back. A doctor can tell you whether your back pain is caused by a simple muscle strain, a back sprain, a damaged lumbar disk or a compressed nerve, like sciatica.
Here are three quick and simple yoga poses that can relieve the ache in your lower back. When you do yoga you should be barefoot or in supportive shoes. You should not do yoga in socks because your feet might slip, causing injury. Another thing to remember is that these exercises should never cause sharp pain or increase your back pain. If they do, you need to immediately stop. Listen to your body at all times.
- Child’s Pose
This pose is an amazing overall stretch for the back muscles. If moving around is painful, this stretch can be done in bed. To begin child’s pose, you should kneel with your toes pointed back and your buttocks resting on your feet. Your knees should be about hip distance apart. Inhale deeply, and release the breath. As you do so, begin to bend forward at the waist until your trunk is lying on or between your thighs and your forehead is resting on the floor. You can rest your arms on the floor next to your legs with the palms facing upward, or you can stretch your arms out in front of you.
As you do this exercise, you should think about what you want your body to do. The whole point of this exercise is to create length through the spine, so concentrate on making your back longer. Breathe deeply and slowly as you feel your muscles relax into the stretch. Stay in this position for five long breaths, and then reverse the sequence to upright.
- Downward Facing Dog
Downward dog is another yoga pose that will create length in the back. Therefore, when you do it, concentrate on stretching the spine and creating as much space as you can between the vertebras.
To begin this pose, get on your hands and knees. Your knees should be directly under your hips, and your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms flat on the floor.
Take a deep breath, and, as you exhale, begin to curl your toes under, lifting your knees off of the floor. Push back along the legs, and lift your hips until the legs are straight. The heels should be planted firmly on the floor. Allow your head to hang with the muscles relaxed. Stretch through the arms and shoulders, but do not allow your chest or back to sink towards the floor. The upper body and lower body should form a perfect, upside-down V–shape. Focus on lengthening the back, neck and shoulders. Hold this pose for five deep breaths, and then reverse the sequence to release. Alternately, you can come to a standing position to release the pose by walking your hands back toward your feet and then straightening the body. You should engage your abdominal muscles as you rise to support your back muscles.
- Triangle Pose
Triangle pose can be done immediately after downward facing dog. This pose is excellent for working out tension in the sides of the lower back. However, if you have lumbar disk trouble you may not want to use this pose, as it can put pressure on those disks.
You should begin in downward dog position. Move the right foot about three feet to the front, keeping the legs straight. Place the right hand next to the inside of the right foot. As you do this, raise your body a bit so that the back is straight. The left foot should remain in its original position. Raise the left hand toward the ceiling, and open up the chest and shoulders. Turn your head to look up toward the ceiling. Keep in mind that the hips do not twist with this movement and the back remains straight. Stay in this pose for three breaths. Press the feet into the floor, and engage the abdominal muscles to come to the upright position with both arms extended. Then, repeat downward dog and reverse the sequence to work the opposite side of the body.
While you may not want to go to the doctor immediately after your injury, long-lasting pain can be a sign of more serious problems. If your back pain has lasted for longer than a week or two, you may want to see your doctor to find out exactly what the cause is. This will help you avoid yoga poses that will aggravate your injury.
Whatever the cause of your back pain, when doing yoga, you should always pay close attention to the way that your body feels. Never do an exercise that increases the pain in your back. Take each movement slowly, and do not push your body beyond your level of comfort. Additionally, you should always use proper form to make sure that you are working the correct muscles and keeping your body in alignment.
It is likely that you’ll get on better with one or two of these and maybe struggle with another. While it is worth giving each of these three a fair try it’s true that doing two well will be better for you than doing three badly! So give them a go and see which you get on with.