OUCH, my back hurts! Yoga for the back

Relieving back pain with yoga postures

In fact, about 60% of humans will experience back problems in their lives. Herniated disc and sciatic nerve pain, lumbar twisting, scoliosis. The majority of back pathologies can be improved and pain relieved by a good yoga routine for the back. Several studies have shown that a 15-minute daily yoga routine with yoga postures suitable for the back, followed by 15 minutes of relaxation, eliminates chronic back pain.

What causes back pain?

Back pain is mainly due to insufficient muscle and inadequate flexibility of the muscles that support the spine:

  • poor postures used on a daily basis
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • poor flexibility in the hamstring muscles
  • insufficient muscle of the quadriceps

When back pain is related to a malformation of the spine: scoliosis, kyphosis, hyper-lordosis; back yoga significantly improves the quality of life on a daily basis by reducing pain.

Yoga posture to relieve the back: where to start?

Once the acute pain and inflammation are lessened, we can begin yoga postures for the back smoothly, and by listening to the limits of our body.

Therapeutic yoga works with respect for the body, pleasure and relaxation.
When pain appears, we reduce the intensity of the yoga posture. And if it persists, we stop exercising to put the body to rest and relax.

The areas of the back that are most frequently painful are:

  • lower back (lumbar area)
  • neck (cervical area)
  • space between the shoulder blades (chest or dorsal area).

The Benefits of Yoga for the Back

In yoga therapy, yoga postures including back bends are preferred because they “strengthen ligaments and muscles that keep the vertebral discs in a good position and promote blood circulation in the spine.

5 yoga postures to relieve lower back pain

Here are 4 simple yoga postures for you to perform, to help you strengthen the muscles of the lower back, pelvic floor and deep abdominals (oblique and transverse), while relaxing the tendons and muscles on either side of the spine. The 5th yoga posture is for relaxation.
Use your breathing through your nose as much as possible to calm your nervous system and relax the body.

1. Ardha Shalabhasana

This yoga posture helps release tension in the pelvis, strengthening the lumbar muscles, pelvic floor and deep abdominals.

  • Lying on your stomach, hands under thighs, palms down, chin on the floor so comfortable for the neck,
    Start by lifting the left leg on the exhalation,
  • In the breath, place your leg on the ground.
  • Use the lower back muscles to lift one leg after another,
  • The legs stay extended at all times.
  • Focus: on exhalation, bring your attention to the lower back, stomach and abdominal muscles.

2. Bhujangasana

These yoga postures help to deepen breathing, reduce back pain and improve the flexibility of the spine.

  • Lying on the belly, feet glued and foot plants facing the sky,
    place your palms flat on the floor.
  • Elbows under the armpits, hands flat on the ground, aligned with elbows.
  • Position your arms so that the elbows point backwards and are close to the ribcage.
  • Relax your forehead on the ground and relax your lower back.
  • With inspiration, lift your head and gently the upper body, listening to the sensations in the lower back.
  • Find the right height: comfortable and fluidly breathing. If breathing is not fluid, go down a little bit.
  • Breathe quietly through the nose, releasing back tension.
  • Keep the pubic on the ground.
  • To get out of the posture gently rest the front of the body on the exhalation.
  • Focus: In the arched movement of the back, stretching the belly and synchronizing with the breath.
  • Frequency: As long as it’s comfortable, keep the posture for 5 breaths.

3. Shalabhasana

This yoga posture strengthens the lower back and eliminates lower back pain, mild sciatica and intervertebral disc movements when these conditions are not severe.

  • Lying on your stomach, feet and legs glued, arms under the body or sides, palms to the ground, chin on the floor, neck slightly stretched forward.
  • Close your eyes and relax your whole body.
  • Gently lift your legs when they expire, the highest without strain or discomfort.
  • Put your legs on the ground and relax the body.
  • Focus: on the lower back, abdomen and heart, as well as on your breathing.
  • Frequency: Keep the posture while it is comfortable, for a maximum of 5 breaths.

4. Makarasana

This yoga posture allows the spine to return to normal shape while relaxing the lumbar muscles.

  • On the belly, the forearms bent on each other at the front of the carpet and the forehead deposited on the forearms.
  • Relax the shoulders, lengthen the spine leaving the belly deposited on the ground,
  • Open the legs wider than the edges of the carpet and the toes facing outwards.
  • Relax shoulders, lower back, gluteal muscles, legs. And breathe quietly at the belly.
  • Focus: Lower back relaxation and abdominal breathing for a wonderful relaxation.
  • Frequency: As long as it’s comfortable

5. Savasana

This yoga posture is perfect for relaxing all the muscles of the body and mind.

  • With a strain under the thighs, this posture allows to release the pressure of the lower back. You can add a blanket to the body, and maybe a flat cushion
    under the head for maximum comfort. Add music or guided relaxation if you wish.
  • For 10 to 15 minutes, stay in the maximum relaxation posture.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly, lengthening the exhalation longer than the inspiration.
  • Gently pull out the trigger with slow movements.

When we know the impact of chronic back pain on our daily activities, it’s worth investing 30 minutes a day in back yoga to live pain-free. What do you think?