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6 Best Yoga Exercises for Back Pain

Team AckoMay 23, 2024

Back pain has become increasingly prevalent in modern and contemporary society, hindering everyday tasks such as commuting and cooking. Fortunately, yoga offers a solution for back pain sufferers. 

Through specialised asanas, yoga targets and alleviates not only physical discomfort but also mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Research supports its efficacy, indicating that yoga can effectively enhance spinal flexibility and reduce back pain. By integrating yoga into daily routines, individuals can experience relief from the challenges posed by back pain, enabling them to lead more comfortable and fulfilling lives. Let’s take a closer look at the best yoga exercises: 

Yoga

 

Contents

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Now, if you are curious about which yoga asanas you can perform to alleviate back pain, keep reading - discussed below are some very effective yoga exercises for back pain.

Essential Gear for Yoga Asanas

To practice Yoga Asanas effectively, you'll need a clear space on the floor with ample room for movement. A yoga mat or thick sheets are essential to provide cushioning and support during poses, with the thickness chosen based on personal comfort. Opt for comfortable clothing made from breathable fabric to ensure unrestricted movement. 

Additionally, a mat towel can prevent your mat from becoming slippery due to sweat, enhancing stability and safety. Staying hydrated is crucial, so keep a bottle of water nearby to sip on during breaks or after your practice. These basic necessities create a conducive environment for a fulfilling yoga session, allowing you to focus on alignment, breath, and mindfulness in your practice.

Lower Back Pain Causes

Lower back pain can stem from various sources. Bulging or herniated disks, along with osteoarthritis, can lead to discomfort due to compression or pinched nerves. Additionally, strains or tears in muscles, often caused by prolonged sitting or standing, contribute to this pain. 

Weak stabilizing muscles result from sedentary lifestyles, making simple tasks like lifting heavy objects or twisting awkwardly problematic. Thus, a combination of medical issues and muscular weaknesses can manifest as lower back pain, emphasizing the importance of both physical activity and proper posture for maintaining spinal health.

How is Yoga Helpful for Lower Back Pain?

Yoga can be beneficial for lower back pain, depending on its cause, but it's crucial to tailor your practice accordingly. Consultation with a healthcare professional is essential to understand the root of the issue before beginning yoga for back pain. While yoga might not directly address the cause, it can alleviate symptoms by relaxing tight muscles and strengthening weak ones. Research suggests that incorporating breathwork and tension release in yoga can improve mobility and reduce perceived pain intensity. With a notable increase in Americans turning to yoga for pain management, its efficacy is increasingly recognized in holistic wellness practices.

Cat-Cow Pose

This yoga pose helps relax your back muscles and brings mobility to your spine. It also helps stretch out your neck, shoulders, and chest.

Cat-Cow

To practice this yoga pose for lower back pain, follow these steps:

  1. Get down on all fours.

  2. Keep your knees beneath your hips, and wrists beneath your shoulders.

  3. Equally distribute your weight among the four points.

  4. Take a breath, lift your head, and then let your tummy sag toward the mat.

  5. During exhalation, move your navel toward your spine, bury your chin towards your chest, and arch your spine upward.

  6. As you perform this movement, stay mindful of your body.

  7. Concentrate on identifying and letting go of any physical tightness or tension you experience.

  8. Keep up this fluid movement for at least a minute.

Downward-Facing Dog

A yoga pose for back pain, this stretches your lower back muscles, and strengthens them along with your spine.

Downward-Facing

To practice this pose, follow these steps:

  1. Repeat the two steps of the Cat-Cow pose. (Steps 1 and 2)

  2. Raise your tailbone, stretch your spine, and bend your knees slightly.

  3. Lift your heels a little bit from the ground.

  4. Firmly press against your hands.

  5. Pay attention to how your hips and shoulders are positioned, and equally distribute your weight between the two sides of your body.

  6. Continue holding this position for 1-5 minutes.

Child's Pose

Performing this pose can resemble a resting position but instead, it is an active stretch; and helps with stretching your back, spine, hips, and ankles. This yoga pose helps to alleviate back pain, stress, and exhaustion by releasing tension from your body muscles.

Child's

To practice this pose, follow these steps:

  1. Lean back on your heels while keeping your knees joined together.

  2. Advance your hands as you stoop forward so that your arms are fully stretched.

  3. Recline your body and comfortably rest on your heels.

  4. Lay your forehead lightly on the ground.

  5. Concentrate on relaxing your back, while your upper body sinks heavily onto your knees.

  6. Continue to remain, for more than 30 seconds, in this position.

Bridge Pose

This yoga for back pain poses; stretches and strengthens your spine, hamstrings, and hips. Thus, it helps in relieving back pain and even headaches to an extent.

Bridge

To practice this yoga exercise for back pain, follow these steps:

  1. Rest on your back and place your palms on the mat and your arms at your sides.

  2. With the feet level on the floor and the knees bent, bring your heels close to your buttocks.

  3. Raise your tailbone and simultaneously dig your arms and feet into the ground.

  4. Elevate your legs till they are parallel to each other.

  5. You can place your hands beneath your hips for support, or bring them together and interlace them.

  6. Maintain this posture for at least a minute.

  7. Release by carefully lowering your spine and knees together to the ground.

Sphinx Pose

This yoga pose helps to bolster your back, spine, and buttocks. It involves stretching your shoulders, chest, chin, and back. It also aids in releasing physical tension from your back.

Sphinx

To practice this yoga for back pain exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Rest on the stomach and extend your legs behind yourself by using your lower back, thighs, and buttocks muscles.

  2. With your forearms on the ground, tuck your elbows beneath your shoulders.

  3. Raise your head and upper torso gradually.

  4. To support your lower back, gently elevate your lower abdomen and contract them.

  5. Make sure you are uplifting through your spine instead of slumping into your lower back.

  6. Relax and keep your sight straight ahead.

  7. Continue holding this position for 1-5 minutes.

Locust Pose

This yoga pose involves stretching and toughening your arms, back, thighs, and legs.

Locust

To practice this yoga pose for lower back pain, follow these steps:

Rest on your stomach with your arms close to your body and palms facing upward.

Turn your heels out to the side while rubbing your toes together.

Lay your forehead lightly on the ground.

Slowly raise your head, torso, and arms to whatever extent you can.

Look directly ahead or slightly upward.

Behind your back - you can clasp your hands and conjoin fingers.

Continue holding this pose for at least a minute.

Optimal Time to Engage in Yoga Asanas for Alleviating Back Pain

Utilizing yoga asanas as a preventive measure against back pain is indeed advantageous, yet it's imperative to approach them with caution if you're already experiencing discomfort. Consulting a physiotherapist is essential, as they can assess your specific condition and advise on the suitability of yoga poses for your back pain. While many yoga poses are generally beneficial for alleviating back pain, certain conditions may require tailored approaches or avoidance of specific poses.

Your physiotherapist can provide personalized guidance, ensuring that your yoga practice aligns with your current physical state and therapeutic needs. They can offer insights into which might exacerbate your condition and which ones could provide the most relief. Moreover, they can recommend modifications or alternative exercises to address your unique concerns effectively.

By collaborating with a physiotherapist, you gain a comprehensive understanding of how yoga can complement your treatment plan. Their expertise ensures that your yoga practice not only targets your back pain but also promotes overall well-being without risking further injury or discomfort. Prioritizing professional guidance fosters a safe and effective approach to integrating yoga into your routine, empowering you to manage your back pain proactively while optimizing your physical health.

Does it Actually Work?

A small-scale study conducted in 2017 compared the efficacy of yoga practice versus physical therapy for individuals suffering from chronic back pain. Remarkably, both groups exhibited similar improvements in pain management and activity limitation over the course of a year. Notably, after three months, participants in both groups were less reliant on pain medications, indicating the potential of both yoga and physical therapy in managing chronic back pain.

Similarly, another study from the same year discovered that individuals who engaged in yoga experienced slight to moderate reductions in pain intensity in the short term. Additionally, participants demonstrated marginal enhancements in both short- and long-term functional capabilities as a result of their yoga practice.

These findings offer promising insights into the effectiveness of yoga as a therapeutic intervention for alleviating back pain. However, the limited scale of these studies underscores the necessity for further research to validate and broaden these initial observations. By conducting larger and more comprehensive studies, researchers can provide a more robust understanding of the benefits of yoga in managing back pain, thus informing more tailored and effective treatment approaches for individuals suffering from this common ailment.

The End Note

The above yoga exercises should be carried out slowly and gently and not in a hurry - otherwise, they won't prove to be as effective. Though you can practice the above yoga asanas at home and experience great relief from back pain, a better option is to perform them under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Given below are some of the FAQs about yoga for back pain.

Who should not practice yoga asanas for back pain?

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Women going through menstruation and people with osteoporosis should not practice yoga asanas for back pain.

Which type of yoga is best for lower back pain?

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Downward-facing dog is the best type of yoga for curing lower back pain.

Which type of yoga pose should be avoided in case of back pain?

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Bow pose, when performed correctly, is a great pose to engage your glutes and stretch your chest, shoulders, and thighs. However, this pose is too strenuous for those who have sensitive back or back issues and thus should be avoided in case of back pain.

When should you start practicing yoga in life?

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It would help if you started practicing yoga from an early age. It will prevent you from suffering back pain and keep your body healthy and away from complicated health diseases.

What's the best way to practice yoga exercises for back pain?

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The best way to practice yoga exercises for back pain is in the presence or guidance of a yoga instructor.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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