There are many reasons you may be experiencing back pain. Whether it is caused by an injury, a herniated disc, or any other condition, a yoga workout can provide relief for even the most uncomfortable and stubborn pain.
Back pain affects 70–90% of Americans at some point in their lives, and for some, the pain is chronic. Many people do not seek treatment for their back pain, often because they think it will go away with time or because they want to avoid seeing a doctor. If you are looking for a natural pain remedy for the discomfort in your back that doesn’t involve seeing a medical professional, yoga may be the perfect exercise for you. NJ Spine & Ortho is here to help you learn more about the different ways that yoga can reduce persistent back pain.
Yoga Helps with Posture and Upper-Body Strength
One of the core aspects of yoga is stretching, with many poses that are meant to increase movement, improve flexibility, and reduce discomfort. One of the ways it achieves those goals is through the strengthening of the upper body.
Although yoga is considered a low-intensity exercise, continued practice can train muscles in the back and core to be stronger over time. This is beneficial for those who suffer from chronic back pain. When the muscles in your back are weak, they cannot maintain a set position for long without becoming overexerted and returning to a pose that feels more comfortable, such as a hunched or leaned-over position.
Continued yoga practice can improve your posture, build upper body strength and reduce back pain by meticulously strengthening and lengthening muscles throughout the body. When your posture is straight, it puts less strain on the rest of your spine, neck, and back, making yoga a valuable tool for anyone living with chronic discomfort.
Improved Spinal Mobility from Yoga
Yoga can help support the spine and improve its alignment while also promoting flexibility. One of the most helpful styles of yoga for persistent back pain is Kundalini yoga, which focuses primarily on the spine and back. More advanced yoga poses may not be in your repertoire as a beginner, but you can still find relief through some of the most basic poses and stretches.
Daily yoga stretching in the morning can help the spine by relieving tension that gathered while sleeping as some people can toss and turn at night and wake up with pain in their back the next day. By incorporating frequent yoga poses into your daily routine, you can give your body better mobility and improve your spinal discomfort.
Trying Yoga to Help Lower Back Pain
Yoga can be especially effective at alleviating lower back pain. By holding various poses, specific muscle groups throughout the back become stronger. Many yoga poses offer a gentle approach to strengthening both the back and abdominal muscles—both of which are essential to a healthy spine. When your back and abdominal muscles are strong, it helps you maintain proper posture and movement, reducing back pain.
In addition to strengthening, yoga also stretches your muscles, reducing overall tension. By holding individual poses from 30-60 seconds, it allows some muscles to flex while others achieve a deep stretch, increasing flexibility and mobility in your muscles and joints. If you are experiencing back pain, stretching is essential, as it is an effective tool for reducing or even eliminating pain.
Yoga Provides Total Body Relaxation
Another benefit of practicing yoga is how relaxing it can be. One great lesson you can take away from yoga is that relaxing is not just a mental state—it can affect your entire body, especially your back. Muscles and joints feel much less tense after even a brief yoga practice because most poses encourage the body to stretch and release built-up tension.
Yoga focuses on deep breathing techniques that are used to calm your mind. These breathing exercises help keep stress levels low and manageable. The best part is that these techniques can be used any time, anywhere, even when you aren’t on your yoga mat. Breathing exercises have been shown to reduce stress in the entire body, especially tension in the back, and you can do them right from your desk.
Important Things to Consider When Exploring Yoga for Lower Back Pain
While yoga is an extremely effective tool for alleviating lower back pain, it’s still a form of exercise, meaning injuries can still occur. Most commonly, injuries occur when people move through poses too quickly, failing to activate their core muscles and rather “dropping” into a pose. This leads to improper form and can increase the risk of injury.
As with other forms of exercise, when doing yoga, it’s always best to make slow, controlled movements rather than racing through a sequence. Specifically, if you are new to the practice, it’s important to take things slow, as you probably don’t have the foundation of strength needed to execute the poses at 100%.
When doing yoga, it’s best to activate your muscles to create a solid foundation. Then, you can lengthen into a pose following proper form to achieve a healthy stretch. A good rule of thumb is to always activate your core muscles, as this will prevent you from compensating in other muscle groups.
If you are new to yoga or are especially stiff, it’s a good idea to ask the teacher for ways to modify the pose to meet the current state of your body. There are a variety of props used in yoga classes, such as blocks, bolsters, straps, etc that allow people to modify asanas to be in the pose in a healthy way for their body. It’s best to approach the teacher before the class to tell them about your injury or the pain you are experiencing. This way, they can advise you on the safest ways to hold poses for your body.
Additionally, if you are exploring yoga as a mechanism for healing back pain, it may be best to start with slower-paced practices, such as yin and restorative, as opposed to faster-paced options, such as vinyasa.
Find Long-Term Back Pain Relief with NJ Spine and Orthopedic
Regular yoga practice helps improve core body strength, flexibility, and posture—all of which can help ease back pain. However, there are times when home remedies and exercise aren’t enough to completely solve chronic back pain. Skilled specialists like those at New Jersey Spine and Orthopedic can help patients discover a variety of treatment options that will allow them to find a renewed lease on life.
When you’re ready to work with a team of reputable doctors who can help significantly reduce your pain, call (866) 272-9271 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.