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The Benefits of Yoga for Back Pain

woman's back

Many still think of yoga as something that froo-froo ultraspirtualists do, but the practice spans thousands of years. You gain physical, mental and emotional benefits from yoga which empowers people to take up the practice, and many lose their negative perceptions of yoga when they decide to take it on as a part of their treatment plan.

As you get older, you will likely suffer back pain at some point — especially when modern society dictates that doing your job means sitting in a chair for most of the day or straining yourself physically senseless with tons of bending and lifting. Variation in physical movement matters in the day-to-day to keep your body healthy, and many turn to yoga to help heal back and neck pain.

There’s a Yoga for You — What It Is and Isn’t

Many types of yoga exist, and each stresses its own mindset and theory with various postures. You could spend a lifetime studying the ancient practice of yoga, but essentially, yoga focuses on three aspects:

  • Body position and posture
  • Breathing
  • Meditation and state of mind

Overall, yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise. You go at a pace comfortable for your body and continue to challenge yourself gradually by remaining focused on your breathing in the present. From gentle to hot yoga, there’s a yoga for you out there.

Talk with your physician about the pros and cons of making yoga part of your treatment plan. You need to know what your limitations are and at what increments you should challenge yourself. Only your doctor knows that information, and you can adjust your yoga practice to avoid postures that may aggravate your condition.

How Can Yoga Improve Back Pain?

Yoga provides multiple healing benefits for those with back pain. Yoga may assist you by:

  • Healing back muscles with stretches and strengthening
  • Improving back posture
  • Increasing recovery time
  • Preventing the reoccurrence of injury
  • Maintaining daily activities to avoid disability

Yoga can help ease persistent lower back pain through strengthening and stretching back and leg muscles gently. Your blood circulation also improves and delivers restorative nutrients to injured tissues.

Yoga Poses for Your Back Pain

When yoga programs are specially designed for back pain, imagine all the good they do! One study found that 20 percent of patients dropped their pain medicine and relied on yoga to manage their pain since they experienced increasing wellness results. Experts also link back pain to depression, both of which are manageable through a focused yoga practice which strengthens back muscles and the spine gently and gradually, unlike weightlifting. Talk about these four back beneficial yoga practices with your doctor:

Stretching

Stretching helps manage pain by reducing tension contributing to discomfort in all your muscles. Most folks are sedentary in modern society, which adds to back pain. Loosen and stretch those muscles to get out of the same position you hold all day — yes, you, bent over your desk right now. You can stretch at your desk — do an upward dog to stretch your back and shake out those wrists and fingers.

Target the Spine

The triangle pose strengthens your ab muscles and back while stretching it. The standing open pose targets the whole spine, and you gently twist, which loosens up your back. The bow and locust poses also provide similar strengthening benefits.

Use Twisting Poses

Feeling more adventures? The seated forward fold, cow, cat and downward dog help keep your back muscles flexible. You’ll twist and work out other muscles groups which help support your back. It sounds crazy, but it works.

Downward-facing dog lengthens your back which provides the best benefits for drivers and office professionals — and people with bad backs in general. You can also use downward dog to alleviate back tension and strengthen your shoulder area. You carried the world up there for too long, and tension gets relieved in the middle and lower back.

Focusing on Breath

Focusing mindfully on your breath does a world of wonder for your mental state, but correct breathing matters significantly when practicing yoga. You should inhale and exhale while moving through a pose instead of holding your breath.

You don’t hold your breath while strength training, right? Don’t do it during yoga. Regular breathing circulates the blood and keeps your yoga flow going.

As you age, back pain will strike, and it may happen from sitting at your desk as a part of your regular routine. When you can’t control these circumstances, your mental and emotional health suffers, influencing your perceptions of pain by adding stress on top. Negative emotions and high stress levels make the cycle of bad back pain continue.

Stop the pain in its tracks by working on a thorough treatment plan beyond pain medication with your doctor. Sitting in recovery only makes it worse — use gentle yoga to aid your recovery process, healing the mind, body and spirit.

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