Yoga and back pain

Did you wake up with a terrible backache? You don't know which posture to adopt to relieve yourself? What if yoga could help you get better? Back pain affects a lot of people at all ages. However, as you may have noticed, if you have back pain, stopping moving completely is not always a good idea. In this article, I suggest some gentle yoga exercises for your back to help relieve it. Of course, they should be practiced in addition to a consultation with your doctor or osteopath. Wondering what yoga to practice to relieve back pain? Let's get started!


How can yoga prevent back pain?

If you tend to suffer from back pain, you have certainly been advised to go swimming one day. It is indeed an ideal sport to strengthen your back muscles. But it is not the only one! Yoga is a gentle activity that helps prevent back pain. Indeed, if you do yoga regularly, you will quickly notice that your back pain disappears. Your pain will gradually become less frequent.

Back pain is the pain of the century: everyone has suffered from it. It seems that the frequency of these pains is linked to our sedentary lifestyle. Indeed, it is not uncommon to sit for long hours in front of a desk, which is very bad for our back. Moreover, with time, our bad positions end up causing serious damage: hernias, sciatica, contractures... Finally, facing all this, yoga reminds us that our body is made to move! It is capable of performing ample movements.

However, most of the time, we are very limited in our body. It is not rare that before practicing yoga, we even feel a little "prisoner" of it. Yoga is therefore useful to help you release your energy and movement. It will gradually allow you to gain space within your body. Moreover, the practice allows you to release tensions and strengthen your muscles. It is therefore possible to effectively get rid of your chronic back pain with a few simple yoga postures that are accessible to everyone.

So, it is true that doing yoga if you have back pain is a good idea to relieve it. But the best thing is still to practice yoga every day (or almost every day) so that you don't have back pain at all! Be careful, however, if you suffer from a serious illness, yoga will not erase all your symptoms in a few sessions. It is not a magic wand! However, I must admit that yoga has changed my life in the face of back pain! In fact, being very tall, I've been carrying around problems of torticollis or "blocked back" for years. But since I've been practicing yoga, those problems have now disappeared! And this is often what people who have taken up yoga can attest to.


Yoga postures for the back: upper back pain

If your back pain is located in the cervical or dorsal vertebrae, you can practice the following postures to relieve yourself:

The cocoon: Sitting on your mat, the legs are bent in front of you and the soles of your feet are placed on the floor. Your back is straight. Here, interlace your two hands behind the nape of the neck and gently bend your head forward between your two knees. This will allow your cervical vertebrae to relax. Breathe for a moment here. You can also do this posture on a chair.

Thread the needle: On all fours on your mat, raise your left arm up to the sky through the outside. Then pass it between your right arm and your right armpit and rest your left shoulder and left cheek on the floor. Your arm is outstretched, lying on the floor, looking to the right. Breathe in. You can place your right arm stretched out in front of you to intensify the posture. Then come back the same way and do the same on the other side.

Eagle posture (sitting): Place your two outstretched arms in front of each other, palms facing the sky. Pass your right arm over your lower left arm, bend your elbows, and join your hands back to back or palm to palm here. Breathe deeply and gently raise your elbows up. This posture stretches your upper back. Do the same on the other side by passing your left arm over your right arm.





Yoga postures for the back: lower back pain

If your back pain is mainly in the lower spine, here are some exercises to help you get better:

The ball: Lying on your back, bend your legs against your stomach and catch them with your hands. Hold your knees against you and gently roll your back from right to left. This helps to unblock the lumbar vertebrae. Next, lay your right leg on the floor while keeping your left leg against your belly. Then do the same thing on the left side while breathing.

Lying down twist: Lie on your back with both legs on the floor. From here, grab your left knee with your right hand to slide your left leg to your right side. The left leg remains lying on the floor. Next, extend both T-arms and look to the left side if possible. Breathe deeply here. Then do the same thing on the other side.


Yoga and back pain: postures to relieve lower back pain

The pigeon: Sitting with your knees on the ground, slide your left leg back and bring your right foot forward. This will allow you to put it under your left hip. The right buttock can be placed on the ground or raised. Your left leg is stretched back, kneeling on the floor. Place both hands under your shoulders and straighten your chest by taking a deep breath. Then do the same on the other side. This posture favours the opening of the hips which brings more mobility in the pelvis and lower back.

Lumbar support: Lying on your back, place both feet on the floor at the width of your mat. Here, glue the knees together. If possible, place a yoga brick or a dictionary under your buttocks to accentuate the posture. Stay in this position for a few minutes, relax completely.


Some additional postures to relieve back pain

Cat and Cow: On all fours on your carpet, hands shoulder-width apart, inhale by raising your head to the sky and digging your back, then exhale by pushing the floor with your hands, rounding your back and sticking your chin to the solar plexus. Repeat several times. This dynamic posture helps to relax the entire spine and is a great exercise to start your yoga practice.

Child's posture: If you have back pain, this simple resting posture will allow you to completely relax your back muscles to provide effective relief. To begin, sit on your lap. From here, rest your buttocks on your heels and place both arms far in front of you on the mat. Your feet are completely relaxed on the floor. Lie with your stomach and chest on your knees and place your forehead on the mat. Breathe in here.

Then, if you wish, without moving the rest of your body, place your two arms to the right, palms together. The head can follow the movement. Take a few breaths here. Then, place both arms to the left, palms of your hands on top of each other.




Yoga and back pain: positions to get better

Upside Down Dog: On all fours on your mat, place your legs at hip width. Place your hands on each side under your shoulders and when exhaling, plant your toes in the ground and raise your knees. Push your hips up and back. Here, keep your back straight, in line with your arms. If necessary, move your feet back slightly to the back of the mat. Lengthen the nape of the neck, lift the shoulders away from the ears.

Spinal Half Twist: Sitting on your knees on your mat, slide your buttocks to the right to sit to the right of your heels. Then place your left foot flat on the outside of your right knee. Stick the palm of your left hand flat against your mat at the back of your back. Place your arm against your back to help it stay straight. Then raise your right arm up to the sky and bend your elbow. Place it on the outside of your right knee. Look over your left shoulder. Each time you breathe in, keep your back a little straighter. With each exhalation, increase the tension a little more towards the back. If you can't bend your elbow, you can do the twist with your right arm extended, pressing against your right knee.


What are the benefits of yoga for the back?

If you see back pain yoga sessions popping up all over the place, it's no coincidence. Yoga has many benefits to strengthen your muscles and limit your pain.

Yoga allows you to strengthen your whole body: Practicing yoga will allow you to strengthen your muscles, not only your back muscles but also your abdominal and shoulder muscles for example. All this will have an impact on your whole body and will help reduce your pain in the long term.

Yoga brings movement to the body: In our daily life, it is difficult to move all our muscles. Instead, we spend a lot of time in the same position and our movements are limited. So yoga is a very complete activity that brings movement to every small area of our body. This allows us to limit the tensions that sometimes creep in. Tensions that could, in the long run, create bigger problems in your spine...


Listening to yourself and yoga: a way to limit your pain?

Yoga allows us to listen to ourselves: Nowadays, we often live without awareness of our body. This pushes us to put ourselves in situations that are delicate for our back: carrying heavy things without bending our legs, spending days sitting down. But when we start doing yoga, we usually get into the habit of stretching more often. In the same way, one day you will be able to listen more easily to your body: its limits, its tensions. This will limit the negative effects of your daily life on your health.

In addition, the psycho-emotional link when you suffer from back pain is not to be neglected: when you think about it, the expression "having your back full of it" often takes on its full meaning. Thus, yoga can also help you to evacuate your psychological tensions, your stress in order to reduce the frequency of your back pain. A winning combo!

Do you dream of a life where your back will no longer cause you pain? Putting yourself to yoga is a good first step to get there. I hope that these few postures will have helped you regain some movement in your spine and relieve you. However, once your back pain is gone, I strongly advise you to sign up for a yoga class near you in order to reap the benefits of regular practice on your body.