Posted 16/11/2021 in Category 1

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

A study published on NCBI states that lower back pain is a common condition that affects more than 80% of people at some point in their lives. A 2017 research study concludes that the causes of lumbar spine pain vary, but the primary reason is structural changes or musculoskeletal damages in the lower back. 

The musculoskeletal system comprises hard and soft connective tissues, such as bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These musculoskeletal structures work together to support your body’s stability, flexibility, strength, and range of motion. 

According to KPT Journal, muscles in the lumbar spine support the spinal column and maintain its normal curvature. Similarly, lower back muscles along with hamstrings and hip flexors provide support to your body.

A 2019 research study shows that minor discomfort and pain in the lumbar spine improve within a few days or weeks. However, when the pain persists for more than eight weeks, it becomes chronic, increasing the risk of spinal disorders. 

A 2016 systematic review study highlights that staying active and performing lower back pain exercises can mitigate the discomfort and pain. However, it is crucial to perform the correct type of exercises prescribed by your physical therapists. 

Yoga is a holistic health approach that focuses on connecting your body, mind, and spirit. Not only does yoga strengthen your lower back muscles, but it also enhances your mental health by increasing specific chemicals in your brain. Read on! 

Benefits of Yoga for Lower Back Pain 

Yoga is an ancient practice that improves your body’s flexibility, balance, and strength. It combines deep breathing exercises and physical poses that warm up your muscles by increasing blood flow to the soft structure. Let us discuss how you can reduce chronic lumbar spine pain. 

Strengthened Muscles 

Yoga increases strength and flexibility in specific muscle groups. Many people think that yoga poses are uncomfortable and worsen lower back pain. However, this is a misconception because evidence shows that yoga poses can reduce lower back pain if performed accurately. 

When you perform a specific yoga position, you can improve your muscle strength. Many yoga poses can strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles. Remember, lumbar spine muscles, tendons, and ligaments are essential components of your spine’s muscular network, allowing your body to maintain proper posture and movement. 

So, performing yoga can keep these muscles in good condition, reducing discomfort, inflammation, and pain. A 2015 research study concludes that yoga is an essential component of the complementary alternative medicine that plays a crucial role in strengthening lower back muscles after a spinal decompression, fusion, and microdiscectomy surgery. 

So, yoga can speed up the rehabilitation process if you have undergone open-back or minimally invasive spine surgery. Moreover, if you don’t want to undergo back surgery, you can combine yoga with physical therapy exercises to reduce the risk of chronic pain. 

Spinal Alignment and Good Posture 

Maintaining spinal alignment and good posture is directly proportional to your overall health and wellbeing. In addition to strengthening your muscles, yoga can improve your posture and balance with different body parts, including your head, shoulders, and pelvis. 

In addition, yoga strengthens and stretches both sides of your body, unlike many other forms of exercise. Remember that proper alignment and posture are essential for your spine, allowing it to maintain its natural curvature. 

So, this translates to reducing discomfort, inflammation, and pain in your lumbar spine. Yoga increases balance and flexibility in your spine, builds strength, reduces the risk of osteoarthritis, and decreases stress on your spinal muscles. 

Nutrient-Rich Blood Circulation to the Spine 

Yoga incorporates different types of breathing exercises, such as mindful, diaphragmatic, and pursed-lip breathing. Each breathing type or style offers unique benefits to your body and mind. Deep breathing focuses on your lungs, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles. 

So, it is an essential part of your yoga practice. When you hold a specific position, you also hold your breath. The purpose is to have free, deep, and rhythmic breathing during inhalation and exhalation. 

That way, you increase oxygen flow to your body muscles, tissues, and cells. The oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood flow due to deep breathing reaches the lumbar spine muscles. It provides the affected muscle with more nutrients and energy at the cellular level to speed up the healing process. 

Many people with back pain take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, to reduce inflammation and pain in the spine. Although these medications (NSAIDs) are an excellent treatment option for acute lower back pain, they don’t work well for chronic pain. 

On the other hand, deep breathing exercises combined with physical yoga poses are safer methods to reduce chronic back pain and accurately perform daily activities. Although there are various yoga poses for back pain, we recommend the following for lumbar spine pain. Continue reading! 

Trunk Twisting Pose

The truck twisting pose stretches your lower back and relieves tension in the muscles. It also strengthens your core muscles, including abdominals and muscles around your pelvis. Here is how you can perform the twisting trunk pose correctly. 

  • Lie on your back and move your knees up toward your torso 
  • Extend your arms out to your sides 
  • Ensure your palms face down the mat or floor 
  • Keep your hand and knees together on the floor 
  • Roll your bent knees over your left side 
  • Stay in this position for at least 20 seconds 
  • Return to the starting position
  • Repeat the same steps on the left side for at least 20 seconds 
  • Repeat five times on each side to get the most out of this pose 

Knee-to-Chest (Apanasana)

Knee-to-chest is another effective yoga pose for strengthening and stretching your lumbar spine muscles, reducing inflammation, relieve pain by increasing blood flow. Here are the steps to perform the knee-to-chest yoga pose. 

  • Use a comfortable mat to lie on your back 
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the mat 
  • Use both hands to hold your left lower leg
  • Clasp your wrists or interlace your fingers under the knee 
  • Gently pull your left knee while keeping your right foot on the floor 
  • Pull the left knee to your chest to feel a good stretch in your lumbar spine 
  • Hold your left knee against your chest for 20 to 40 seconds
  • Keep your lower back, hips, and legs relaxed 
  • Release the left knee to come back to the original position 
  • Repeat the same steps with your right leg 

Cat-Cow Pose

The cat-cow pose is a helpful yoga pose for people with chronic back pain. It reduces tension in your back muscles, strengthens your core muscles, and relieves discomfort and pain. Follow the steps given below to perform this pose correctly. 

  • Get on your all fours and maintain a hip-width apart distance
  • Pull your belly button and arch your spine
  • Make sure your belly button is up toward your spine 
  • Drop your head forward to get into the cat portion of the pose 
  • Stay in this position for five to ten seconds, depending on your stamina 
  • Return to the starting position after feeling a good stretch in your lumbar spine 
  • Now, raise your head and fall your pelvis forward to curve your back down toward the mat or floor to get into the cow portion of the pose 
  • Stay in this position for five to ten seconds 
  • Repeat the cat-cow pose 15 to 20 times 

Final Words 

A growing body of research evidence shows that yoga offers various health benefits, including relieving pain in the lumbar spine. Make sure you seek help or guidance from a licensed physical therapist or an experienced yogi to achieve your health goals.