Need Relief From Back Pain? Try Yoga
Back pain can be extremely debilitating and it’s more common than you would think. In fact a staggering four out of five Americans will suffer from it at some point. But did you know that yoga offers a scientifically proven solution for relief from back pain while providing many other health and wellness benefits?
Bed Rest Or Yoga?
For many years doctors would recommend extended bed rest to patients suffering from back pain. However, over time and with more focus and research, this thinking has shifted. While lying in bed does minimize stress on the lumbar spine, it also causes muscles to lose conditioning, among other problems. So it’s not a good long term solution.
Rather, the prevailing advice is to get up and get moving and the faster you will recover.
This is where yoga plays an important role. Yoga has been found to help alleviate back pain by increasing flexibility and muscle strength. Relaxation, stress reduction, and better body awareness may also play a role.
Yoga Or A Pill?
Yoga has been shown to help reduce the reliance on pharmacological medication. A study published in the journal Spine, reviewed people with back pain who did two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks. The results confirmed that there was a 56% reduction in pain. They also had less disability and depression than people with back pain who received standard care, such as pain medication.
In addition the results suggested a trend toward the use of less pain medication in those who did yoga. And when the researchers followed up with the participants six months after the study, 68% of the people in the yoga group were still practicing yoga an average of three days a week for an average of 33 minutes per session. This indicates that they found yoga to be helpful and most likely enjoyable too!
Relieves Arthritis Pain
Yoga is a gentle way to help improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around painful joints.
Harvard Medical School has shared many studies on the subject, including “a 2014 study of 36 women with knee osteoarthritis, which confirmed that those who did yoga experienced significant improvements in their symptoms compared with women who didn’t do yoga. In another 2015 study, women with rheumatoid arthritis reported improvements in their physical health, walking ability, pain levels, energy, and mood, and had significantly fewer swollen and tender joints, after doing two hour-long yoga classes a week for eight weeks.”
Here are some handy yoga poses that Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer Tyrone Wessels suggests to help strengthen the muscle groups that will help relieve your back pain:
Surya Namaskara A (Sun Salutation)
First a warm up.
Seated Sukhasana Twist
Maintain an absolute erect / straight spine as you perform a gentle twist to the left and right side. Five twists to each side.
Lying prone, lift the head, the chest, roll the shoulders back, lift the legs, activate the glutes and keep the legs together. Perform Salabhasana 10 times, holding at the top of the posture for 5 – 10 seconds, 5 second rest in-between
Yoga is an extremely powerful health solution. And it’s far more than just a workout—it’s a combination of four components: postures (like tree pose), breathing practices, deep relaxation, and meditation that can transform your health on many different levels. So back pain sufferer or not, you are sure to reap the benefits of this enjoyable practice.
Remember to consult your physician before undertaking any form of exercise program.