Modern life does not encourage good back care. We spend a lot of time hunched over laptops, sitting at desks, and we work far less than we should on those all-important core muscles. The structure of the back is complex – made up of bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles, it takes very little to strain or pinch nerves and even disc injuries are far more commonplace than you might think. Although painful, most back injuries are minor – and time and care tend to aid the healing process.
If you have endured the aches, tension and stiffness of back pain, you will know just how severely it can limit your movement, interrupting day-to-day life quite dramatically. An estimated four out of five adults experience back pain in their lives, and yet, many sufferers could avoid these debilitating injuries with a little help from yoga.
Causes of Back Pain
Everyday activities can easily trigger off a back spasm where the muscles tighten and mobility restricts immediately, but sitting for prolonged periods or standing badly by not distributing your weight evenly can be a cause.
But there are other triggers too, such as:
- Lifting incorrectly
- Bending awkwardly
- Overusing muscles – sports or even through repetition
- Tension in the muscles through stress
- Being overweight
The best cure for back pain is to prevent hurting it in the first place. Never neglect your back, even the slightest symptom should be taken seriously. Even if suppleness is a thing of the past, and you have a history of backache, yoga can help. There’s no need to worry about tackling any of the more extreme yoga poses, gentle yoga postures can increase strength and flexibility in the back region, releasing tension and lengthening hamstrings.
If you incorporate the following postures into your exercise regime, you will be able to improve the health of your back:
The triangle posture helps to relieve backache and can also be practised during pregnancy. It can ease neck pain and sciatica as well as stretching the spine, shoulders and hips. There are many benefits to this posture and care should be taken for alignment.
The sphinx pose is one of the more gentle backbends so ideal if flexibility is very limited. It helps to alleviate tension and stress, elongating the spine, strengthening and opening up the chest and lungs.
This wide-legged forward bend eases mild back pain but it also stretches the legs and spine, elongating the upper body. Care should be taken to bend from the hips and to avoid curving the lower back.
The camel pose strengthens the back muscles, improves postures, opening up the chest and shoulders so it’s a wonderful pose for those who have poor posture too. It also stretches the hip flexors, abdomen and throat.
Child’s pose is a wonderful stretch that can relieve neck and back pain (support head and torso) but it also helps to relax muscles, relieving fatigue, and stretching the hips.
Yoga provides many benefits to the whole body but care should still be taken when starting out, especially if your body is less than flexible. Never over-reach to obtain more advanced postures, work instead on achieving correct alignment using blocks or belts, allowing your body to relax into the pose. This will promote flexibility, lessen the chance of having future back problems and enables you to build strength and suppleness in tight areas.
Yogasync me! Make your own Yogasync using the poses that work best for you, or try this one, specifically created for soothing lower back pain: