Studies have shown that Yoga may be one of the most effective exercises for back pain relief. In fact Health-First reporter Leslie LoBue says twisting your body into those sometimes awkward positions may actually be just the thing for lower back pain.
However, as effective as Yoga may be to reduce the pain of back problems, knowing exactly what poses to use, for how long, what to offset the poses with and in what sequence to execute them, are other factors that should be taken into consideration before using it as a therapeutic relief from back pain.
I can see a reader go “Wait a minute…if I have to go through all that, then maybe I should just take some painkillers and call it a day.”
If that applies, it is hardly my intention to scare you away from Yoga for back pain, in fact I’d rather you embraced its use as an alternative to drugs-prescribed or otherwise-for your problems, however, for your success with its use, a little bit of awareness of the correct poses to use for back pain is required and will come in handy for a lasting use of this drug-free alternative.
I will go over the common, simple yet very effective poses for back pain and also give you instructions on the proper poses to offset the spinal motions when applicable. Moreover, I will discuss the factors of the duration of time needed when executing these poses as well.
Though some of these poses may best be learned under the supervision of a certified Yoga Instructor or avid expert, with the descriptions given below-and if need be, the use of image searches on related Yoga sites and search engines-
I believe you should be able to get a good concept to at least be able to practice these poses at home.
Here are some of the best poses for back ache and since the aim here is more so back pain relief versus exercising, it is not mandatory that you hold them more than 5-15 seconds, depending on your level of comfort. Moreover, a use of a yoga mat or any other soft surface is highly recommended in the execution of these asanas.
The Shoulder-stand (Savangasana)
This, folks, is a noted panacea for near any human ailment.
Don’t panic, it is extremely easy to execute, however, depending on the severity of your case, use discretion in its use.
-Spread a thick blanket on the floor and place your yoga mat on it. Lie on the back.
-Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips and legs to a vertical position.
-Rest the elbows firmly on the floor and support the back with both hands.
-Raise the legs till they become vertical. Press the chin against the chest..
-While performing this pose, the back of the neck, the posterior part of the head and the shoulders should touch the floor. (I can assure you that you will say “Hey, I’ve done this before as a kid…this is yoga?”)
-Breathe in counts of 5-5-5 (inhalation, retention and exhalation).
-Don’t allow the body to shake.
Now for the counter poses to the Shoulder-Stand, try to incorporate the following:
Bridge Pose (Sethu Bhandasana):
From the Shoulder Stand position, stretch the legs and slowly touch the floor with the feet. It is done to bend the spine in the opposite direction.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana):
Lie on your back. Stretch the legs and keeps the hands palm down under the thighs. Raise the chest with the help of the elbows and, bending the neck as much as possible backwards, rest on the top of the head.
Try to use the ratio below to time the execution of these three poses.
6:1:2 (meaning the fish pose is held for a third of the time spent in the shoulder stand and the bridge pose held for half the time spent in the fish pose (or a sixth of the time spent in the shoulder-stand)
Or as an alternative, you could simply forego the bridge pose and apply a 2:1 ratio (shoulder-stand to fish pose) but this is only advised if you intend to do the parent pose (the shoulder-stand) for only a few seconds.
Obviously a lot of detail has gone into the description of these poses, however, that is because my intention is for you to be well informed, but for the sake of time and space. I will briefly go over the other poses you could do well to include AFTER you try the sequence above. This is if you decide to use it by the way. If not, you could do very well to simply start from the stage to be depicted in part 2 of this article.