Here is How Yoga Provides Temporary Back Pain Relief
Yoga is good for a lot of things and relief of back pain is just one of them.
There are many ways in which yoga can help with back pain and, depending on the cause of your low back pain, the relief may be long lasting or temporary. In some cases yoga can make the back problem worse, so be careful and listen to your body. If you notice your symptoms getting worse then stop and consult with a doctor to find out exactly what’s wrong.
If you do think you need to consult with a doctor the types with the most experience diagnosing and treating back pain are chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, and neurosurgeons. For most back pain problems it makes sense to use conservative treatment (chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, pilates, physical therapy) before jumping to an invasive procedure (surgery, injections). If you’re considering surgery it’s usually a good idea to get a second or even a third expert opinion before making a decision.
Now back to yoga’s benefits for back pain relief…
Improving flexibility and range of motion is probably the biggest benefit of yoga when it comes to back pain relief.
One of the most common causes of back pain is muscle tone imbalances. Muscles pull on bones and influence both joint alignment and range of motion. So if some of the muscles that attach to a joint are tighter (more contracted) than others you’ll have a joint that can hurt and ache.
Many of our common daily activities decrease our flexibility and range of motion. For instance, sitting (in your car…at your desk…on the couch, etc) can wreck a back! Certain muscles groups (hip flexors especially) get too tight and others (like the glutes) get too weak causing a pattern of imbalance and back pain is often the result.
Another key benefit from yoga in terms of back pain relief comes from the stress relief.
Although not as easy to explain, but very real – chronic stress can make small problems hurt and ache like big problems. Yoga has a calming and relaxing effect on most people and simply reducing their stress for a period of time can reduce the intensity of pain. Less stress gives your body a better chance to heal injuries.
Lastly, yoga can improve muscle strength.
If you’ve ever been through a yoga class then you know it’s not as easy as the experienced yoga enthusiasts make it look! Holding the poses and working on your balance and posture requires work – a lot of work. Improving your muscle strength and endurance is almost always a good idea and when it comes to back pain. Many of the poses and the transitions between them require good core strength. Increasing the strength of your core muscles (abdomen, oblique abdomen, glutes, hamstrings) also helps with most types of back pain.