Can Yoga Help Relieve Back Pain?

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“So far more than 100 clinical studies in peer-reviewed journals overwhelmingly point to benefits of yoga for back pain.”

That’s what the Huffington Post reported in an article entitled “Back Pain: Is It All in Your Mind? No, and Yoga Helps,” by Loren Fishman, MD.

Even though its popularity is growing and the research is piling up, yoga for back pain is an option that’s often overlooked. We think of yoga as a way to get centered, fit and flexible, but when our back hurts, few realize yoga can help.

Yoga is becoming one of the most popular complements to treatment for back pain.

Clearing Up Misconceptions

But forget what you may have heard about yoga or seen on TV. To help with back pain you don’t need to try to twist yourself into a human pretzel or master esoteric poses that would get you guru status. Yoga for back pain is a gentle and gradual curriculum to relieve and realign the body and mind.

Why Yoga Has Become So Popular

Perhaps most of all, yoga is a popular option to help with pain because it’s flexible: it can be tailored to help with different conditions, adapted for various skill levels, and the intensity of poses can be adjusted in case of injury or discomfort.

Back pain can have multiple causes, and so, no one method can work all of the time. What’s great about yoga is that different yoga poses can be tailored to help with different problems by targeting different areas of the back and spine. Every pose has beginner versions and can be tailored to you, making it easy and comfortable even if you have no yoga skill, if you’re injured or even if you have reduced mobility because of pain.

How Does Yoga Help Back Pain?

1. Light Low-Impact Movement

When your back hurts, it becomes tough to move freely. Often people stop moving altogether and try to get rest, but this doesn’t help back pain. Partial low-impact movement – moving around about 40 percent of your normal amount – has been found to be most beneficial.

2. Gentle and Gradual Stretching

The gentle stretching of yoga provides relief from spasms and eases tightness in muscles that may be straining the back. Light flexing and bending comfortably stretches the spine and hydrates the discs, increasing spine health. Select poses help to gently cool and ease burning, aching pain and allow greater comfort and well-being.

3. Relaxation and Mindfulness

Through yoga, practitioners learn important skills that will positively impact every area of their life. Breathing and mindfulness relax the mind and body and this has well-documented benefits: practicing yoga helps release stress, calm negative emotions, and develop greater emotional mastery, all of which helps reduce back pain. When you relax the body and mind, you release tension in your back, letting your back get some much-needed rest.

Yoga uses the whole body. It engages the muscles, builds strength in crucial support areas (such as the back muscles and abdominals) to help them better support the weight of the body, and strengthens your core. It stretches tight muscles, boosting your flexibility and range of movement and it improves circulation and respiration – the main vehicles of health.

Yoga helps you increase and develop awareness of the body. It gets you in your body, aware of your body, so you know how you are using your body, placing your feet and engaging your core. Why is this important? Because this type of awareness improves reflexes and gives you greater control over your physical self. With this intuitive knowledge of your body, you move in ways that are more safe and natural, and you actually reduce the risk of injury. When I take on a student, I want them to learn to tap into the wisdom of the body and cultivate their inner teacher.

Whether yoga is for you or not also depends on the severity of your back pain. If you have a serious problem such as a spinal condition, yoga may help reduce the pain, but you may need specific treatment to help find relief and correct the problem. Yoga is not a substitute for medical attention. If you think you have a serious problem see your doctor or therapist, get all of the facts and get info about alternative treatments as well. Article Source:

 

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