Back Pain has become one of the most common reasons for absenteeism from work, second only to the common cold. And it’s not just those in their 40s, 50s or above who suffer from back pain, even young adults in their 20s and 30s have been facing this issue. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that most people suffer from back pain at some stage in their life.
Low back pain can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, and therefore, it is important to nip this problem in the bud. That said, in this post we list a few yoga asanas (postures) that can help you treat your back pain. But, before we do that, let’s have a quick look at some of the common causes of lower back pain.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
The best way to treat a problem is to avoid the causes (or reasons) that lead to it. If you, too, don’t want to end up landing in the bed because of a back problem, here are a few causes of lower back pain that you must avoid.
- Driving for a long period
- Lifting heavy object with a jerk
- Overweight which puts pressure on back muscles
- Strenuous exercising without prior warm-up/stretching
- Incorrect posture while sitting, standing or performing any activity.
Yoga Asanas for Strengthening the Back
- Stand straight with legs joined together.
- Bring your arms around your chest, interlocking the fingers firmly.
- Turn your interlocked palms inside out
- Exhale and stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder level.
- Inhale and raise your arms above your head until they are perpendicular to the floor.
- Feel the stretch in your palms. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
- Stand straight with your hands at the side, keeping your legs a foot apart.
- Place your hands on your waist with thumbs in front and remaining fingers at the back.
- Exhale and slowly bend backwards (as much as you comfortably can).
- Hold the posture for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Inhale and return to your normal position.
- Lie down with your feet together, hands by your side and palms resting on the ground.
- Inhale and slowly lift both your legs without bending the knees to 90-degrees angle.
- Maintain the position with normal breathing.
- Exhale and slowly lower your legs to the ground.
4. Setu Bandhasana (or Bridge pose)
● Lie down with your feet joined together.
● Keep the hands on your side with the palms resting on the ground.
● Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor shoulder level apart (Your ankle and knees should be in a straight line).
● Inhale and lift your back and hips off the floor. Roll in your shoulders and let your chin touch your chest. Let your shoulders, feet and arms support your weight.
● Tighten your buttocks and hold the posture for 30 – 60 seconds.
● Exhale and release the pose.
● Lie down on your back with legs together.
● Inhale and fold both the legs from the knees.
● Hold your shin bone with both your hands.
● Push your knees towards your chest with your thighs touching your stomach.
● Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
● Inhale and come back to the original position with legs straight on the floor.
6. Bhujangasana (or Cobra pose)
● Lie down on your abdomen with your feet together and hands placed beside the chest on the ground.
● Inhale and lift your head and chest off the floor without using your arms.
● Pull up the kneecaps, squeeze the thighs and the buttocks.
● Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and breathe normally.
● To release, exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor.
● Turn the head to one side and relax your back, hips and legs.
7. Makarasana (or Crocodile pose)
● Lie down on the floor on your stomach with your hands under the head.
● Place the palms under your shoulders in a relaxed way and close your eyes.
● Stretch your legs as far as possible with the toes pointing outwards.
● Let your body relax.
● Breathe normally and slowly.
● Feel the whole body touching the ground and the deep relaxation in all your muscles.
● Relax in this position for 2 to 5 minutes.
8. Ustrasana (or Camel pose)
● Bend on your knees with legs and feet at a hip width distance and hands behind you.
● Engage your core and press your hips and thighs forward.
● Lift your chest and reach back, touching your heels with your hands.
● Push your spine forward, extending your ribcage and broadening your chest.
● Maintain the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
● Slowly return to your original position.
● Sit on the floor with your legs stretched.
● Bend your right leg straight and keep your left foot beside your right knee and the left knee raised upwards.
● Inhale and raise the arms shoulders high keeping the elbow straight.
● Exhale, twist to the left, place the right arm by the outer side of the left knee and hold the left ankle with the right hand.
● Take the left hand behind the back and put your palm on the floor.
● Look back towards your left and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing normally.
● Repeat with the other side.
10. Marjariasana (or Cow/Cat position)
● Start on your hands and knees with wrists under your shoulders and keep hip-width apart.
● Inhale and drop your belly, lifting your chin and chest, gaze upwards.
● Stretch your shoulders outwards and move into cat pose.
● Exhale and pull your belly towards your spine lifting back up like a cat stretching its back.
● Bend your head towards the floor.
● Inhale and move back to cow pose.
● Exhale and move back to cat pose.
● Repeat 5 – 10 times.
● Lie down on your back and hands near the thighs and palms facing upwards. The legs should be slightly apart with the toes pointing up.
● The body should be relaxed starting from your toes and going up to the head.
How does Yoga help in relieving back pain
Yoga asanas can do a whole lot of good to the back. These asanas not just help alleviate back pain, but they also help strengthen the back. Here are some of the benefits of practicing Yoga.
● Speeds up the recovery
● Prevents recurrence of injury
● Increases blood circulation to the muscles
● Helps in maintaining a regular level of activity
● Strengthens the muscles of lower back and legs
Word of advice
If you have been experiencing pain in the back, practicing the yoga asanas mentioned in this post can help. But before you start, it’s advisable to seek your doctor’s advice. Once you get the green signal, you can start practicing these asanas under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor or trainer. The best part is that besides helping with back pain, yoga also helps cure other issues such as low blood pressure, low heart rate, insomnia, anxiety and more.