Yoga for back problems

Yoga for back problems- No more back pain!

I struggled with severe back pain for two straight years and not just me but over 6 million Americans are faced with lower back pain which is the most popular type. Anyone with severe back pain like me can tell you that it can make your life hell as everything that we do requires the support of our spine. Back pain can cause you mood swings, and seize your freedom of flexibility and happiness. However I feel fortunate that I tried yoga for back problems and have overcome that pain permanently from the root cause and improved my posture too.

What causes back pain?

Back pain is caused both by activities and no activities. Poor posture and deskbound lifestyle both play a major role for back pains. Age is also one factor, as we age our ligaments and tendons shorten which further restricts our flexibility of movements. Car accidents, sports, falls all contribute to back pain problems. An example of sports would be footballers that keep crashing into each other, this causes their backs to compress. While the others with less violent lifestyles suffer from hamstring tightness that constantly pulls the pelvis, this restricts the movement of the spine and strains the lower back.

What is the real permanent cure for back pain?

So the question is, how can we relief ourselves from back pain?

They are both temporary and long-term cures. Most of us are aware that pain-killers and anti-inflammatories provide you relief but it is temporary. With on-going basis pain it is hard to rely on such drugs. Surgeries are never the best option as they don’t guarantee results and lead to many side effects. Chiropractors are a safe option but not all people benefit from them.

Yoga by far is the most gentle approach to back pain. It does require any drugs, is not painful and does not cause any side effects. With these positive factors and no damage to your body, don’t you think it is worth a try after all? Plus imagine the power to heal yourself by using your body as the only source of treatment. However, this does not mean that you only limit yourself to yoga, try out other alternatives too like physiotherapy is also very effective to reduce back pain and you will know what works best for you.

Yoga cures the whole body so it can permanently help us to get rid of back pain from the root cause. Many experts believe that most of the time back pain is caused by nothing other than stress but yoga helps relieve stress too by calming the brain.

How yoga helps with back pain? 

The basic yoga poses for back pain like the downward dog, cobra pose, child pose, bridge pose helps stretch and strengthen the back.

  • Yoga gently massages the back and abdominal muscles which are the core muscles for supporting the back.
  • Regular practice of yoga improves body posture and alignment of the head, shoulders and pelvis.
  • Yoga creates awareness and help individual realize what is the right body posture and the incorrect body posture.
  • Yoga changes our mental perception, (our perception that we are suffering from ailments, causes more pain) which creates positive thinking that lead to faster recovery.
  • Yoga increases the endurance capacity of our body to pain.

What research on lower back pain revealed?

Based on a study in the journal spine (sept, 2009)  yoga not only improves function of the lower back but helps relieve the symptoms of chronic back pain.

“Both yoga and physical therapy are excellent non-drug approaches for low back pain”, said lead author Dr. Robert Saper of Boston Medical Center.

Based on another research conducted  by West Virginia University on 90 candidates with chronic lower back pain. The research was performed to compare the effectiveness of Iyenger yoga vs standard medical care. Half of the group was assigned to 24 weeks Iyenger yoga classes that were conducted by experienced and certified yoga instructor with the help of two experienced assistants while the rest half followed standard medical care. The yoga classes were held two times a week, the other times participants were handed yoga dvd’s to practice at home for 3o min. At the end of the research, the Harvard health publications revealed that the “Iyenger group experienced a 29% reduction in functional disability, a 42% reduction in pain, and a 46% reduction in depressive symptoms at 24 weeks”. The yoga participants experienced no adverse effects due to the practice and 68% of the participants still continued to practice yoga three times a week for 30 minutes after the experiment.

A new study based on lower back pain published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (july, 2017), this research was conducted on 320 candidates with chronic lower back pain. All the participants were randomly assigned to three groups, one consisted of 12- week yoga program, second consisted of physical therapy for 12 weeks and the third group were handed a book which contained detailed information on lower back pain, followed by follow-up information every couple of weeks.

At the beginning of the research, the participants reported moderate, average and severe back pain. About two-third of the participants were on pain-killer drugs prior to the research.At the end of the research, a noticeable difference in pain was achieved by 48% of yoga participants, 37% of physical therapy participants and only 23% of the participants who followed the book and instructions on lower back pain.

“Yoga saved my career” says the retired tennis player Justin Gimelstob

Yoga cured Justin Gimelstob back pain

Justin Gimelstob a retired tennis player talks about how yoga saved his career. When he was 26, he says “I had back problems, two herniated disks”. He further mentions that “ everything was locked up, and the pain was so bad I could barely move around on the court. I had nine cortisone shots, and I was taking tremendous amounts of Vicodin”. He was so upset that he thought his career was over when his companion Alex O’Brian suggested him to try yoga for back problems.

Just after couple of weeks of trying yoga, he noticed a huge difference in his back pain. It was unbelievable for him that the pain was gone and he did not take any pills at all since then.

Manduka

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I would love to hear your views on this post and your experiences with yoga or if yoga healed you on anything. Even if you are beginner and is looking forward to start yoga, I am here to support you and provide you great insights about yoga.

Best Regards

Ramandeep (Founder)

 

References and sources that were used is listed below,

Capouya J. Real men do yoga: 21 Star Athletes reveal their secrets for strength, flexibility and peak performance. 2003; 112-113

Pergrum J. Dynamic yoga: A complete mind and body workout. 2016: 72-75

Yoga as good for low back as physiotherapy

Lower back pain? yoga therapy can help

10 Comments

  1. Great post. I think probably more than half of adults who cross 40 would have had some back problem at one time or another, be it mild or severe. And I can attest to the effectiveness of yoga to relieve back pain but to also relieve all types of ailments. As you said, one of the benefits of yoga is that it basically uses the body to heal itself. I was hoping for a video demonstration.

    Also do you have any suggestions for chest issues. I lifted a heavy printer at the office and I’ve been having chest issues ever since (the connection in the middle of the chest between the two halves of the rib cage). Any suggestions. you can email me if you wish.

    Thanks

    1. Hello Kevon

      Thank you for sharing your experience and I am sorry that you had muscle pull over such a sensitive area. I would recommend visiting a doctor as it is not worth the risk, if you try poses without consulting a doctor you could make it worse. I will definitely post one of my favourite videos for back pain.

      Best Regards
      Raman

  2. Thank you so much for this information. I have back pain, and I am always looking for natural ways to cure it. I know my postures is back, my Physical therapist has told me this on occasions. I use to do yoga, but haven’t done it in a few months. I love Yoga…btw. I will certainly pull out my mat. Great post.

  3. Hello Kay
    Yes this is the mistake I made too when I quit yoga as I had no time. But it is very important to take out time for our bodies or else we will be left with nothing but to take care for our bodies when situation gets out of control. I love yoga too and I was doing yoga for 13 years when I quit and now again I have started doing it regularly since 6 months now. I hope you start practicing it soon too and you will feel the difference with your back pain. Thank you for visiting this website.

    Best Regards
    Raman

  4. Great stuff. I have struggled with back pain since I do a lot of walking and standing around while at work. I do stretch a lot and an pretty flexible, but I will try the stretches you proposed. Any precaution I should take if I have injured my meniscus.

    1. Hello Bing
      If you have injured your meniscus, then you should do gentle poses that do not cause a lot of pressure on your knees. If you propose to do more dynamic poses then first allow your body to warm up as that will make sure that your knees are not exposed to a state of shock. While working on the poses make sure your knees are in an alignment. If you find a pose difficult or causing stress on that area then avoid it. Also hip opener poses help strengthen legs like the butterfly pose. You can also do chair yoga and seated poses as they are equally beneficial. Thanks for visiting my website.

      Best Regards,
      Ramandeep Kaur

  5. Every week I set in an office chair all day and it ends up leaving my lower back all tightened up. Not only am I not smart about this, but then I often go and lift weights doing dead lifts which tightens my back up even further. I think I really need to start doing some of these stretches you list above at home before bed every night to help relieve the tightness in my back, this looks like a great starters list. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Craig,
      The back problem starts mostly with a desktop lifestyle that most of us have, we sit all day in the same pose, most of the times it is the wrong posture and also no movement for long periods of time causes stiffness. In the office try to do shoulder stretches which can be done while sitting in the chair this will help with back pain. Before you lifts weight in the gym it is important that you first do easy stretches to warm up. When you suddenly do weight lifting without warming up, that exposes your muscles in a state of shock and back starts hurting. Yes these exercises are great for starters, and very effective for the back too.

  6. If yoga was a pill, doctors would prescribe it. Your article inspired me to get back to it again. I’ve been focusing on cardio and weight training, but have been feeling stiff, so it’s time to work on flexibility. Thanks for the tips and suggestions too!

  7. Hello Linda,
    Thank you for your comment. I wish doctors created awareness about yoga and natural remedies to heal instead of just giving patients pain killers. Very few doctors advice patients on natural healing steps. I am glad my advice helped you take the right step. Thank you for dropping by.

    Best Regards
    Raman

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