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
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.
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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.
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