How to Help Back Pain with Yoga

by Melissa West on March 25, 2015

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How to Help Back Pain with Yoga


Back-PainToday’s question comes from Tamara via email. She has chronic back pain. She has been to see her doctor who has through a series of diagnostics determined that she has muscle strain and poor postural habits. Tamara has requested help with a yoga program that will help her strengthen, lengthen and distress. She is also interested in healing her back, getting stronger, calmer and more flexible.

Thank you for your question Tamara, I know a lot of people with back pain will be interested in how yoga can help with back pain. Dr. Mary Pullig Schatz an MD and author of Back Care Basics explains that back pain results from a complex combinations of factors from posture, to something you may have been born with, to your mental attitude.

As yogis, we know that we are interconnected beings and our backs do not exist in isolation, but as part of our bodies. Our backs are affected by the alignment of our feet, knees and legs. The muscles strength of our legs, glutes, back and abdominal wall affect our back health. The alignment of our pelvis affects our back. The shape and flexibility of all parts of our spine including our lumbar spine (our lower back), our thoracic spine, our upper back and our cervical spine (our neck) contribute to our back health. The position of our head in relation to our shoulders also affects the experience of our back.

More than just the alignment of our body, the way we move in our bodies during all day long affects our experience of our back. Every activity you undertake can either help or harm your back. Pay attention to the way you sleep, work, drive, do household tasks, sports, leisure activities, watching television, working on your computer, all these things affect your back.

In her email, Tamara expresses her frustration to me that “I have faithfully done exercises that my PT has given me for the past 3 months which have not helped” This is often very much the case, because even if we spend an hour a day doing therapeutic exercises to heal our discontented body parts, we need to pay careful attention to what we are doing the other 23 hours a day. What is your body position like for the eight hours a day that you are at work? How about the two hours a day you spend commuting? And the eight hours you spend sleeping? What about the 2 hours you spend in front of a television, computer screen or ipad? When we look at it this way, we suddenly have perspective for why one hour of personal training exercises might not be making up for twenty three hours of destructive movement patterns.

So, as Tamara expressed in her email, it is incredibly important to pay attention to alignment and posture. Today I am going to show you one yoga posture that is great for back pain, improving alignment, and posture, building core strength.

I would highly recommend Yoga for Posture to bring awareness to your posture and alignment throughout your whole day. This video is available on our membership site and in our shop:

https://www.melissawest.com/shop/yoga-for-posture-instant-download-version/

Also on our membership site we have a whole playlist of value-added therapeutic yoga classes for back pain:

http://www.drwest.ca/showthread.php?1983-Yoga-for-Back-Pain

They include:

Intelligent Core 68 minutes

Upper and Lower Back Rehydration Sequences 27 minutes (Connective Tissues Classes)

Hippy Shorts

Intro to Foot Connective Tissue Classes

Yoga for Herniated Discs

Yoga for Sciatica

Yoga for the SI Joint

Happy Hips

Feet First

Hips and Hamstrings

I would also recommend these two free Namaste Yoga Classes that are great for back pain:

Namaste Yoga 21: Yoga for Your Kidney and Bladder Meridian

Namaste Yoga 133 Beginner’s Series: Twists

That is my best advice to you today on how to help your back pain with yoga. I would love to hear from you. How has yoga helped you with back pain? Please leave your comments below. If you liked this video give it a thumbs up, subscribe to our channel and if you know somebody who would benefit from this video, please share it with them. 🙂

 

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