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Yoga For Back Pain

Hatha Flow

Yoga for Pain Relief

People have been doing yoga for thousands of years, because yoga combines mind and body practices, such as breath control (pranayama) and various forms of meditation with yoga asana to stretch, bend, twist and strengthen muscles, providing an overall sense of wellness.

Yoga helps relieve chronic pain

Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions, not to mention the wear-and-tear of age and sports injury. A recent study found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study found that yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain, but had the added benefit of leaving participants calm and relaxed. (Annals of Internal Medicine/Harvard).  In other words, for low back pain especially, the right yoga practice is as effective as your physio regime, but leaves you feeling content and calm! The studies found that practicing yoga not only improved the physical complaint, but improved mood and emotional well-being as well.

What about next pain…. are you suffering with ‘Tech Neck’?

Tech Neck is that neck pain caused by looking down (mostly at our devices), but also from desk work, driving, reading, sewing.. nearly any of our daily ‘work’. This position compresses and tightens the muscles, tendons, and ligaments at the front of the neck while lengthening the structures behind the neck. It also causes shoulders to roll forward and the upper back to slump, leaving tension and pain not only in the neck, but also the shoulders and upper back.

Since we are unlikely to ditch our devices (or our jobs), we must practice good habits, and take stretch breaks to prevent aches and pains. Start with these:

  • Be mindful of your posture- routinely sit up, and squeeze your shoulders up & back, while gently lifting the head
  • Avoid slouching-sit to the front our your seat, keep tummy and upper back active
  • Keep computer monitors at eye-level, so chin is lifted and head in resting solidly on the neck
  • Limit use of hand-held devices
  • If sitting continually, take a 5 minute break every hour to stand and stretch, look around the room and reset…

The best way to treat and prevent neck and back pain is yoga. It helps improve movement patterns, increases body awareness, and incorporates breath work. The breath is an essential tool in yoga, to aid movement, as well as encourage the release of tension, and bring on relaxation. There are pranayama techniques for warming the body, cooling the body, calming the body and stimulating or energising the body!

Doing the exercises pictured below can make a difference. Contact Michele to learn more about yoga, and a personalised practice that will improve your mobility, flexibility and well-being.

Cat / Cow pose to stretch and release tension in back
Breath in as you dip your belly down and look forward, exhale and arch back up, tucking chin towards chest

Downward Dog stretches the spine, releases tension in the neck and strengthens the upper back and shoulders- it also stretches the legs… but don’t worry about straightening the legs, or getting the heels to the ground, focus on stretching the back.

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