Lower back pain is the second most common cause of disability worldwide. It’s also one of the most common causes of missed work and unproductive time; around the world. It is estimated that 1-2 days of work are lost every time a person with lower back pain visits the doctor. Lower back pain can have a serious impact on quality of life, and in some cases, it can lead to long-term issues with mobility and functionality. Fortunately, most cases of lower back pain are treatable.
Yoga has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of low back pain. It is believed that yoga’s physical movements, combined with the meditative and relaxation aspects of the practice, may ease the symptoms of low back pain. Many of the poses in yoga can be modified to accommodate individuals with low back pain, and a yoga instructor can help with choosing the right poses for your condition. If you are suffering from low back pain and are interested in trying yoga as a treatment option, you will want to start with a gentle yoga class. As your pain subsides, you can slowly progress to more advanced classes.
It is believed that yoga’s focus on stretching, strengthening, and breathing exercises, as well as its emphasis on the mind-body connection, can help reduce low back pain. Yoga may decrease low back pain by increasing blood flow to the muscles and joints, reducing stress, and improving flexibility. It can be helpful to start with a gentle yoga routine and gradually increase the intensity as your body becomes more conditioned to the exercises. Low back pain can be acute or chronic, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Acute low back pain usually comes on quickly, may last a few days or a few weeks, and may have a clear cause, such as lifting something that was too heavy. Chronic low back pain can last for months or years. It usually has no clear cause, and its symptoms are often mild to moderate. Chronic low back pain can negatively impact your quality of life. If you have low back pain, consider trying a yoga routine. Yoga may help ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Specific yoga poses are better for lower back pain than other poses. These poses are recommended to strengthen your lower back. They provide support and reduce stress on your lower back, thereby reducing the risk of pain. You can do these poses at home or in the gym.
The best poses for lower back pain are:
Child’s pose: This is a great stretch for your lower back. It’s helpful for both physical and mental stress. You can do this one seated or lying down. Scotch forward and rest your forehead on your knees. Stay here for 5–10 breaths and let the stress melt away.
Knee to chest stretch: This exercise stretches your lower back muscles. It reduces stress and promotes blood flow to your lower back. To perform this stretch, lie on your back with your knees bent and palms facing up. Gently push your knees toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold the position for 10–20 seconds.
Cat-cow pose: This is another good stretch for your lower back. It’s helpful for both physical and mental stress. It also improves your posture. To do this pose, start on your hands and knees with your palms facing downward. Next, tilt your pelvis forward, round your back, and drop your head between your shoulders. Hold this position for at least 5 deep breaths. To come out of the pose, press your palms against the floor and lift your head.
Matsyasana: This pose strengthens your lower back. It improves blood flow to your lower back, which reduces stress. It also opens your hips and improves your posture. While in the pose, make sure that your knees are above your hips. This will reduce pressure on your lower back. You can place a pillow or a rolled towel underneath your knees for added comfort. Stay in the pose for 5–10 breaths.
Let’s dive a little deeper into some clinical research…
A study in the U.S was conducted, aimed at assessing the efficacy of 12-week yoga intervention in improving functional limitations, pain, and quality of life in patients with low back pain. Results showed that the yoga intervention was associated with significant improvements in functional limitations, pain, and quality of life compared to the control group. Moreover, the yoga intervention was found to be safe and acceptable for patients with low back pain.
The study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of yoga for treating low back pain (LBP) in a clinical setting. This study is a randomized, prospective, single-blinded clinical trial conducted with 480 subjects who were diagnosed with LBP by a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon and were seeking treatment in private practice. The subjects were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (n = 240) or a control group (n = 240). Participants in both groups attended 12 treatment sessions over 4 weeks, and all sessions included education about LBP and its management and didactic instruction on yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. The experimental group also participated in yoga postures at home as part of daily home practice for 6 months after the end of treatment sessions. Pain intensity during activities was measured by a visual analog scale at baseline, after the intervention period, and at 6 months after the intervention period using the same method. Self-reported disability level was assessed using Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire at baseline and after 4 weeks of treatment sessions as well as 6 months after completion of treatment sessions.
Over 90% of participants reported a decrease in pain intensity during activities or return.
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise that is safe for most people and comes with many additional benefits. Regular practice will help you improve your posture, reduce stress and anxiety, boost your mood, increase flexibility, and improve your overall health.
There are several different types of yoga that focus on poses and stretches to reduce stress on the back and improve flexibility. If you have lower back pain, especially from a herniated disc, you may want to start with restorative yoga. This type of yoga focuses on relaxation and stress reduction. It’s often recommended for people with chronic pain conditions. Bottom line is, if you have lower back pain you should most certainly incorporate yoga into your daily life, medical treatments, and over therapy strategy.