Yoga for Back Pain Relief

Yoga is a form of exercise that incorporates poses to help stretch and strengthen the muscles. Yoga includes breathing exercises, meditation and stretching designed to encourage relaxation. There are many benefits of incorporating yoga into your fitness routine, including back pain relief. The yoga poses below are specifically designed to help with back pain.

Child’s Pose Stretch

Child’s pose, also referred to as ‘balasana’ is a resting pose that gets its name because you form the shape of a baby as your spine is curved similar to a fetus. Child’s pose allows you to stretch and elongate the spine.

  1. Begin on all fours.
  2. Sit hips back to rest on ankles/heels.
  3. Reach arms overhead or set arms beside hips.
  4. Rest forehead on ground or mat while lowering your chest to the ground.

Cat Cow Stretch

Cat Cow, also referred to as ‘Bitilasana’ comes from ‘bitil’ meaning ‘cow’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture.’ Both the cat and cow poses stretch the lower spine, hips and core muscles while opening the chest and lungs. This allows for easier breathing.

  1. Begin on all fours with a neutral spine and with your arms directly under your shoulders and hips over knees.
  2. Inhale as you bend your back, creating a C shape in your spine (spinal flexion) and round the tailbone while allowing your chin to rest on the chest.
  3. Exhale as you draw your stomach down towards the ground (spinal extension) while you take your gaze up.

Supine Bridge Stretch

The supine bridge is a great exercise for the gluteus maximus but also works all thigh, hip, core and back muscles. This stretch allows you to strengthen and stretch the hip and lower back muscles which can help alleviate pain in those areas.

  1. Lie down on your back with knees stacked over your ankles, arms by your sides and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Elevate the hips off the ground and squeeze the glutes.
  3. Slowly lower the hips back down and repeat the exercise.

Sphinx Stretch

Sphinx pose is a gentle backbend that helps to open the chest, lungs and low back and takes pressure off the wrists as it is performed on the forearms.

  1. Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extending behind you, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and your chin on the mat.
  2. Bring your arms up and rest your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other.
  3. Press your forearms into the floor and lift your head and chest off the floor.

Cobra Stretch

The cobra stretch is similar to the sphinx stretch; however, instead of performing the stretch on your forearms it is done on your hands. It warms the spine and helps to rebalance the natural curve of your lower back.

  1. Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extending behind you, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and your chin on the mat.
  2. Bring your hands up and rest them under your shoulders with elbows pressing back.
  3. Press your hands into the floor and lift your head and chest off the floor. Tilt head back and shoulders down.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is a standing pose and mild inversion that builds strength while stretching the whole body. It is named after the way dogs naturally stretch their entire bodies.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands.
  3. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling and draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you.
  4. Gently straighten your legs and arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle.

 

If you are unsure about the underlying cause of your back pain, please contact Raleigh Orthopaedic for a consultation at (919) 781-5600 in order to rule out possible types of back pain (such as spinal instability) that may be aggravated by exercise such as yoga.

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