Many back pain sufferers have learned yoga entirely on their own. But those who have experienced the best back pain treatment with yoga got started with professional and personalized instruction.
If there is a yoga class near you, it is best to drop by and discuss your needs with an instructor. The importance of the yoga instructor’s willingness to modify the therapy cannot be emphasized enough. At least two generally accepted forms of yoga therapy for back sufferers could actually cause further injury if you try them while you are in pain or before you have the necessary flexibility. One is the Cobra, in which you lie on your stomach and arch your back by raising your head and chest. The other is the Plough, where you lie on your back and raise your straightened legs up and over your body and head, until your toes touch down behind your head.
However, if you are able to do regular back exercises, and seem to have progressed as far as you can with them, yoga is an excellent way to further both your physical and emotional well-being.
Yoga is a very powerful system – and for lots of things other than the spiritual and meditative actions normally associated with it. It has some very effective exercise programs that amongst other things can help with lower back pain relief. But to get the most from it, you really need to work with a professional – either one on one or in a proper class.
If professional yoga instruction is not available to you, here are some exercises you can try on your own:
Relaxation position. This deceptively simple procedure tells you as much about the meditative yoga philosophy as does any yoga exercise. Lie on your back with a pillow under your knees. Keep your arms at your sides and your legs slightly apart. Let your body go limp, with neck, arms and legs allowed to shift naturally into the most comfortable position possible.
Now think about muscle relaxation. Start with your feet, ankles and legs. Concentrate on making the individual muscles and joints relax. Work your way up your body to your neck and head. Take a few minutes to do this. When you are finished, your concentration and energy will be directed towards the exercises to come.
Stretching your spine from a sitting position. Sit on the floor with your legs fully extended and your ankles touching each other. Raise your arms in front of you. Now slowly lower your upper body as far as you can while also lowering your hands to your knees. When you feel resistance, hold this position for a count of ten. Start with three repetitions and increase by one repetition every other day until you reach ten.
Here’s some simple back pain exercises that I learnt from my Yoga instructor some time ago. Don’t be fooled by how simple they may seem – hopefully because they are so simple you’ll have no problem with them:
Flexibility twist. Stand with your feet dose together. Raise your arms to shoulder level, keeping the elbows straight, and touch your hands together. Slowly turn your upper body to the left. When you meet resistance, hold for ten seconds. Return to the starting position. Drop your arms and relax for a few seconds. Perform the same movement to your right. Start with three repetitions and increase by one repetition every other day until you reach ten.
Modified Locust. Lie face down with a pillow tucked under your abdomen. Keeping your knees straight, raise one leg about a foot off the floor. Hold for a count of six, then lower the leg slowly to the floor. Do the same procedure with the other leg. Start with three repetitions and increase by one repetition every other day until you reach ten.
Mountain. Stand up straight with your arms by your sides. Breathe in and out gently and deeply five times.
Extended Mountain. Stand up straight with your arms by your sides. Then interlace your fingers together and extend your hands up towards the ceiling as you slowly lift your heels off the floor and come up on to your toes. Give yourself time to become balanced, then breathe in and out gently and deeply five rimes.
Note: None of the above exercises, except the relaxation position, should be done by anyone whose activities or motions are greatly restricted by pain.