I was in a car wreck in my early twenties, and over the years, the back pain has come and gone, and when it starts, it’s enough to take my breath away – but – I’ve found that regular stretching, like yoga, helps keep it from recurring.
Why Yoga Stretches Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
Yoga and stretching can take some of the aches out of chronic backaches, as noted by WebMD.
A 12-week study found that yoga class participants found increased mobility, and after six months of yoga practice, the need for pain medication to relieve back pain dropped.
Intensive stretching classes were found to have similar results among participants, so if you feel like yoga isn’t ‘your thing’, you can still use the practice of stretching to ease the lower back pain you experience.
3 Specific Yoga Stretches for Easing Back Pain
You should talk to your medical practitioner before beginning any type of exercise because the last thing you want is to do something that damages your spine more when you’re trying to ease back pain.
Having noted that, these are some yoga stretches with a reputation for relieving backaches, as detailed by Everyday Health.
- Downward-Facing Dog: This pose takes a fair bit of arm strength because your weight shifts forward onto your arms as your hamstrings stretch. The stretching in the back of your legs and building your back muscles are the reasons downward dog helps relieve lower back pain.
- This is a pose I struggle with and find a bit uncomfortable, so I don’t really give it the time it may deserve. If you try it, let me know what you think of it.
- Upward-Facing Dog: This pose stretches your abdominal muscles and lets you relax your back muscles. It also takes arms strength, but not as much as the downward dog pose does. I find I can feel my back muscles relaxing in increments as I settle into this position, so in my opinion, it’s worth holding the pose a bit longer.
- Pigeon Pose: This is similar to the exercise called ‘hurdles’ from gym class. It’s like a cross between lotus position, with one leg curled close to the front of your body, and upward dog with the other leg extended back.
- It works for easing back pain because it stretches your hip rotators, and if you’re able to raise the foot of the extended leg off the ground, which is admittedly an advanced move, then it also stretches the hamstring of that leg.
If you prefer to simply stretch instead of trying yoga, look for stretching exercises that engage your core muscles, stretch the lower back, hips, and hamstrings.
Alternative Strategies to Try for Relieving Back Pain
Not all types of back injury respond to stretching, that’s why it’s so important to talk to a professional before taking on exercises that engage the spine and back muscles.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is an important strategy for lower back pain treatment. There are a lot of advantages to choosing physical therapy to relieve this type of pain because it combines the advice of a medical professional with effective techniques for healing.
Heat or Ice Therapy: Alternating between heat and ice therapy is known to be helpful in relieving back pain in some cases.
Therapeutic Massage: Therapeutic massage is an option that increases blood flow to stiff, achy back muscles to ease the pain.
Pain Medication: While some pain medications are available over-the-counter, it’s best to discuss the use of pain meds with a medical professional because some have side effects, and each has some limitations.