Pain localized in the lower back is one of the most common medical complaints in this country. According to the Mayo Clinic, the vast majority of individuals will, sooner or later, experience low back pain. It is also common across all population groups, from the highly trained athletes to sedentary people. What few people know, however, is that using yoga and exercise for back pain relief is incredibly effective.
When you wake up, it is likely that you will sit down quite quickly thereafter, having your morning coffee and your breakfast. You then sit again in order to commute to work. Depending on what type of work you do, it is likely that you will spend most of the day sitting down, and then commute (in sitting position) back home, and then sit on the couch to relax. This is nothing short of marathon sitting, and is actually one of the leading causes of back pain. Anatomically speaking, when we sit as much as we usually do, the illiopsoas and hamstring muscles start to get shorter, straining the lower back. This is why you may want to consider using yoga and exercise for back pain relief.
Of course, not everybody engages in a sitting marathon. Manual workers and athletes, for instance, spend most of their time on their feet and they move a lot. Yet they still experience lower back pain as well. This is due to the nature of their work or activity, which places serious tension on their lower back. These actions are repeated again and again, and this can lead to overuse.
The exercises described below are suitable for both sedentary and moving people. Those who are mainly sedentary should consider adding some cardio exercises as well, as this will give them protection from issues such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A word of warning, however, is that people who have sciatica or a slipped disc, should not do any deep bends forward, as this may worsen their condition.
Using Yoga and Exercise for Back Pain Relief
The following two yoga poses should be incorporated in your daily routine. If you regularly work out, make sure you do them after you’re finished as well. While doing the poses, make sure you inhale deeply through the nose, and exhale through the nose again.
1. The Supine Hamstring Stretch
Place yourself in the supine position (on your back), and then bend the right knee, inwards to your chest. Get a strap (or a towel if you don’t have one), and place it around your foot’s arch. Hold on to the towel or strap as you straighten the leg, pushing it to the ceiling. Push out with both heels. Should your lower back feel like it is straining, bend the other knee, placing the foot on the ground. Try to hold for between three and five minutes, then repeat on the other leg.
2. The Two Knee Twist
Lie in supine position again and bend both knees into the chest. Lift your arms up so they form a 90 degree angle with your armpits, so that you form a T shape. On exhalation, lower the knees to the right until they touch the ground. Make sure your shoulders firmly press down, not allowing them to lift from the ground. Hold for one to two minutes, then repeat on the other side.