Back pain is a very common problem. Muscles are held tense after stress, repetitive motion, bad posture, or long periods of sitting or standing. The back muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints work together; if one element is stressed out, the others will be too. That’s why stretches are so important to help loosen the back and get those energy flows moving again.
Simple stretches, as in Yoga, can alleviate daily pain and keep your whole body loose so that your daily routine doesn’t do further damage. These stretches can also help after trauma or injury.
Here are some basic Yoga poses and stretches that are beneficial for anyone suffering from back pain:
This gentle stretch is done on all fours, with your hands placed squarely under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Your weight should be perfectly balanced. Breathe deeply as you do this exercise. First, look up and let your midsection sag downward toward the mat. Then, pull your chin in towards your chest and arch your back toward the ceiling. Inhale when you look up, and exhale when you look down and remain aware of any tight muscles and tension releasing. Do this for at least 1 minute, as a fluid motion.
This pose is good for sciatica as well as other types of back pain. Start on all fours, with hands and knees on the mat. Lift your knees up from the mat so that your body is now in a V-shape, with only your hands and feet touching the mat, and your hips are in the air. Keep your knees slightly bent, and you should feel a stretch in your back and tailbone, as well as the backs of your legs. Hold the pose for one minute.
This stretch is excellent for back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and strengthening the back muscles. Stand on your mat with your feet shoulder-length apart, and your arms extended. Start with your right foot facing to the front, and your left foot pointed out diagonally. Stretch your arms out directly to your sides, with palms down. Bend down to the side from your left hip so that your arm comes down and touches the ground by your left foot. Your right arm should be pointed up toward the ceiling while your left arm is reaching towards the floor. Hold this pose for 1 minute, and then repeat on the other side.
This gentle backbend is good for your hips, back, neck, and buttocks. Lie face-down on your mat, with your legs stretched out behind you. Place your elbows on the mat in front of you, square to your shoulders and with your forearms flat on the mat. Your torso should be facing forward. Hold this position for one minute and remember to breathe. Relax while feeling the stretch throughout your upper and lower torso, hips, and spine.
This stretch is like the Sphinx but not quite the same. Lie down on your mat with your legs stretched behind you, and both palms directly in front of you. Using the strength in your abdominals, pull your upper body into a vertical position while your legs remain flat to the mat. You should lift up through the crown of your head and chest, rather than falling back into the small of your back. You can hold this pose for 5 min, if possible.
These are just some of the stretches that can give great relief if done daily. Before engaging in a program of this type, you should always check with your doctor. There are also classes that can teach you to do these poses correctly, and you can stretch your way to less pain.