About half of all adults in the United States report having back pain at some point every year, primarily citing stress, lack of exercise, and (literal) back-breaking physical work. Prolonged and chronic back pain should always be treated by a spinal disorder expert and chiropractor, but patients can also take steps to reduce symptoms with weekly yoga sessions. In fact, a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that yoga increased mobility even more than standard medical care. Whether you’re looking for a deep stretch or combining your practice with treatment for spinal disorder rehabilitation, even a few minutes of yoga can reduce tension and stress in painful areas.
Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, try doing a simple cat cow pose to warm up the spine. Somewhat surprisingly, tight hamstrings are a common cause of lower back pain, as they connect the legs to the hips. You can gently stretch the hamstrings with downward dog, forward fold, and pigeon pose. Finishing with upward facing dog and child’s pose can elongate the spine, creating space in tight or tense areas.
Pain between the Shoulder Blades
Tension between the shoulder blades is often caused by poor posture creating tension around the rotator cuff and rhomboids. You can correct the posture with locust pose, an upward-facing plank, and cow face arms (crossing the arms behind the back). If you generally struggle with proper posture, doing these poses regularly will help release tension around the shoulders.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
For tension around the neck and upper shoulders, begin in a seated, cross-legged position. Try a few neck rolls and easy seated twists to begin your warm up. A seated forward fold also elongates the spine and stretches the hamstrings, while knee to chest pose should feel especially nice on tense shoulders. Doing an extended triangle pose in a standing position realigns the shoulders as well.
Over one billion people globally suffer with chronic back pain. Many people who do yoga regularly for their back pain can reduce or even eliminate the need for pain medication. As you work with your physician to develop a spinal disorder rehabilitation plan, ask about how you can incorporate some yoga poses into your daily routine to increase flexibility, reduce tension, and improve posture and alignment.