If you suffer from persistent back pain, chances are that yoga is one of the last forms of exercise you would consider for your back condition. However, what many do not realize is that yoga can potentially alleviate your pain—instead of avoiding bending your back, which can cause stiffness and exacerbate your condition, the right yoga poses can actually strengthen your spinal column and relieve your pain. Before starting an exercise regimen, however, it is important to consult with a spinal specialist such as Dr. Solomon Kamson of the Spine Institute Northwest. You want to ensure the exercises are appropriate for your case and will not cause you additional pain.
The mountain pose is a great position to start your yoga routine. Its benefits include an improvement in core strength and overall balance. Begin by standing with your feet pointed inward. Your heels should be slightly separated and your big toes should be touching each other. Relax your shoulders and arms, allowing your arms to hang by your sides. Focus on your feet as you close your eyes, envisioning that you are planted firmly on the ground. Lift up on the balls of your feet, then onto your toes. Be sure to keep your weight evenly distributed. Next, find your balance as you settle down on your flat feet and fan out your toes. Be sure to engage your thigh muscles, however, do not lock your knees as you lift your pelvic bone toward your navel. Keep your chin parallel with the floor as you relax your shoulders. Then, relax your facial muscles as you focus on breathing until you are ready to move on to the tree pose.
The tree pose is designed to reduce stress, improve posture, strengthen the core, and improve overall balance. Begin by shifting all of your weight to your left foot. Reach your hand down and grab your right ankle. Lift the right ankle to the left thigh, or, if you can’t reach, up to your calf. Once you are in this pose, stretch your spine. You should feel the spine lengthen as your pelvic bone points inward and tailbone points toward the floor. Next, put your palms together in front of your chest as you move your shoulder blades inward. Take slow, steady breaths before switching to the other side of the body.
The goal of this pose is to stretch the muscles and tendons supporting the spine, while opening up the spaces in your vertebrae. Begin by kneeling. The hands should be below the shoulders and the knees should be below the hips. Spread your fingers as you look downward, engaging the muscles of your abdomen. Inhale as you lift your head and tailbone, curving the lower back inward. Then, as you exhale, tuck the tailbone inward as you release the neck toward the floor and drop your head.
The goal of this pose is to promote overall relaxation. Begin by sitting on the heels of your feet. Stretch your hands and arms outward in front of you as you bend your upper body forward. Your chest should be near your knees. Stretch your arms forward, as far as you can while feeling comfortable. Breathe deeply as you focus on the muscles in your spine and back lengthening.
If you are suffering from persistent back pain and conservative treatments like physical therapy or exercise haven’t helped, you should consider consulting Dr. Solomon Kamson, founder of the Spine Institute Northwest. Dr. Kamson can help you start on the path to getting back your life, with an accurate diagnosis and a strong knowledge of the many treatment options that are available to help back pain sufferers.