Lower back pain is prolific! I’ve actually heard that 80% of people suffer from or have suffered from back pain. Yoga for lower back pain and yoga poses for lower back pain relief is a common theme. Even yoga sequences for lower back pain have been developed. With a little flick of a mouse and a little help from Google, you could easily research all this. Searching “Yoga stretches for lower back pain” and “yoga poses for lower back pain and relief,” you will find a lot of info, due to the enormity of this issue.
When I was 28 years old, I was in an automobile accident (rear-ended) and thus began a 19-year journey to heal my injured spine. This blog is meant to share some of what I’ve learned. Firstly, there is a lot of info out there and there may be a lot of conflicting info. One reason for this is that there is not one certain fix for everyone. As some yoga poses may help one person, they may actually irritate another person. So there needs to be a gathering of information, and then experimentation through implementation. Not all, yet most lower back pain is a by-product of compression. The soft disc that exist between the vertebrae becomes compressed due to a certain event, or multiple events, or simply gravitational compression over time. This compression pushes the interior gel of the disc outward, causing a bulge and on many occasions a bursting of the disc wall. The contact of this bulge or the gel (inner material of the disc) with the nerves in this region is what creates the pain people experience. One type of pain is called sciatica, which can travel through the buttocks all the way to the feet. Another type of pain is called mechanical pain, which is instigated by the movement of the compressed nerve region.
Yoga Exercises for Lower Back Pain
As I’ve stated, there are lots of yoga poses and yoga sequences (yoga exercises) for these spinal conditions, and some may help and others may not; it is very personal, as not all lower back pain responds the same. Yet there are some general principles that transcend all these healing positions and sequences, and this is what I’d like to focus on in this blog, as even a healing yoga pose or a healing yoga sequence can be detrimental if implemented incorrectly.
Principle 1) Never be extreme in any movement that involves the spine!
Principle 2) If compression is the cause, traction may be a large part of the answer. Like most of our mothers or fathers told us to “sit up straight,“ in every yoga pose or in every yoga sequence, be mindful of lengthening your spine. Even in daily life, stand or sit tall.
Principle 3) Always keep your feet hip-width apart minimally and knees slightly bent in any forward bend or backbend. When forward-bending, please keep your abdominals engaged for support.
Principle 4) There has never been a healthy relationship that responds optimally to force and aggression, including the relationship you have with your spine. One major key to all healthy relationships is a mental attitude and physical quality called gentleness. Whatever you do to help this region will be counter-productive, if you are too aggressive. Whatever yoga pose for back pain you do is only half the answer; the other half is the quality of the touch, in other words, the gentle, sensitive implementation of the pose or sequence. Just like healthy food can be harmful if you eat too much or even not enough, it’s the same with exercise or physical therapy. Lastly, this is yoga (which is mindfulness in motion), and mindfulness is a prerequisite for gentleness. So this injury now becomes an asset in cultivating a deeper and more healing yoga practice, as well as a facilitator of gentleness and maybe patience, humility and sensitivity! All the relationships in your life will be enhanced by these qualities. So maybe the back injury is not arbitrary but the teacher that has come into your life to help you develop mindfulness and benevolence?
I sincerely hope some of this info is helpful, and you get some relief from back pain!