Who Needs Meds For Back Pain When You Have Yoga

By Mellisa Harris


While medications provide a quick fix for back pain, they’re often associated with unfavorable digestive or cognitive side affects and they may only offer temporary relief. More serious is that pain medication is associated with potential addiction issues according to the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Review. Ready to skip the meds and experience real relief now? Try yoga! A study published by The Annals of Internal Medicine shows that keeping fit with yoga can decrease your back pain.

Power Poses To Decrease Back Pain & Revitalize Strength

1. Start slowly with Downward Dog. You’ve no doubt seen the Downward Dog pose performed by yoga groups at the park. This relaxing pose is an ideal warm-up to advanced poses ahead. You’ll feel a relieving, lengthening stretch in your lower back, while maintaining confidence if your balance and equilibrium still need work as you stabilize.

How to:

  • From your hips, gently bend forward toward floor.
  • Place hands flat on mat in front of you.
  • Settle “into” your feet by flattening on mat.
  • You’ll know your hands are far enough away from your feet if your hips and abdomen feel open.

Best for:

  • A big stretch through the lower back
  • Strengthening lower back and hamstrings

2. Start flowing with Sun Salutations. The fluid movement of the Sun Salutations will not only energize your body, they’ll energize your mind and tell it to start sending blood and nutrients to tissues that may be in pain.

How to:

Photo by Tribesports via Flickr

Photo by Tribesports via Flickr

Best for:

  • This series of postures is ideal to create muscle group coordination to prevent injury and decrease pain
  • Increasing flexibility and alignment of entire spinal column

If you’re struggling with flexibility, increasing your consumption of certain nutrients like omega-3s and lean protein can help boost your bending. At laserspinewellness.com you can check out tips on healthy eating, stretching and staying motivated.

3. Warrior I for alignment. If your load keeps shifting to one side or another, associated structures such as lumbar muscles and glutes will take the brunt. Because the body is a fulcrum it needs to balance weight precisely to prevent back pain from setting in. The Warrior I is simple to perform at home and on the go.

How to:

  • Place one foot to the front of the mat with knee bent at 90 degrees with back foot almost perpendicular with heel of front foot.
  • Raise arms above head over hips.
  • Align front heel with arch of back foot.
  • Keep arms parallel or press together.

Best for:

  • Aligning and strengthening back
  • Increasing flexibility throughout the back and promoting stabilization in the hips

4. Extended Side Angle Pose. Much of the sensation involved in back pain is created by nerve root compression. This pose alleviates and prevents this compression.

How to:

  • Place one foot to the front of the mat with knee bent at 90 degrees with back foot almost perpendicular with heel of front foot.
  • Rotate torso and bring hand closest to knee down to the floor adjacent to your foot.
  • Extend other arm up over shoulder.

Best for:

  • Alleviating nerve root compression by lengthening the spine
  • Increasing flexibility and decreasing pain

Yogajournal.com offers variations on this pose if you need to ease in.

Melissa Harris

Melissa is a yoga instructor by day, mother by week, and waitress and student by night.

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One Comment

  1. Before you try a therapy or sign up to undergo a procedure that has no statistical relevance for curing back pain, get more information. Good, relevant information on low back pain can be found here: http://whatyourdoctor.blogspot.com/

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