5 Yoga Poses That Can Ease Low Back Pain

July 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

Low back pain is a common complaint, especially in older people and people who sit a lot during the day. The lower back is defined as the five lumbar vertabrae, which make up the curve of the spine just above the sacrum. Pain can originate from any of several interdependent anatomical sources, including the soft discs between each vertabra, the surrounding nerves, and the supporting muscles and ligaments. Stretches for the lower back can help treat and prevent pain, but it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis before starting any new exercises since not all stretches are appropriate for every condition. A regular yoga practice, which includes many different types of movements that are dependent on the spine, is a good way to maintain spinal health as you age. 

1. Pelvic Tilts

© Barry Stone

Begin lying on your back for pelvic tilts. If you can’t lie down comfortably, you can also do these standing at the wall. Gently rocking your pelvis up and down has the effect of flattening your low back against the floor (or the wall). It’s a good way to introduce movement into a stiff spine.

2. Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Pose

© Barry Stone

Roll over on to your stomach for sphinx pose. Make sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Press into your forearms to keep your shoulders away from your ears. This position emphasizes the curve of the low back, which can be helpful for herniated discs

3. Cat-Cow Stretch – Chakravakasana

© Barry Stone

Come to all fours for cat-cow. This stretch, which moves back and forth from flexion to extension, expands the action of the pelvic tilt into the whole spine, from tail bone to neck. Balancing on your hands and knees also helps build core strength. This basic movement can have a big impact on people who sit all day.

4. Child’s Pose – Balasana

© Barry Stone

Forward bending is not recommended for some types of back pain, so make sure you’re diagnosed before trying this. To lessen the angle of the forward bend, you can also take a bolster under your chest and head. Your arms can rest beside the body or be outstretched in front, whichever is more comfortable.

5. Chair Twist

Spinal Twist in a Chair

© Barry Stone

Twists are also tricky for some conditions, but if you can do them the rotation is great for keeping your spine flexible. Take twists slowly and do not force yourself into position. 

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