This incident dates back to the time when I was in the pre-final year of college. Exams were approaching and so were project submission deadlines. I planted myself in front of the laptop day in and day out, researching stuff, writing pages after pages, formatting documents and what not!
One fine morning, I got up to get ready and leave for college. But, Alas! My body refused to cooperate! I had terrible body ache and felt as if each and every part of my body acted as a separate entity aching to the core. I somehow had a hot water shower and felt better and attributed the cause of the body ache to the low temperature of the AC.
I was proved wrong, when the same experience was repeated the next morning!
Only then, did my mother bring my attention to the physical exertion that I had been going through all these days. More so, my poor posture was the culprit (for which she corrected me often). An over-the-counter pain killer helped me fight the body ache but what lingered was a back ache that completely petrified me!
I had no idea how to deal with it, as deadlines were fast approaching and I had to fix this terrible back ache of mine. Luckily, my neighbor, an established Yoga practitioner, came to my rescue. She taught me some simple poses to relieve the back pain and undoubtedly, it worked wonders! I literally felt like I got my life back.
Here’s what she taught me and what I followed to combat that monster of back ache that most of us encounter…
- Main Cause of Back Pain
- How Bad Can Back Pain Get?
- Why Yoga for Back Pain?
- Yoga Poses to Alleviate Back Pain
- Which Poses to Avoid if you have Back Pain?
- Chair Yoga
- Lifestyle Changes
- Recovering from Pain and Injury
Main Cause of Back Pain
There are various causes due to which one can suffer from a back pain; but in my case, an incorrect and poor posture took me to the doors of pain. Poor posture includes a host of postures from our everyday lives, like bending incorrectly, standing for extended periods of time, lifting up or carrying something which you are not used to otherwise, sitting with a hunched back for a long period (like while using the laptop, driving, watching TV etc.) and long and uninterrupted sessions of driving.
How Bad Can Back Pain Get?
I was shocked to read the USA’s back pain statistics and that is when I came to know, how worse things can get. Let me share it with you, for you to understand the severity of the often lightly taken matter.
According to the American Chiropractic Association,
31 million Americans suffer from back pain at any given time
$50 billion dollars: That’s exactly how much Americans spend every year on back pain treatments!
Back pain is the most common cause of being away from work and the second most common cause of visiting the doctor
50% of all working Americans experience back pain every year.
Why Yoga for Back Pain?
Yoga is not just a set of exercises. It is a wonderful mix of exercises, breathing techniques and meditation. This aspect of Yoga makes it just the right solution to alleviate back pain.
Gone are those days, when bed rest was the best way to treat a back pain. Nowadays, keeping your back active is the best remedy for shooing away back pain and what can be better than Yoga?
A recent clinical study carried out on 101 chronic lower back pain patients reports that after a 12 week session of Yoga classes, they were much less bothered by the pain as compared to patients who attended conventional exercise classes or read a self-care book.
Yoga Poses to Alleviate Back Pain
Here are 10 most simple and effective poses to chuck off that back pain that has troubled you since ages now:
1) Legs-up-the-wall Pose
2) Sphinx Pose
3) Two Knee Twist Pose
4) Locust Pose
5) Bridge Pose
9) Happy Baby Pose
10) Bow Pose
Which Poses to Avoid if you have Back Pain?
Stretching or bending to find relief from back pain is a good idea. Although, many a times people complain of aggravated pain after doing stretching exercises. This calls for the understanding that stretching just any part of the body in any order or in any way you want; is not the way out. One needs to understand stretches and bends, at least at the primary level, before beginning.
Sitting forward bends are just not advisable for those suffering from lower back pain.
Trying to develop your abdominal muscles without strengthening your back muscles can surely invite more back pain. It puts the back at an increased risk of injury.
Intense standing poses, especially one-legged poses, worsen the problem as they put more weight on one side of the joint.
Improper posture while exercising and sitting is totally not called for. Posture matters a lot when it comes to Yoga and back pain problems.
I came across this unique and customized style of performing Yoga if you can’t do it the usual way.
Chair Yoga is a collection of Yoga practices that are modified to be performed while one is seated on a chair. No special chair is required for practicing these; just a stable chair is enough, i.e. one without wheels. Chair Yoga is ideal for those who want to practice Yoga but are unable to do so due their age, physical condition (inability to sit or lie down on the floor), body weight or neurological condition.
Practicing Chair Yoga in anyway does not affect, for good or bad, the benefit one derives from Yoga. The chair aspect makes it only more doable and convenient to follow. It is good for those suffering from back pain, as they can readily practice it while sitting anywhere, be it office or home.
- Be active: Sedentary work never did anyone any good. If it is totally unavoidable for you, make sure you somehow make up for it by being active at other hours of the day.
- Ergonomic Corrections: Make changes in your workplace, to suit your needs as well as help you maintain the right posture. Eliminate the possibility of slouching or hunching forward.
- Dietary Changes: According to AARP the magazine, increasing the intake of foods, like, ginger, soy, berries, cherries, turmeric and fish can help fight pain. Also, increasing the intake of vitamins, minerals and fresh fruits and vegetables can make a lot of difference.
- Mattress: Change your mattress to one that supports your back perfectly and helps your spine stay in the correct position while you sleep.
Recovering from Pain and Injury
Yoga, coupled with a few lifestyle changes, helped me facilitate a faster recovery process.
Taking adequate rest and sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and having a strong will power to get alright can make a lot of difference.
Back pain is all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, good posture and regular Yoga routine. Nothing can then stop you from getting through what your pain has got you to!
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References:  Etal, J. (1994). Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain The Nurse Practitioner, 19 (9) DOI: 10.1097/00006205-199409000-00004. ^Back to Top^  Vällfors B (1985). Acute, subacute and chronic low back pain: clinical symptoms, absenteeism and working environment. Scandinavian journal of rehabilitation medicine. Supplement, 11, 1-98 PMID: 3161177. ^Back to Top^  Radomski, Manny W. "Yoga for back pain." Wellness Options 143: 38. (pdf). ^Back to Top^
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014
Next Scheduled Update: Aug 13, 2014