Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

5 yoga stretches to alleviate your back pain
5 yoga stretches to alleviate your back pain

Lower back pain is enough to make even the toughest of us stop right in our tracks. Taking pain relievers and doing lumbar stretches can sometimes help, but you need the right exercise to help relieve back pain and also strengthen your back to protect against future back pain. Yoga is an excellent exercise for stretching and strengthening your spine through ancient positions and breathing techniques.

Yoga for back pain relief

Om…. welcome to the world of yoga. Remember, you’re here because your spine is screaming “Uncle!” and you need both pain relief and pain prevention. Grab a mat, put on loose-fitting clothes, and hobble over to some open space for your first session.

There are five basic yoga positions that can alleviate back pain:

#1: Warrior II

  • Stand with your feet about four feet apart. Raise your arms to shoulder level and turn your palms downward.

  • Turn your left foot 90 degrees to the left and turn your right foot about 30 degrees to the left as well.

  • Take a deep breath and bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle. Be careful not to overextend your knee more than 90 degrees. Turn your face to the left and hold this position for six to eight breaths.

  • Straighten up to a standing position and reverse the motion to your other side.

#2: Child’s Pose

Start on all fours and slowly slide your butt down until it’s almost touching your heels. Straighten your arms as you slide your hands all the way forward. Hold this position for five or six breaths and repeat as often as you’d like.

#3: Forward Fold

Stand straight with your arms loose and your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees loose as you bend forward at the waist. Fold your arms over the top of your head and hold the position for five or six breaths. Straighten back up and repeat as you feel comfortable.

#4: Reclining Twist

  • Lie flat on your back with your knees in the air. Place your feet flat on the mat shoulder-width apart and about six inches away from your pelvic bones. Lay your arms flat on the mat parallel to your body.

  • Shift your hips off about four to six inches to your right side. Inhale and raise your knees to hip level. Slowly rotate your knees to your left side, keeping your knees at hip level until they rest on the floor.

  • Turn your face to the right side. Take eight to ten deep breaths. Return your knees and hips back to center and reverse the position to your other side.

#5: Sphinx

Lie belly-down on your mat with your arms stretched forward and your legs together. Raise your upper body and prop yourself up on your elbows. Push forward with your pelvis and hold for at least one minute. This position allows blood to flow into your lower back region, which is a very good sign of potential healing. If this position reminds you of the Sphinx in Egypt, it’s because you now look like the Sphinx, minus the missing nose.

As always, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. If you’re suffering from severe back pain, you need to consult with an Orthopedic Associate physician before attempting yoga. We are here to serve you and help strengthen and protect your spine for years to come.

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