How Does Yoga Relieve Back Pain?

4 benefits of yoga for those with chronic back pain

If you suffer from back pain, you know it can make you miserable. You can try ice packs and massages to relieve the pain, but, before you shell out the dough for a day at the spa, you may want to try yoga first. Yoga’s focus on balance and strength is ideal for improving back strength and circulation, which can often provide relief from chronic back pain.

Tension relief

One of the primary causes of back pain is muscle tension. Many people are tight in places that affect the spine, such as the hips and shoulders. As you work through yoga poses, your muscles will stretch and loosen up in areas where they were previously tense. These are muscles you may not often stretch, and yoga provides an atmosphere to do so. Yoga stretches may be enough for people whose back pain is directly related to stress or poor posture.

Hatha yoga is a great form to try if you are looking for relaxation and tension release. Hatha yoga focuses on gentle postures that offer rest and restoration. Yoga props are often used to assist you if you need to do a bend, reach or stretch that is too difficult or painful for you to do. In fact, most of the positions can be modified or substituted so that you can get the most out of your yoga class without the risk of increased injury or pain.

Before you start a yoga program to alleviate back pain, talk to your doctor, as well as inform your yoga instructor at the beginning of class about your condition.

Alignment

Another aspect of yoga that can help with back pain is the emphasis on alignment, or the idea that all the parts of the body affect the others. In yoga, you won't focus solely on strengthening your back. You will also work on your legs, neck, core and other body parts. The premise is that, since the body is connected, an increase in strength and flexibility in one area of the body will positively affect the other areas.

Advanced yoga for back relief

If you are a more advanced yogi, you can try Bikram yoga to relieve back issues. The combination of physical poses with the increased temperatures allows for even more tension release and increased flexibility.

Breathing

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced yoga enthusiast, breathing is also key in back care. Yoga breathing techniques are used to circulate oxygen throughout the body, allowing for a deeper stretch. Breathing also provides an opportunity for mediation on a spiritual or emotional level, which many people believe is key to overcoming pain.

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