Yoga For Low Back Pain

Back pain is a pretty common affliction.  Most, if not everyone, has experienced it at one point in their life.  Here is some easy yoga to help with those times when you have it, or you can use these to help stave it off.

This will be pretty different from your standard “Yoga for Low Back Pain articles” (to which there are a LOT already posted) because here we will be addressing your Thoraco-Lumbar Fascia.  I’ve covered it in detail here and we used it in twisting here.

Quick summary:  Your TLF connects your butt to your opposite shoulder.

postoblique

It is how you transmit force across your body when you walk, run, and move!

The Thoraco-Lumbar Fascia becomes the cause of a lot of generalized low back pain when we sit for long periods of time and when we have poor posture.  This hinders its ability to glide and results in forces being transmitted where they shouldn’t when we do move (usually where you are experiencing pain).

I’ll break this down into two parts:

  • Dynamic or breath and movement based postures/exercises
    • Moving your hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine to better your force transmission across your TLF (which in turn decreases your pain)
  • Static or holding and relaxing
    • Establishing a neutral spine and using the ground to relax tension in the TLF

niccagedogletsgo.gif

Dynamic:

These are great to do when you wake up, think of it as a quick warm up for your day!

The rule of thumb for all of these goes:

1 breath – 1 movement & move slooooooooowly

***None of the follow poses and movements should cause any pain or discomfort, if they do please do not continue to do them and seek a movement professional (Chiropractor, PT, Yoga Therapist, etc) to help you***

Windshield Wiper Easy Twist [Hips & Thoracic Spine] 

  1. Start with your back flat on the ground
  2. Bring your knees over your hips, flex your toes to your shins (90 degree angles in your hips, knees, and ankles)
  3. Grab a block or a pillow, place it between your thighs (so they are about hip width distance apart)
  4. Exhale – slowly lower your knees to your left side
  5. Inhale – slowly lift your knees to center
  6. Exhale – slowly lower your knees to your right side
  7. Inhale – to center & repeat about 3-5 cycles.

You can stop there, or hold an easy twist by letting your knees fall to the left side of your body and extending your right arm long.  Switch after a few breaths.  Try to picture the stretch occurring from your hand all the way down into your knee along the top leg side.

Revolved Child’s Pose [Shoulders & Thoracic Spine] 

  1. Start in Child’s Pose, with your knees together, you chest on your knees, and arms outstretched in front of you
  2. Bring your right hand behind your head with your elbow wide (as if you were doing a crunch)
  3. Inhale – Lift your right elbow to the sky, keep your left hand firmly rooted on the ground
    1. Only lift as high as your body allows (Do not force anything here)
  4. Exhale – Bring your elbow back to neutral
  5. Repeat this a few times (3-5) with full inhales and exhales, then switch to your other side

At the end, you have the option to relengthen your arms out in front of you and hold Child’s Pose for a few breaths.  Work on expanding the chest by rolling your shoulder blades down and back (as if you were sliding them into your back pockets)

Upward Plank Windshield Wipers [Hips – Internal & External Rotation] 

  1. Start in Upward Plank Pose, with your knees bent, heels planted on the ground.  Bring your hands under your shoulders, maybe a little further back.
  2. Lean back with a flat back by bending your elbows
  3. Exhale – lower both knees to the right
    1. Always keep both heels & both hips planted!  (Try not to bring your knees any lower once your hip or feet try to lift)
  4. Inhale – Bring your knees back to center
  5. Exhale – Bring your knees to the left
  6. Repeat

**You may notice that your hips begin to walk  and move up towards your feet as you continue to repeat this, try to keep your hips planted without moving them.  Simply reset and work on keeping both hips and feet planted, without walking your hips to your feet

***Progression:  Eventually you may be able to reach a point where you can lift your arms, rather than lean back on them.  Remember the basic form of maintaining a flat back, keeping your hips and feet planted, and avoid scooching forward if you do.


Static Postures:

These are great to do after a day of work or school.  It’s a great way to spend some time being still while still restoring your body and de-stressing from your day.

The goal here is a neutral spine and a relaxed back.  All of these postures should be relaxing and are meant to be held at least 5 mins.  Feel free to stay there for up to 30 mins!

Legs Up The Wall

LegsUpTheWall.jpg

  1. Start by planting one of the sides of your hips up against the wall.  Then arc your legs above your hips
  2. Bring your butt as close as what feels comfortable to the wall (ideally your butt will contact the wall)
  3. Add a comfortable slight bend to your knees
  4. Rela your back flat to the ground
  5. You can place a towel, blanket, or a small pillow under the curve of your low back
  6. You can use the above to also support the curve of your neck (Try to keep your chin in the same line as your chest and forehead – neutral neck)
  7. Breathe, put on some music, or watch TV and relax

**This simple pose works by reversing gravity to your legs.  This process helps bring a lot of static energy and fluid out of the legs and is especially beneficial after a long day of sitting.  Some restore manuals say that about 30 minutes here carries the same benefit to your nervous system as a nap.

Supported Savasana

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1309.
Supported Savasana
  1. Bring your back flat to the ground
  2. Prop your legs up slightly wider than hip width distance on something so that your knees are slightly higher than the rest of your body.
    1. This can be achieved with a pillows, a bolster, blocks, books, etc
  3. You can support your neck with a towel, blanket, or pillow (Try to keep your chin and forehead in line with your chest – neutral neck)
  4. This also works with a chair.

*I love to spend about 20-30 minutes here, put on a guided meditation, and relax. Here’s some good free ones on YouTube: Yoga NidraManifestation, Breathing

**With proper support you can prop your chest and neck up (Like a Supported Bound Angle Pose) and watch TV in this restorative back relaxing position.


Final Note

Some people ask me what kinds of yoga I do on a daily basis, and these are pretty much it.  Restoring motion to your hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine, can be so profound to helping you out of back pain.

The benefits of everything listed above are:

  • Relaxation of the muscles of the neck and the back
  • Creation of a whole body sensation of well-being,
  • Promotion of healthy posture
  • Restoration of great quality in your movement.

For similar poses check out my other posts:

You can also use your pain free back to do some Mindful Walking

powersextremerela.gif

Feel good my friends,

In each an everything you do and each and every way you move  🙂

-Dr. YG

 

4 thoughts on “Yoga For Low Back Pain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s