Yoga for Back Injury

Yoga is a low-impact, effective way to relax tight muscles and build strength—which can help relieve back pain in case of back injury and also relaxes the muscles. Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it. The appropriate poses can relax and strengthen your body.Try these beginner-level poses and see if you find relief. Remember to take it slow and stop if the pain gets worse. Keep reading to learn more about how these poses may be useful in treating back pain.

Table of Contents

1. Sphinx pose

Sphinx pose

The sphinx pose puts your lower back muscles in a more relaxed position and is sometimes recommended for people who have sciatica pain from a herniated disc. You need to lie on the ground, so use a yoga mat or thick towel.

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight. Keep your forearms on the ground next to you, tucked in close to your sides.
  • On an inhale, tighten your legs and raise your chest off the ground by pushing with your arms. Your forearms and palms should stay on the ground.
  • Your hips, legs, and feet should maintain contact with the ground, and your elbows should be aligned directly under your shoulders.
  • Hold this pose for 5 seconds, then gently lower your torso back to the ground.

Repeat this pose as you are comfortable. Gradually work your way up to 30 seconds per repetition.

2. Cat/cow pose

Cat/cow pose

Cat and cow are 2 different yoga poses, but they are typically practiced together. Here’s how to do them:

  • Get on all fours.
  • Place your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
  • Balance your weight evenly between all four points.
  • Inhale as you look up and let your stomach drop down toward the mat.
  • Exhale as you tuck your chin into your chest, draw your navel toward your spine, and arch your spine toward the ceiling.
  • Maintain awareness of your body as you do this movement.
  • Focus on noting and releasing tension in your body.
  • Continue this fluid movement for at least 1 minute.

Together, these poses form a gentle yet effective stretch for your lower back.

3. Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog

This traditional forward bend can be restful and rejuvenating. Practicing this pose can help relieve back pain and sciatica. It helps to work out imbalances in the body and improves strength

  • Get on all fours.
  • Place your hands in alignment under your wrists and your knees under your hips.
  • Press into your hands, tuck your toes under, and lift up your knees.
  • Bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees and lengthen your spine and tailbone.
  • Keep your heels slightly off the ground.
  • Press firmly into your hands.
  • Distribute your weight evenly between both sides of your body, paying attention to the position of your hips and shoulders.
  • Keep your head in line with your upper arms or with your chin tucked in slightly.
  • Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • Stand and face a wall. Place your hands on the wall between waist and chest level. Set your feet hips-width apart.

This pose helps lengthen your back muscles.

4. Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose

This gentle backbend stretches your abdomen, chest, and shoulders. Practicing this pose strengthens your spine and may soothe sciatica. It may also help to relieve stress and fatigue that can accompany back pain.

  • Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and your fingers facing forward.
  • Draw your arms in tightly to your chest. Don’t allow your elbows to go out to the side.
  • Press into your hands to slowly lift your head, chest, and shoulders.
  • You can lift partway, halfway, or all the way up.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your elbows.
  • You can let your head drop back to deepen the pose.
  • Release back down to your mat on an exhale.
  • Bring your arms by your side and rest your head.
  • Slowly move your hips from side to side to release tension from your lower back.

Does it really reduce back pain?

One small study from 2017Trusted Source assessed the effects of either yoga practice or physical therapy over the course of one year. The participants had chronic back pain and showed similar improvement in pain and activity limitation. Both groups were less likely to use pain medications after three months. Separate research from 2017Trusted Source found that people who practiced yoga showed small to moderate decreases in pain intensity in the short term. Practice was also found to slightly increase participants’ short- and long-term function. Though the research is hopeful, further studies are needed to confirm and expand upon these findings.

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