The nature of yoga makes it well suited to solve back issues, like those that arise from conditions of postural misalignment. According to a study conducted by the “Annals of Internal Medicine” in December 2005, yoga has been found to be more effective than an educational book or traditional forms of exercise in helping patients who have lower back problems. It is particularly helpful for back conditions like scoliosis, lordosis and kyphosis.
The specific yoga poses that help cure back pain include corpse, cat, wind-releasing, sage twist, palm tree, fish, locust and standing forward bend. All of these poses are suitable even for beginner students to practice.
One particular feature of yoga practice that makes it a suitable cure for back pain include the fact that you can use props to help you get into the poses that weak or tight muscles prevent you from fully doing. Yoga is also a whole body system, which means it helps you develop awareness of your body and emphasizes proper physical alignment. Yoga’s emphasis on deep breathing additionally helps alleviate back pain on a deeper level.
Doing yoga helps create a balance between the strength and flexibility of your muscles, which is often what is missing in people who experience severe back pain. By releasing tension in your muscles around the back (such as your neck, shoulders, hips and upper thighs), yoga helps alleviate back pain while developing muscular strength. Yoga also helps improve your posture, which helps prevent back pain. By encouraging you to breathe deeply and make slow, precise movements, yoga also helps prevent you from improper movements, which are also a contributing factor of back problems.
There are many styles of yoga that span from gentle to vigorous and intense. Some styles emphasize your emotions and spirituality, while others (particularly hatha yoga) emphasize the physical postures more. For people with back pain, hatha yoga is a good style to practice, especially styles of hatha yoga that focus on rest and restoration. It is a good idea for people who have back pain to stay away from specialized and challenging forms of yoga like Ashtanga, Kundalini and Bikram yoga. People with back pain should rather try to find a gentle yoga class.
It is not a good idea for people who have back pain to try to teach themselves yoga. You should first consult a doctor before practicing it to find out what movements to avoid, safety modifications of certain poses and the most productive level of physical challenge for your back condition. People with back pain should learn yoga from classes that are described to be specifically for back pain sufferers, or gentle yoga classes that are suitable for beginner students.
About this Author
Ripa Ajmera has been writing for six years. She has written for ABCNews.com, General Nutrition Center (GNC), TCW Finance, Alliance for a New Humanity, Washington Square News and more. She was a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar from 2006-2008 and graduated from New York University Stern School of Business with an Honors degree in Marketing.