Friday, April 19, 2024
HomeReaders ChoiceCan Yoga Help With Back Pain

Can Yoga Help With Back Pain

The Victim Is Not The Criminal

Can Yoga Help Back Pain with Spondylolisthesis? Must Know This!

Movement therapists often say, the victim is not the criminal. Meaning that where you feel pain is probably not whats causing the pain. Its likely related to an issue further down the kinetic chain that affects movement at the point where pain occurs.

For instance, ankle issues can cause knee pain. When one part of the body isnt moving well, the rest has to compensate. If it cant adapt or has to keep adapting for long periods of time, then pain can occur.

Patterns of movement refers to how we move subconsciously every day. When specific movement patterns are limited or restricted, then other parts of the body will suffer.


If you have lower back pain, watch how your knees move when walking and exercising. If they seem to be insecure, rotating, or asymmetrical, they could be affecting your sartorius muscle. The sartorius wraps around the pelvis and begins at the lower back. If your knees arent moving optimally, they could be causing pain deep in your lower back!

For this reason, mindfulness, patience, and non-judgment are vital in treating pain. Trying to work out an injury is useless if its related to an entirely different muscle. If you can treat the pain at the moment thats great! But unless the source of the pain is found, it will likely keep returning to different parts of the body.

Dont just treat the symptoms, look to the cause!

So Does Yoga *actually* Help Back Pain

Studies have shown that yoga can in fact be beneficial for back pain.

In a 2017 study, a small group of 320 adults were assessed to see if yoga was as effective as physical therapy for treating chronic lower back pain. Participants in both the yoga and physical therapy classes showed similar improvements in their pain levels.

Another study found practicing yoga decreased pain levels by a small to moderate amount over a short period of time. While this research is helpful to see the benefits of yoga, more research is needed to know exactly how beneficial practicing yoga is for back pain.

What Actually Hurts When You Have Lower Back Pain

Your lower back consists of the five lumbar vertebrae at the bottom of your spine . The lumbar vertebrae are the largest when compared to the rest of your spine and help support your upper and lower body, allow you to twist and move your torso, and protect your spinal cord. There is also a complex network of ligaments, muscles, and tendons here to help everything move properly and stay in place.

The lumbar region handles high stress and heavy loads when youre walking, running, lifting, carrying, or doing just about anythingwhich is why its no surprise that lower back pain is so common.

There are a few issues that can cause lower back pain. A bulging disk happens when the cushioning between your vertebrae gets compressed and cant do its job properly. Herniated disks can cause pinched nerves. But often, lower back pain is a symptom of a strain or tear that occurred as a result of weakened muscles.

See also:Hurty Hips or a Cranky Low Back? Try This Sacroiliac Joint-Inspired Sequence

Also Check: What Kind Of Mattress Do I Need For Back Pain

Yoga For Lower Back Pain: 20 Poses To Ease And Prevent Lower Back Pain

People turn to yoga for all sorts of reasons and with many different goals. Some people are looking to reduce stress and . Others are hoping to increase flexibility and mobility, and many people practice yoga to reduce low back pain.

While certain types of exercise are well known to potentially exacerbate low back pain, yoga for lower back pain is typically safe to perform with acute or chronic low back pain, provided you dont have an unstable spinal fracture or significant nerve damage.

Furthermore, there are yoga poses for low back pain that relieve symptoms by stretching and loosening muscles in the back, and yoga poses that can help prevent low back pain by strengthening the muscles in the back, core, hips, and butt, and increasing the mobility in the hips and spine.

In this guide to yoga for low back pain, we discuss the benefits of yoga for low back pain, yoga poses to reduce back pain, and yoga poses you should avoid or modify if you have back pain or a back injury.

We will look at:

  • Can I Do Yoga For Lower Back Pain?
  • Common Lower Back Injuries
  • How Can Yoga For Lower Back Pain Help?
  • 20 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain
  • Practicing Yoga With Lower Back Pain
  • Yoga Poses to Avoid With Lower Back Pain

Lets jump in!

Your Yoga For Back Pain Sequence

10 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

This sequence is designed to address a range of muscular imbalances, compensation patterns and alignment issues that are commonly correlated with lower back pain.

  • Tight lower back.
  • Weak corethe abs, obliques and lower back.
  • Misalignments in the pelvis.

You may recognise that you are prone to all of these issues or to just one or two. Either way, this sequence has your bases covered and all you need is your mat.

Recommended Reading: What Causes Pain In Back Of Leg Behind Knee

Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean When You Have Lower Back Pain

Upper Middle And Lower Back Pain

Because all back muscles work together to keep you upright, pain in one region often extends to the other areas. Finding the original site of the pain can often help diagnose the cause.

Upper back pain typically occurs underneath the base of the neck to the mid or lower rib region. Pain can radiate up the neck and shoulders. Major muscles here include the trapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, and scalene muscles.

Painful movements often include:

  • Spinal extension
  • Spinal flexion .

Middle back pain is usually experienced near the spine , around the space where the lower ribs and diaphragm connect to the spine.

Muscles here include the spinal extensors, latissimus dorsi, and serratus anterior. Pain is often felt when breathing, reaching, and rotating.

Pain can radiate around the

  • Along the sides of the torso

Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, is the most common type of chronic back pain. The lower back is the connection point between the upper and lower body, and the only structure supporting it is the spine. Thats a lot of work for one section of bone!

Muscles in this region include the quadratus lumborum, spinal extensors, iliopsoas , and obliques. Because the sartorius muscle originates in the lower back, it can also cause lower back pain.

Pain is usually felt during:

  • Spinal flexion and extension
  • While seated for long periods

Yoga Helps Relieve Chronic Pain

Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies that included more than 1,600 participants concluded that yoga can improve daily function among people with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine. Practicing yoga also improved mood and psychosocial well-being.

Don’t Miss: Are Adjustable Beds Good For Lower Back Pain

Bending The Spine Right And Left

  • Keep your fingers interlaced above your head.

  • Exhale, and slightly bend to the right side. Hold, and keep breathing.

  • Breathe in, and come back to the center.

  • Exhale, and bend to the left side. Ensure that you are not bending toward the front or back, and that both your right and left arms are equally stretched.

  • Breathing in, come back to the center.

  • To deepen the stretch, engage your abdominal muscles.

Tips For Practicing Spinal Twist:

Can yoga help chronic lower back pain?
  • If you cant comfortably reach your elbow to the outside of your knee, wrap your arm around your knee instead. You can slightly pull on your thigh to deepen your twist.

  • Lengthen your spine towards the ceiling the entire time you hold this pose.

  • Keep an equal balance in your left and right sit bones on the floor.

Don’t Miss: What Can I Take For Arthritis Pain In My Back

How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscle Or Disc

While pain in your mid-back may be related to a disc, its more likely caused by muscle strain or other issues. Your symptoms feel worse when you bend or straighten up from a bent position. Movement can increase pressure on the herniated disc and the surrounding nerves, causing symptoms to increase.

Dont Miss: How To Get Rid Of Sharp Upper Back Pain

The Psychology Of Pain

Even the most athletic or anatomy-focused yoga classes usually feature small bits of philosophy: the interconnectedness of people, the bridging of mind and body, and the importance of self-reflection. Effective chronic pain interventions usually feature education on pain and self-management. They influence beliefs, help end catastrophic thoughts, encourage honesty around fear, and help those in pain pursue self-efficacy. Yoga naturally integrates these ideas into practice, which is why so many doctors recommend yoga for back pain relief.

Recommended Reading: What To Do When You Have Severe Back Pain

Yoga Promotes Muscle Strength

Many back problems arise from weakness in the back muscles relative to other parts of the body, which can put extra tension on the spine. Holding poses in yoga helps to strengthen your back muscles, which may reduce your back pain. When holding yoga poses, focus intently on keeping your back straight and in good alignment. This ensures that you work your back muscles optimally.

Should I Do Yoga With Lower Back Pain

6 Yoga Poses to Help Alleviate Back PainPick the Brain

The answer: you should do whatever feels best in your body. Yoga has been proven to decrease back pain. It relaxes the mind, teaches resiliency, and mobilizes stiff joints. Whether you practice alone or with a guide, yoga for back pain might help you feel more connected with and comfortable in your spine. Remember: if youre at all unsure of your health or have any pre-existing conditions, the first step to a new practice is to consult your doctor or physical therapist about the best types of movement for you.

About the Authors

Angélique Poulain is a Yoga Coach with a background in Yoga Therapy and Pilates. Her holistic approach always focuses on alignment, injuries, and support. You can find her on Instagram: Angeli.que_Poulain and on her website: Take yoga classes with Angelique on the adidas Training app!

Emily Stewart is a freelance writer at Runtastic. Shes a 200-Hour and nearly 500-Hour certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor. She is also a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor. Shes taught in the USA, England, Malta and is currently teaching yoga in Austria. Shes attended and hosted yoga retreats around the world. She spent 6 months studying abroad in India, where she attended an inner-city Sivananda Vedanta Yoga ashram at least twice weekly. She also spent three days at their forest ashram in Tamil Nadu, India. She has served as a Mentor and Teacher Trainee with The Kaivalya Yoga Method Teacher Training.

Read Also: Can I Exercise With A Pinched Nerve In Lower Back

Improved Spinal Mobility From Yoga

Yoga can help support the spine and improve its alignment while also promoting flexibility. One of the most helpful styles of yoga for persistent back pain is Kundalini yoga, which focuses primarily on the spine and back. More advanced yoga poses may not be in your repertoire as a beginner, but you can still find relief through some of the most basic poses and stretches.

Daily yoga stretching in the morning can help the spine by relieving tension that gathered while sleeping as some people can toss and turn at night and wake up with pain in their back the next day. By incorporating frequent yoga poses into your daily routine, you can give your body better mobility and improve your spinal discomfort.

Low To Moderate Evidence Suggests That Yoga Helps With Back Pain

Because the trials were not blinded and were based on self-assessment and self-reporting, Cochrane researchers considered the risk of bias to be high. They therefore reduced the level of certainty in the outcomes to moderate in order to account for the potential bias, and reduced it even further for studies wherein results were imprecise or conflicting.

Overall, the reviewers found that yoga may improve back function and reduce lower back pain in the first 6-12 months.

However, they found the improvement to be relatively small and, in fact, the reviewers point out that the effect is not large enough to be considered clinically significant.

The review determined with low to moderate certainty that yoga improves back-related function when compared with no-exercise control groups. Therefore, it remains unknown whether there is any difference between yoga and other back-focused exercise.

In terms of harm, yoga was found to worsen the back pain for 5 percent of the participants, but it was not associated with serious adverse effects.

The authors mention that larger scale studies with a longer follow-up period would be needed to assess the long-term health effects of yoga.

The yoga exercises practised in the studies were developed for low back pain and people should also remember that in each of the studies we reviewed, the yoga classes were led by experienced practitioners, adds Wieland.

Recommended Reading: What Doctor To See For Back And Hip Pain

The Biggest Thing To Keep In Mind:

In general, I do like Yoga and several of the exercises we recommend here on this website are also used in Yoga!

From a back pain perspective though, the biggest con in my opinion is that Yoga alone may not be the best modality if youre trying to treat a very specific back pain issue, or postural dysfunction.

For example, if you have rounded shoulders then no amount of hamstring stretches and planks is going to help you correct your hunchback.

Or if you suffer from a Sciatica Pain, any forward spine bending may trigger your pain faster than you can say pain!.

My recommendation is that if you want to do Yoga, do it carefully and methodically.

Be sure to educate yourself on which yoga poses/exercises are not suited for your specific back condition So you can avoid them or modify them.

For example, if you know that the cobra pose helps alleviate your low back pain, then by all means do it in your yoga class.

However, for people suffering from spinal stenosis, spine extension exercises may make their symptoms worse.

How Yoga Can Help Reduce Back Pain

Restorative Yoga for Back Pain – Back Pain Relief in 15 Minutes

Yoga is a very popular and safe form of exercise. Many people think of yoga as just a good way to relieve stress and tension, but it can also help you reduce back pain and maintain a healthy spine. Yoga poses, called asanas, are important because they help stretch and strengthen important back muscles.

Although there’s more to yoga than the posturesbreath control and meditation are just as essential as poses are in yogathis article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can prevent back pain.

This article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can help prevent back pain. Photo Source:

Read Also: Who To See For Lower Back Pain

Yoga For Back Pain: Types Causes And 9 Poses To Try


The information provided in this blog post is for guidance purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if youre seeking medical advice.

Chronic back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Acute back pain caused by sports injuries and unexpected events can cause physical, emotional, and social problems.

Finding relief and long-term care is pivotal to overall health, regardless of where pain occurs . Can yoga help with chronic back pain? Here we investigate the causes of back pain and the relief certain yoga poses can provide.

  • Should I Do Yoga With Lower Back Pain?
  • Practice doesnt make perfect practice makes flow.

    And thats what the new Discover Yoga Series on the adidas Training app is all about: bringing you to your flow state. Perfection doesnt matter: whether youre new to the practice or a seasoned yogi, our 8-week series puts you on the path to grace, mobility, and bliss. From pranayama to vinyasa, OM to namaste, our professional yoga instructor leads you through every pose. All you need is a mat, a sense of curiosity, and a desire to get stronger, from the inside out. Get your flow on!

    All Direction Back Stretch

    You can comfortably practice this yoga pose at your desk, in an airplane, in front of your television, or on your yoga mat.

    How to do all direction back stretch

    Sit comfortably on your sitting bones. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Most importantly, smile. If you prefer to practice these yoga postures while standing, keep your feet parallel.

    Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Period Back Pain

    Standing Forward Fold With Clasped Hands

    Standing forward fold with clasped hands is great for stretching your back, increasing shoulder mobility, and opening up your chest. While standing, bend forward at your hips and stretch your fingertips toward the ground. Clasp your hands behind you and bring your palms together, even if you have to bend your elbows.

    Read Also: How To Describe Back Pain

    Standing Forward Bend Pose

    Experiencing Back Pain? Hereâs Some Hatha Yoga Poses You Can Do ...
  • Come into a standing position with your feet under your hips.
  • Lengthen your body as you fold your upper body forward, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
  • Bring your hands to your legs, a block, or the floor.
  • Tuck your chin in to your chest, and let your head and neck fully relax.
  • You can gently shake your head from side to side, front to back, or make gentle circles. This helps to release tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • Hold this position for at least 1 minute.
  • Bring your arms and head up last as you roll your spine up to standing.
  • You May Like: Can Urgent Care Do Anything For Back Pain


    Most Popular