The lower back can be a sore spot for many people, which means lower back stretches should be a key part of your combination of movements. It is true whether you are looking for lower back pain relief or not in pain, but you want gentle stretching as a way to strengthen lower back muscles. This is where yoga comes in for the spine and those other very important areas of the back.
While there can be a ton of causes of low back pain, a weak core and poor sitting posture all day (and therefore the shortening of the hip muscles which then pull on the lower back) are two very common factors. that contribute to lower back pain and discomfort. . And yoga is one of those exercise modalities that can target both of those things.
It’s always important to understand what’s causing the pain so that you can fix it and prevent it from happening again – and in some cases, contacting a doctor or physical therapist may be the best way to do it. But in many situations, doing gentle stretches can help ease tightness and ease your lower back. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use yoga to give your lower back some love.
How to reduce lower back pain with yoga?
Put simply, the movements – and isometric or non-motion grips – used in yoga can help you develop both strength and mobility, both of which play a role in reducing lower back pain.
« Yoga is great for working on core flexibility and stability, correcting posture and breathing, all of which are necessary for a healthy back. » Sasha cyrelson, PT, DPT, OCS, clinical director of occupational physiotherapy in Sicklerville, New Jersey, tells SELF.
She adds that yoga is generally safe to do on a daily basis. However, it’s important to make sure you’re in tune with your body and to stop doing anything that makes the discomfort worse.
“Never stretch in a position of pain,” says Dr. Cyrelson. “Pain is how our body tells us something is wrong. If it really hurts, ease the stretch.” This means that you should feel a combination of tension and muscle relaxation, but if there is a pinching, sharp pain, or brief numbness, gently reverse the stretch.
Is it okay to do yoga with lower back pain?
If you have a history of lower back injuries, problems with your discs, or if you experience pain that lasts more than 72 hours without improving, Dr. Cyrelson suggests seeing a physical therapist before exercising. If you have a problem that requires medical attention, it’s best to fix it before it gets worse.
If your lower back pain is more of a pain or general discomfort, it is worth trying some yoga stretches to resolve tightness and alignment issues. Stretches like the Child Pose and Downward Dog pose are particularly effective because they provide a feeling of relief not only in the lower back but also in all the muscles of the back, which relieves tense points.
How should you use lower back stretches like these yoga poses to help reduce back pain?
While each of the stretches below are helpful on their own, they are especially beneficial as a New York-based yoga flow instructor. Shanna tyler said SOI.
For lower back pain relief, try picking five or six from the list below as your flow, and plan to hold each pose for 10 seconds to a minute, making sure to breathe deeply as you take it.
If your lower back is relieved with this sequence, you can continue to hold each pose for longer, up to three minutes. In terms of frequency, you can do yoga every day if you want, but if you’re doing beginner yoga for back pain, start with a few times a week. Also, many people find it helpful to divide these lower back stretches into a few mini-sessions when their back is particularly strained, such as in the morning first thing in the morning or after sitting at work all day.
Here are the yoga-inspired lower back stretches:
- Child pose
- Cat / Cow
- Downward facing dog
- Standing forward
- Sphinx pose
- Knees to the chest with a slow rock
- Lying pigeon
- Elongated torsion in the supine position
- Dog head up
- Crescent slit
- Thread the needle
- Happy baby
Demonstration of the movements below are Jessica rihal, (GIFs 1, 7-8) a plus size yoga instructor (200-HR) and a strong advocate for fitness and wellness for all bodies; Shauna harrison (GIF 2 and 12), a trainer based in the Bay Area, a yogi, a public health scholar, an advocate and journalist for me; Shanna tyler (GIFs), a New York-based yoga teacher; and Devon stewart (GIFs 9-11), Harlem-based yoga teacher and sexual and reproductive health doula.