By Faye Martins
How much do techniques for lower back pain cost? Nothing, but more than $50 billion is spent on lower back pain every year in North America. It is a leading contributor to missed work, the most common cause of job-related disability, and one of the most common neurological ailments, second only to headache. Still, knowing that you are in good company does not offer much relief for the pain of spinal compression or other low-back issues.
Sitting in cars and office chairs for long periods of time with a slumped posture compresses the spine and places pressure on the nerves. The abdominal muscles relax and the back muscles tighten over time, leading to pain and stiffness when standing or walking. Regular Yoga practice can help restore healthy length to the spine and can stretch and relax the over-tightened muscles; over time, you may even gain height as the vertebrae decompress!
Precautions About Techniques for Lower Back Pain
Several Yoga training techniques are especially helpful for lower back pain. Caution should be exercised when beginning these postures if the back is already compromised. Take care not to overextend or force any stretches. Inversions have long been considered helpful for spinal decompression, but many students do not feel comfortable in more advanced inversions. It should be noted that the entire spine does not decompress during a Yoga posture inversion – compression from the lower back is simply transferred to the upper back or neck for a period of time. This may provide relief, but it is not essential to relieving pain.
Ushtra Asana, or Camel pose: this asana exercises all of the back muscles and extends the spinal column, by bending your back fully. It increases spinal and hip flexibility, which can prevent recurrent pain.
Bhujangasana or Cobra pose: by holding this posture, both the superficial and the deep muscles of the back and abdominal region are strengthened. This asana increases bending flexibility backwards in the spine and relieves tension in the lower back region.
Purna Titali Asana or Butterfly pose helps remedy poor posture by stretching and strengthening the muscles of the legs and the back.
Supta Virasana or Saddle Pose is very effective for realigning the sacrum and lower spine, and re-establishing the natural lumbar curve, which may be lost from years of poor posture.
Summary of Techniques for Lower Back Pain
The guidance of an instructor who has been certified by a Yoga teacher training course is essential in order to learn safe practice methods. Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology is extremely important for those who teach Yoga classes. This knowledge should be shared from teacher to student. All of the asanas, which are comfortable for the practitioner, should be practiced regularly to help alleviate lower back pain. Poses which strengthen abdominal muscles are also important, to help support the core and take the strain off the lower back.
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