Yoga for Low Back Pain
If you’re reading this article, you are probably all too familiar with the pain and debilitating effects low back pain can create.
As a physical therapist and yoga instructor, it’s HANDS DOWN the most common complaint I see.
And 99% of the time it’s all stemming from a lack of awareness and control of the pelvis. Which is usually from prolonged postures (aka sitting) and lack of activity.
Which can lead to…
1) Tight hip flexors
2) Glute amnesia
3) Hip mobility restrictions
You see…our bodies are always adapting to the demands that we place on it. So if you work in a seated position for 40 hours a week…your hip flexors are going to shorten to that position.
Your gluteal muscles are going to disengage and the constant pressure of your weight into the chair…will force the femur (thigh bone) closer to the front of the hip socket which leads to hip mobility restrictions in the posterior capsule.
Then when we get up for 30-60 min to exercise that day, these impairments cause us to move in a way our bodies aren’t designed to move. Increasing the tension on our low back muscles and beginning to compress the nerves in this area.
If left untrained, it can begin to present in our body as low back pain, muscle spasms, numbness & tingling down into the legs and/or develop into more complex conditions involving the spine itself.
So what are my recommendations to prevent this from happening?
1) Limit time seated. Try investing in a standing desk and slowly transitioning to more time standing than seated.
2) Get up and move. Try to spend 5-10 minutes every hour changing up the position you are in. Maybe it’s going for short walk breaks or adding in some movement over lunch.
4) Practice the exercises in the handout I’ve provided below on a daily basis. Either through the yoga video shown or just by performing 15-30 repetitions for each of the exercises.
Because of the role our nervous system plays in pain production. While physical impairments such as tight hip flexors and weak glutes can contribute to our pain, so can our mental state.
When we are uptight and stressed, this can lead to overactivation of our nervous system, increased tension in our muscles, and decreased tolerance to normal loading of the tissues.
The breathing exercises found in yoga and meditation practices have been heavily linked to decreased stress, inflammation, and pain within our bodies.
So as a physical therapist, I strongly believe the best way to deal with pain is addressing both the physical and mental contributors.
That is all for today! Give this video a thumbs up if it helped you. And please comment below any questions.
Light and love,
Note: As always, please do not substitute this information for a proper medical evaluation. While I am a licensed healthcare provider, I am not able to fully access and treat your condition without evaluating you first. The information above is based on generalizations from my experience. Always listen to your body and seek proper care with your Physical Therapist when needed. You can search for one in your area at the link provided here.
Dava is a physical therapist, yoga instructor, and founder of Med Flow Yoga. She hosts 200hr Yoga Teacher Trainings & Retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica to help students deepen their practice and/or learn to teach.