The 10 Best Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain Relief
One of the leading causes of lower back pain is tightness around the hip muscles. Tight hips may cause overuse of the lumbar spine, pressure in the lower back, weakened abdominal muscles and lumbar instability. Here are a few of the main culprits.
The psoas is a strong hip flexor muscle that joins from the lumbar vertebrae into the ball and socket joint at the top of the femur. When this muscle is tight it causes tension and pain in the lower back, hips and buttocks. This may lead to lower back spasms, sciatica, pain radiating down the leg and lumbar disc problems.
The piriformis is a small muscle found in the deep muscles of the buttock, behind the larger gluteus maximus. Despite its small size, it can cause a world of pain. Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the muscle compresses the sciatic nerve, causing sharp pain or tingling sensation to radiate down the leg. Prolonged sitting, running or weight bearing exercises may cause this painful condition.
Last but not least are the hamstrings. The hamstring muscles run from the lower part of the pelvis (ischial tuberosity) all the way down to the tibia in the lower leg. Tight hamstrings may cause the hip and pelvis to tilt posteriorly, flattening the lower back. Guess what? This causes lower back pain and increases the risk of hamstring strain.
Stretching and lengthening tight hip muscles, combined with back and abdominal strengthening yoga poses may help alleviate lower back pain. Here are the 10 best poses (in no particular order) to help improve symptoms:
1. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana) – the perfect pose for stretching the psoas (hip flexors), thighs and groin to naturally strengthen the lower back.
2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – the bridge strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, groin, spine and abdominals. Advanced variations also strengthen the hip flexors, quads and obliques. This pose also stretches the neck and opens the chest.
3. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – the cobra strengthens the spine, glutes and shoulders. It also opens the chest and abdomen.
4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – this pose is great for stretching the hamstrings, calves and spine, and it adds strength to the shoulders and upper back.
5. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) – the pigeon stretches the hip flexors, glutes and piriformis. This increases the movement around the ball-and-socket joint in the hip, which may reduce lower back pain.
6. Child’s Pose (Balasana) – this restful pose elongates the lower back and neck, and opens the hips, thighs and ankles.
7. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) – the triangle stretches the chest, shoulders, thighs, groin, hip, hamstrings, neck and spine. Great for relieving backache.
8/9. Cat (Marjaryasana) and Cow (Bitilasana) Pose – both poses increase flexibility in the neck, spine, hips, chest and shoulders. The cat pose stretches the upper back and neck more.
10. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – another stretch for the hamstrings. This pose is also great for strengthening the back and shoulders.
If you suffer with lower back pain you should try yoga. It is important to notify the instructor if it is your first time in a class so that they can adjust your positioning when necessary or use blocks to make the stretches more comfortable. Always seek consent from a doctor prior to exercise if you suffer with sharp or chronic lower back pain.
Remember: never force yourself into a deep stretch and be patient because it can take a few months before you notice any improvement.
If you are looking to do private yoga classes, to ensure your technique and positioning is correct, please contact Elena on 07949387277 for enquiries.