If you’re dealing with back pain, getting chiropractic treatments is one of the most effective and natural ways to alleviate that discomfort. But did you know there’s a specific type of exercise you can do at home to help alleviate that pain too?
Since back discomfort often stems from poor posture, muscle tension, improper lifting technique, lack of flexibility, and muscular imbalances, it often responds very well to yoga poses that alleviate tension and strengthen the musculature of the back. And, since yoga is therapeutic for both the body and the mind, it can help alleviate the stress associated with back pain too.
Which yoga poses work best? Read on to find out!
1. Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog pose isn’t just great for your spine and the muscles of your back; it also helps stretch your hamstrings, which may be contributing to your back pain if they’re tight. This basic, beginner-friendly pose also helps lengthen your glutes and strengthen your deep core muscles, which play a major role in supporting your low back. Here’s how to do it:
1. Get down on all fours, aligning your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
2. Press your weight into your hands, tuck your toes under, lift your knees, and bring your sitting bones upward toward the ceiling.
3. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, with your heels slightly off the ground, lengthen your spine and push your hips back, while pushing your heels toward the floor. Feel the stretch in the back of your legs.
4. Relax your neck and head so that you’re gazing back toward your shins/feet.
5. Hold the position for up to one minute.
If you don’t quite have the flexibility in your hamstrings and calves to perform down dog the traditional way, you can place a couple of yoga blocks beneath your palms to modify the stretch.
2. Cat-Cow Pose
This gentle, back-bending stretch helps mobilize your spine while simultaneously stretching your neck, shoulders, and torso. Cat-cow pose also helps strengthen your deep core muscles, which provide support for your spine. Here’s how to perform the pose:
1. Position yourself on your hands and knees on the floor. Align your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
2. Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position and your weight is evenly balanced across your hands and knees.
3. Inhale while your look upward toward the ceiling, and gently arch your back toward the floor, allowing your stomach to drop down toward your mat.
4. Exhale and tuck your chin toward your chest. Draw your belly button up toward your spine as you arch your spine toward the ceiling.
5. Repeat the upward and downward arching process for at least one minute.
As you perform this pose, be sure to keep your movements as fluid as possible. You’ll want to be moving your back in an upward and downward motion continually. Don’t hold the position at the top or bottom for more than a couple of seconds before continuing the movement. Remain aware of your body throughout the movement and focus on the tension you’re releasing from your back.
3. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is a gentle, backbend stretch performed in a prone position (with the front of your body lying on the floor). The front side of your legs and hips will remain on the floor throughout the movement, which not only helps strengthen your back muscles but also helps stretch your chest, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. This pose may be especially helpful for people who live with sciatica or lumbar pain. Here’s how to do it:
1. Begin by lying in a prone position (on your stomach) on your mat. Place your hands palm down beneath your shoulders with your fingers facing forward.
2. Keep your elbows drawn in toward your torso as you press into your hands while gently lifting your head, shoulders, and chest off the mat. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows. (If your back is very tense, lift your chest only a quarter of the way or halfway off the floor to see how you feel. If you can lift your chest all the way off the floor, great!)
3. If you’d like to deepen the pose/stretch, feel free to allow your head to drop backward gently.
4. Slowly lower your chest back toward the mat as you exhale. Continue until your chest is touching the floor.
5. Repeat the chest-lifting motion for up to one minute. Then, relax your arms alongside your body as you lie flat on the floor. Slowly rotate your hips from side to side to release tension from your lower back.
Keep in mind that if you feel discomfort (aside from what feels like a normal or deep stretch), you should stop the movement. If you plan on performing this pose, be sure to get clearance from your chiropractor or physician since cobra pose does involve considerable movement of the discs in your spine. Your chiropractor can also give you suggestions for modifying the movement if you are currently working to improve your flexibility and range of motion.
More Yoga Poses for Back Pain
Aside from the beginner poses detailed above, there are several other yoga poses that can help alleviate back pain while releasing muscle tension and strengthening your torso. They include:
4. Child’s pose
5. Upward-facing dog
6. Pigeon pose
7. Happy baby
8. Plank pose
9. Half lord of the fishes
10. Two-knee spinal twist
11. Extended puppy pose
12. Bridge pose
Curious how to perform these poses? Feel free to ask your chiropractor! While he/she may not be a master yogi, chiropractors are well-versed in safe, therapeutic stretches and exercises that can be modified for your needs and current flexibility, mobility, and discomfort levels. Along with your in-office adjustments, your chiropractor will give you an at-home action plan that’s designed to work in conjunction with your treatments.
Get Back Pain Relief at Bomberg Chiropractic
Are you dealing with acute or chronic back pain? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Bomberg Chiropractic in New Hope, MN, to schedule a consultation for treatment. We provide highly individualized treatment plans for each patient we see and specialize in a wide variety of therapeutic services, including movement-based massage, TENS therapy, Graston Technique, and more. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, please feel free to call our Twin Cities office today at 763-450-1755.