Sedentary lifestyles have made lower back pain extremely common in modern day society. Sitting throughout the day in an office chair shortens the hip muscles and strains the lower back. Lower back pain also results from intense exercise or complex injuries like herniated discs, vertebral slippage, and/or spinal narrowing.
In most instances, people can experience relief from lower back pain by performing specific yoga poses. Yoga helps to strengthen the core, correct posture, and increase flexibility and stability, all of which improve back health.
Important Note: Never do any pose that causes discomfort. Listen to your body in each yoga pose and don’t push yourself into pain. If something hurts, ease the stretch and engage in a modified version of the pose.
Legs Up The Wall:
Passive inversion helps to improve circulation to the upper body, helping to relieve tension in the legs and lower back. Start by sitting on the floor with your right shoulder, hip, and thigh against the wall. Slowly lay your torso on the floor and pivot your body to swing your legs up the wall. Your butt should be near the wall and your legs resting on the wall. Extend the arms to a “T” position and rest here for five minutes, breathing deeply.
This simple pose helps to relieve pressure in the lower back by elongating the spine. The decompressing action gives you a nice stretch. Start by kneeling on your mat with your knees hip-distance apart and your feet together behind you. Take a big inhale and lay your torso forward onto your thighs as you exhale, extending your arms overhead. If you can, rest your forehead on the ground. Remain in this pose for one to three minutes.
Supporting the natural curvature of the lower back, this pose can help relieve tension and stretch the abdominal muscles. Lie on your stomach and keep your legs together. Place your forearms on the mat with your elbows by your armpits. Press up and lift your chest off the floor. Press the tops of your hips, thighs, and feet into the mat and think about lengthening your spine. Hold this pose for one to three minutes.
Reclined Supine Twist:
This is a beginner yoga pose that is great if you experience muscle tightness in your lower back, shoulders, hips, or upper back. Lie flat on your back and bend your right knee toward your chest, keeping your foot flat on the floor. Let your knee fall to your left side and extend your arms out to form a “T” position. Keep both shoulders pressed against the mat and look to your left. Hold this pose for two minutes and then repeat on the opposite side.
Standing Forward Fold:
In addition to stretching out the lower back muscles, this pose helps to stretch the hamstrings and calf muscles. Stand straight up with your feet hip-distance apart. Hinge at the hips and slowly let your torso hang down. Tuck your chin and relax your shoulders, creating a long spine. Hang here for one to three minutes. If you need to modify the pose, keep your knees slightly bent and rest your hands on yoga blocks, your thighs, or a chair in front of you.
Downward Facing Dog:
You can’t have an article about relieving lower back pain and omit downward facing dog from the list. This pose helps elongate the spine and strengthen core muscles. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Spread your fingers wide to evenly distribute your weight between your hands. Slowly press back and raise your knees off the floor, lifting your tailbone toward the ceiling. If you can, push your heels into the floor. If you cannot do that, remain on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent. Hold this position for five breaths. Return to the tabletop position and then repeat four more times.