Published on February 6th, 2017 | by Catherine Tingey0
Yoga for Back Pain
Yoga for Back Pain
Many of my clients come to me searching for relief from back pain.
A study published in JAMA in March 2016 found that yoga and mindfulness techniques were an effective treatment option for patients with chronic low back pain.
Unfortunately, back pain is something I have a lot of personal experience with. I can remember being 12 years old and complaining to my mom about my achey low back.
Fortunately, pain is a great motivator and over the last 25 years, I’ve learned so many techniques to alleviate back pain that treating this complaint is one area I feel particularly confident in.
Back pain can be structural in origin (disc herniation, stenosis, blunt force trauma like falls or MVA) or muscular, or a combination of both. Nerves can also be involved (sciatica) which make the situation more complicated.
A private yoga instructor can be most effective when the client’s pain levels are manageable (under 6 out of 10). When a person is in acute pain (7+ out of 10), they are better served through other modalities (pain management clinic, RX, etc.)
The most common type of back pain I see is low back (lumbar) and muscular in origin. As our bodies, which were meant to move and work, sit for long hours in chairs or behind wheels, our hips, hamstrings, hip flexors and psoas muscles suffer.
When I design a program for a client with chronic low back pain, we target these areas through specific yoga poses and stretches.
Low back pain often also comes with an emotional component (related to stress), so I teach the client breathing techniques that act on a systemic level to induce the relaxation response.
The 3rd component I teach is self-massage through foam rolling, the use of massage balls, and massage tools to reduce restrictions in the fascia (myofascial release).
Chronic muscle tension, which is a reflex reaction to stress, usually has no chance against this 3 pronged approach (Muscular/Stretches – Breathwork – Myofascial Release), especially if the client is motivated to do a home stretching program in between our private sessions.
Yoga has proven to be hugely beneficial in treating chronic low back pain. If you, or someone you know is suffering from back pain, consider hiring a certified private yoga instructor with experience in treating pain.