Are you one of the millions of Americans with back pain? If so, you probably use anything from over-the-counter medications to creams to find relief.
Have you tried yoga? This ancient practice can feel like a massage you give yourself, as it opens up many of the adhesions that form on muscles and connective tissues when you sit or stand in one place for too long. The following 10 yoga poses can ease your back pain and leave you refreshed and renewed after your practice.
This pose ranks up on the top three list for the most relaxing yoga asanas. It stretches your upper back and shoulders, making it ideal for relieving tension.
To get into this pose, kneel on your mat. You can keep your knees together or separated slightly to deepen the stretch. Reach your hands as far forward as you can, letting your head rest on the ground.
This asana feels fantastic if you have low back pain. Your hips have a ton of meridians running through them — think about your skeleton. It takes a ton of muscle and connective tissue to attach your hip bone to your spine.
All you need to do is sit on the ground with your legs straight. Bend forward at the waist, trying to keep your spine straight for as long as possible. Hold on to your calves, ankles or feet, depending on your range of motion.
Meow! You can stretch your entire spine by arching like a scared Halloween kitty. All you need to do is get on all fours. Inhale with a neutral spine and round your back as you exhale.
This move is the opposite of cat, and you can perform an alternating series to wake up your spine in the morning or relax it after sitting all day. You can even do a modified asana at your work desk. Instead of getting on all fours, place your hands on your thighs as you round and extend your back.
If you find a wheel or camel pose too intimidating, this asana gives you similar benefits in a gentler fashion. Begin by lying on your belly. Reach your hands behind you to grab your ankles and lift, raising your knees off the ground if possible. Think of drawing back a bow and arrow to fire.
This asana is another alternative for those who don’t like the wheel — or have back conditions like spinal stenosis that render it problematic. It also works your hamstrings and glutes as a sweet bonus.
Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees. Bring your hands to either side, palms down. Lift your buttocks off the floor and link your hands together beneath you, if possible. For a supported spinal release, take a yoga block and place it under your buttocks for support.
If you have fused disks or spinal stenosis, give this pose a pass. However, it works wonders for fibromyalgia. If you want to try it, get on your back with your feet flat close to your hips. They should stay at least 30 centimeters apart.
Bring your hands under your shoulders with your fingers pointed toward your middle. Gently push up into a backbend. You need considerable strength — if it’s too uncomfortable, stick to bridge and bow pose.
Camel pose is incredible for stretching your quadriceps, which run along the front of your thighs. This asana also reverses the seated position many folks remain in for hours each day.
To gently get into this pose, kneel and place your hands on your heels. Slowly rise, extending your hips forward and arching your back. As you increase in strength, you can flow into this pose by leaning back and placing your hands on your heels from an upright kneeling position.
If you practice ashtanga yoga, you know there are multiple variations of marichyasana. To perform a simple version, sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other bent. Take the opposite hand and turn toward the bent knee, pressing slightly. As you gain spinal flexibility, you might switch to hooking your elbow or even binding in the ashtanga style.
This pose is intermediate to advanced, and you should use caution if you have a neck injury. However, it is phenomenal for stretching your mid-back, where many fibromyalgia patients have trigger points that grow hot and painful.
To get into this pose, lie flat on the ground on your back. Lift your legs to 90 degrees, and then begin elevating your buttocks as you reach your feet behind your head. The ultimate goal is to get your toes to touch the ground behind you and interlace your hands beneath your glutes.
Back pain often results from tight muscles and sitting too long. Get yourself limber with the 10 yoga poses above that should also ease your ache.