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Yoga owes its origins to ancient Indian philosophy. Its original purpose was to help an individual to cultivate self awareness and self discernment; to help a person become more aware of his/her deepest nature. However, over the years, yoga’s basic body postures and exercises have also been seen to offer a number of physical and mental benefits, one of them being back pain relief.
A study conducted by Arthritis Research UK and the University of York has established that yoga is actually more effective than conventional medicine when it comes to treating chronic lower back pain. In this particular study, a group of over 150 people with recurrent lower back problems was set on a schedule of intensive yoga classes, while a similar-sized group of people with similar symptoms was given care from general medical practitioners. The group that undertook the yoga classes showed much more improvement than the other group after just three months of therapy. There have also been several other similar studies conducted by established and reputable institutions that have also shown that yoga can effectively treat back pain.
How can Yoga Help With Back Pain?
Back pains can be caused by torn muscles, trapped nerves, and even broken bones. However, the most common cause of back pain is muscle tension. This makes the muscles lie unnaturally on body joints, so it puts pressure on the spine and causes great discomfort. Yoga helps to remedy this by helping the muscles to relax through intense, targeted exercises that reduce the strain on the joints and on the spine. Yoga also helps to reduce stress and fatigue that at times leads to muscle tension through breathing exercises.
Which are the Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain?
There are several yoga poses and exercises that come highly recommended when it comes to treating upper or lower back pain. Here is a description of two of them. You should always take deep breaths while performing these yoga poses.
This pose starts with you lying face down on your stomach. You then suspend your hands above the ground and gradually lift your head, shoulders and chest using only your back muscles. To complete the pose, lift your legs above the ground and hold the pose for at least 30 minutes.
Start this pose by lying down flat on your back. You can then bring your knees up until your feet are flat on the floor, and place your hand with your palms facing down. Lift your buttocks off the floor and make a bridge-like pose. You should hold that pose for at least 30 seconds.
Although you may be tempted to treat back pains with yoga exercises and poses at home, yoga can be risky if it is not done in the right way. You could end up further damaging your back. Therefore, it is prudent to perform these poses and exercises only under the instruction of a trained practitioner who has examined you and who understands the nature of your back problem.
Written by: Jackie Edwards