The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how to not need it” – Hippocrates
It’s estimated that roughly 80% of people will experience some type of serious back pain in their life. The world’s population is around 7 billion people. So statistically speaking, 5 billion people will encounter significant back pain. That’s an outrageously high number for a problem that is often curable and preventable. Unfortunately, people are unaware of how to prevent back pain, and how to handle it once it arises. Research increasingly confirms that yoga is a natural form of medicine for our bodies, and in treating and avoiding back pain – we recommend yoga as your number one choice of painkillers.
If you practice yoga, you are very aware of its health benefits. On the physical side, yoga strengthens and stretches your muscles. Mentally, yoga has the power to reduce stress, bring you to the present moment, and increase your happiness. When it comes to back pain, the physical benefits of strength and flexibility can greatly impact your condition.
To understand how yoga is physically improves the aches and pains in your back, let’s first address the impact of flexibility. Your flexibility is dependent on your joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. When you stretch these areas of your body you increase your range of motion. When your range of motion increases, you become more balanced. On top of this, stretching relaxes tense muscles and increases circulation in your body. One of the main causes of back pain is muscle tension. The flow of yoga poses forces your muscles to loosen up in these areas. In fact, if you’re suffering from purely muscle tension issues, yoga poses may be enough to completely solve your problem.
Yoga is such a wonderful medicine for preventing injuries and promoting recovery because tissues become relaxed and lengthened, thus creating more room for blood flow and oxygen. Tension problems are often centered around the spine and reflected in areas like your shoulders and hips.
Work on lengthening and loosening these highly tense areas through these yoga poses:
Now that we know how flexibility plays into the relief of back pain, let’s take a look at what the strengthening component of yoga does. Building strength is always a good way to keep your body healthy. Especially since many people suffer from back problems because they are overweight. When it comes to back relief, yoga is wonderful because it focuses on our core, or the center of our body. Back pain is often caused by weakness in our abdominal muscles because our abs are the front foundation of the spine. So… if your abs are weak, things connected to and associated with them will be weak. The stronger your core muscles become, the less likely you are to injure your back. Because yoga focuses on alignment and the idea that all body systems are interconnected, it takes a full body approach to recovery and prevention of injuries.
Here are some wonderful core strengthening yoga poses to try:
The unique thing about yoga is that it incorporates mindfulness, strength, and flexibility. The combination of these characteristics is what provides our bodies with so many wonderful health benefits. Mindfully lengthening and strengthening is the key to increasing body mobility and preventing injury. Try it. Your back will thank you.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ansley from BraceAbility.com, an online retailer of orthopedic braces and supports. BraceAbility.com provides educational information to help customers diagnose their pain and learn about their injury or condition. Follow them on Facebook.
Photo credit: Louwart.com, a great place to find yoga inspired art.