Yoga Poses For Back Pain Relief: Causes And Fixes

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If back pain has been plaguing your life, then you should know yoga is a great solution for not only fixing back pain but preventing it as well. This is because a good yoga routine strengthens the multiple areas of weakness that cause back pain. To your surprise back pain isn’t just caused by your back. In fact, there are primarily 4 things that cause back pain.

Causes Of Back Pain

The misconception is that back pain is solely a result of bad posture or a weak back, however, that’s false. There are multiple facets of your body that result in back pain.

Back pain is caused by 4 things in particular:

  • Lack of hip mobility
  • Lack of hip strength
  • Lack of spinal ability
  • Lack of core strength

Your hips flexibility and mobility are directly related to your back pain. Your hips have ligaments and muscles that connect to the pelvis and as a result from tightening up – pull and strain your back. The loss in flexibility is because of age, but also because of the sitting lifestyle that modern society has adopted.

Along with your hips, your core (the muscles in your abdomen, back, sides, pelvis, and butt) plays a major role in correcting your posture and keeping your back straight. Without a strong core, your spine isn’t supported and instead puts pressure on your ligaments, tendons, and spinal disc that support your spine. This results in back pain and your muscles becoming even more fatigued – leading to more back pain and hip discomfort. 

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Yoga For Back Pain Relief

One of the biggest things you shouldn’t do to relieve back pain is doing a forward fold exercise. That’s right, the exercise that many have thought to relieve back pain can cause more damage than heal.

Instead, a good yoga routine that stretches and strengthens your core and hips is better at relieving back pain. In fact, this series of exercises is my go-to routine for helping people to quickly relieve back pain. You’ll feel it immediately as you go through each position. This routine includes progressions and modifications, therefore it is suitable for active and less active people alike.

Today, we are focusing on stretching the muscles that connect to your lower back and engaging the opposing muscle groups. The stretches will target your hips and the muscles that connect to your spine, and the muscle engaging exercises will target your core and glutes. It’s important to include both strength and stretch because, although stretching feels good in the moment, stretching alone is actually setting yourself up for more back pain. You have to address the weak areas contributing to your back pain as well, and you do that through strengthening work.

This routine starts off lying on your back; we will do the first few exercises from that position. Lying on your back is a great position for ab exercises because it helps your spine maintain a neutral position, making it easier for you to avoid inappropriately using your back.

5 Poses to Relieve Back Pain

If you want a written description of the video then read on!

Exercise 1: Reclined Twist

Yoga for Back Pain - Reclined Twist 2

Yoga for Back Pain - Reclined Twist 1

This pose is a gentle twist that opens up your lower back and stretches your sides and hips. It’s great for starting to alleviate back pain.
Technique:

  1. Lie on your back. 
  2. Lift your knees directly over your hips. Bend your knees and relax your legs. 
  3. Extend arms directly out to the sides with palms facing the ceiling.
  4. Lower your legs to the left, keeping the legs stacked. 
  5. Place left hand on the right knee. Use your core to twist, and pull your ribcage toward your core to deepen the stretch in your back. 
  6. Press the crown of your head away from your shoulders, and turn to face the right. 
  7. Hold the posture, inhaling as you maintain your position, and exhaling as you squeeze your core and deepen the twist.

Exercise 2: Hand to Thighs

Yoga for Back Pain - Hand to Thighs

This movement engages your core and strengthens your hips through an isometric hold. Push as hard as you can into yourself and remember to breathe.
Technique:

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bring your knees up stacking over your hips.
  3. Place your hands on your knees.
  4. Push your hands into your thighs as hard as possible.
  5. Push your thighs into your hands.
  6. Engage your abs to avoid rounding the spine.
  7. Hold and breath as you push harder.

Exercise 3: Hamstring Stretch

Yoga for Back Pain - Hamstring Stretch 2

Yoga for Back Pain - Hamstring Stretch 1

This movement can be done actively or passively. The active stretch works on your core as well as flexibility. However, if you aren’t feeling up to it, a strap can help you achieve a deep stretch.
Technique:

  1. Lie on your back. 
  2. Position a strap on the arch of your right foot, and hold the ends of the strap with both hands. 
  3. Rest your left leg on the floor.
  4. Keeping the left leg flat on the floor, straighten the right leg. 
  5. Reach the toes of your right foot toward your shin and press the heel up to stretch your calf. 
  6. Engage your inner thighs, and relax your shoulders, head, and back on the floor.
  7. Slightly tuck chin to keep neck and spine neutral. 
  8. Hold the stretch, inhaling as you maintain the position, and exhaling as you deepen the stretch by pulling the leg closer to your chest.

Exercise 4: Bridge

Yoga for Back Pain - Bridge

Yoga for Back Pain - One Leg Bridge

Bridge is a very important yoga pose for strengthening your core, glutes, and hamstrings to prevent back pain in the future. Focus on engaging all those muscles as your bridge. If you want to make it hard you can do one leg bridges.
Technique:

  1. Lie on your back and rest your arms at your sides, palms facing up. 
  2. Bend your knees and plant your feet hip-width distance apart, no more than a few inches away from glutes. 
  3. Tighten abs and engage core as you prepare to lift your hips.
  4. On an exhale, lift your hips slowly but firmly away from the floor. 
  5. Squeeze the hips, glutes, and core to form a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  6. Reach your tailbone toward your knees to lengthen the spine. 
  7. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lift your hips higher, and exhaling as you tighten your core.

Exercise 5: Figure Four Stretch

Yoga for Back Pain - Figure Four 2

Yoga for Back Pain - Figure Four 1

The figure four stretch is an amazing exercise that stretches your glutes and hips. If it’s too difficult, you can do it against a wall for support.
Technique:

  1. Lie on your back. 
  2. Lift your knees directly over your hips, and cross your right ankle over your left thigh to form a figure-4-shape with legs. Relax your arms. 
  3. To protect the right knee, flex your right foot by reaching your toes toward your shin.
  4. Interlace your fingers behind your left thigh. 
  5. Rotate your right hip outward so your inner thigh faces you. 
  6. Gently pull the left thigh toward your chest. Squeeze the right glutes for a more active stretch. 
  7. Keep your back, neck, and head relaxed on the floor by tucking your chin and pressing navel toward the floor.
  8. Keep back flat by lightly engaging your core and tucking chin toward your throat. You may only need to pull the thigh in slightly to feel a stretch.
  9.  Hold the posture, inhaling as you maintain the position, and exhaling as you deepen the stretch.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoy this routine; stick with a protocol of stretching and strengthening for optimal back pain relief results. In the majority of cases, you have the power to cure your own back pain by making routines like this one a priority in your daily life, and by staying mindful of your posture and form while you’re sitting at a desk, doing day-to-day tasks and exercising.


Additional Resources

You might be interested in relieving neck and shoulder pain, strengthening your glutes, or spinal decompression, so check out these 3 blogs!

About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.

Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.

Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.

Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.

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