It’s a lucky person who goes through their whole life without ever experiencing some lower back pain. It can happen for a number of reasons – injury, nerve irritation (sciatica), arthritis or sometimes there’s no easily identifiable cause. But whatever the cause, the result is pain or discomfort that is difficult to live with.
In the past people were advised to rest but this has changed in recent years. The medical profession now recommends trying to remain as active as possible. Being active can include light exercise, not just doing normal day-to-day tasks.
Recent research has shown that yoga can be an effective way to reduce the symptoms of low back pain. In a collaborative study carried out by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US, the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany, the University of Portsmouth in the UK, and Yoga Sangeeta in the US it was found that yoga may help improve function and relieve pain associated with chronic lower back pain in some people.
Some advanced yoga poses are not going to be a suitable way of relieving back pain. If the source of pain is a slipped disc then deep forward bends should be avoided. But some simple poses such as Jathara Parivrtti gently stretch the muscles of the lower back which can help relieve pain.
It is worth bearing in mind that trying yoga to help relieve lower back pain is not like taking a painkiller. The practice of yoga should be seen as a long-term approach to minimising any symptoms back pain and improving and maintaining your overall health. Regular practice will help to strengthen your body and improve your posture.
If you suffer from low back pain and you’re interested in trying yoga to see if it can help just remember to take things easy in the first few weeks. Explain your situation to your teacher so that they are aware and can modify things to accommodate you.
If you’d like to read more there’s information on the following pages from the NHS website: