HomeHealthThe 10 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

The 10 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

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Yoga may be the right treatment for your back pain. Yoga is a mind/body therapy that can be used to relieve back pain and stress. The right poses will relax and strengthen you body.

Even if you only practice yoga for a few minutes each day, it can help increase your awareness of your body. This will allow you to see where tension is held and where there are imbalances. This awareness can be used to bring you into alignment and balance.

Continue reading to find out more about these poses and how they may help with back pain.

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1. Cat-Cow

This easy backbend mobilizes and stretches the spine. This pose can also be used to stretch your neck, shoulders, and torso.

Muscles work:

  • Erector spinae
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Triceps
  • Serratus anterior
  • gluteus maximus

This is how you do it:

  1. All fours.
  2. Your wrists should be under your shoulders, and your knees below your hips.
  3. You should balance your weight equally between the four points.
  4. Take a deep breath and look up. Then, let your stomach sink towards the mat.
  5. Inhale and tuck your chin in to your chest. Next, bring your navel towards your spine. Then, arch your spine toward ceiling.
  6. As you move, be aware of your body.
  7. Try to relax and notice tension in your body.
  8. Keep going for at least one minute.

2. Dog that is downward facing

The traditional forward bend can be relaxing and rejuvenating. This pose can be used to relieve pain and sciatica. This pose can help to correct imbalances and increase strength.

Muscles work:

  • Hamstrings
  • deltoids
  • gluteus maximus
  • Triceps
  • Quadriceps

This is how you do it:

  1. All fours.
  2. Your hands should be under your wrists. Place your knees below your hips.
  3. Place your hands on your chest, press your fingers into your palms, and then lift your knees.
  4. Your sitting bones should be raised towards the ceiling.
  5. Maintain a slight bend in the knees, and lengthen your spine.
  6. Keep your heels slightly off of the ground.
  7. Hold your hands tightly in your hands.
  8. Spread your weight evenly on both sides of your body. Pay attention to your hips, shoulders and hips.
  9. Your head should be in line with your upper arms. Or, you can keep your chin slightly tucked in.
  10. This pose can be held for as long as 1 minute.

3. Extended Triangle

The classic standing position may be able to relieve backache, sciatica and neck pain. This posture can stretch your spine, hips and groin and strengthen your shoulders, chest and legs. It can also relieve stress and anxiety.

Muscles work:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • internal oblique
  • Gluteus maximus and medius
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps

This is how you do it:

  1. Standing, place your feet approximately 4 feet apart.
  2. Your right toes should face forward. The left toes should be angled.
  3. With your palms facing downward, raise your arms parallel to your chest.
  4. To bring your arm and torso forward, tilt forward and hinge at the right hip.
  5. Place your hand on your leg or onto a yoga block.
  6. Reach your left arm toward the ceiling.
  7. Look up, forward, and down.
  8. This pose can be held for as long as 1 minute.
  9. Repeat the process on the other side.

4. Pose of the Sphinx

The gentle backbend strengthens the spine and buttocks. This will stretch your abdomen, chest, shoulders and back. It can also relieve stress.

Muscles work:

  • Erector spinae
  • Gluteal muscles
  • pectoralis major
  • trapezius
  • latissimus dorsi

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your hands on your stomach and extend your legs behind you.
  2. Engage your lower back, buttocks and thighs.
  3. Place your elbows below your shoulders, your forearms on a table and your palms down.
  4. Slowly raise your head and upper torso.
  5. To support your back, gently lift your lower abdominals and engage them.
  6. Instead of collapsing into the lower back, ensure that your spine is lifted up and your crown of your head is extended.
  7. As you relax, keep your eyes straight ahead. However, it is important to remain active and engaged while in this position.
  8. For up to five minutes, you can hold this position.

5. Cobra Pose

This gentle backbend will stretch your stomach, chest, shoulders, and abdomen. This pose can strengthen your spine and help to relieve sciatica. This pose may help relieve back pain symptoms such as stress and fatigue.

Muscles work:

  • Hamstrings
  • gluteus maximus
  • deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Serratus anterior

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your hands on your stomach and place your fingers forward.
  2. Bring your arms close to your chest. Keep your elbows from extending to the sides.
  3. To slowly raise your head, chest and shoulders, press your hands into your hands.
  4. You can lift either partway, halfway or all the way.
  5. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  6. To deepen the pose, you can allow your head to drop.
  7. Take a deep breath and exhale.
  8. Place your arms at your sides and place your head on the table.
  9. To release tension in your lower back, slowly move your hips side-to-side.

6. Locust Pose

The gentle backbend can help with lower back pain and fatigue. It strengthens the back, arms, legs.

Muscles work:

  • trapezius
  • Erector spinae
  • gluteus maximus
  • Triceps

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your hands on your stomach, with your arms in front of your torso. Your palms face up.
  2. Place your big toes together, and then turn your heels to one side.
  3. Place your forehead on the floor.
  4. Slowly raise your head, chest and arms half way, halfway, or all of the way.
  5. You can put your hands together and connect your fingers behind you.
  6. Lift your legs to deepen the pose.
  7. As you extend your neck, either look straight ahead or slightly up, keep your eyes focused on the sky.
  8. For up to one minute, you can remain in this position.
  9. Before you repeat the pose, rest.

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7. Bridge Pose

It can stimulate or relax the spine by inverting and backbending. It can stretch the spine, and may alleviate headaches and backaches.

Muscles work:

  • Transverse abdominis and rectus
  • gluteus muscles
  • Erector spinae
  • Hamstrings

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your feet on the floor and lie back.
  2. Place your arms beside your body.
  3. As you press your feet into the ground, lift your tailbone upwards.
  4. Keep lifting until your thighs reach the floor.
  5. You can leave your arms straight and bring your palms together by placing interlaced fingers underneath your hips.
  6. This pose can be held for as long as 1 minute.
  7. Slowly roll your spine down towards the floor by gently rolling it back, vertebra by vertebra.
  8. Get down on your knees.
  9. In this position, relax and take a deep breath.

8. Half Lord of Fishes

This twisting position helps to energize your spine and relieves backache. This stretch will strengthen your neck, hips, and shoulders. This pose can reduce fatigue and stimulate your internal organs.

Muscles work:

  • Rhomboids
  • Serratus anterior
  • Erector spinae
  • pectoralis major
  • psoas

This is how you do it:

  1. Standing in a seated position, bring your right foot close to your body.
  2. Place your left foot on the outside of your leg.
  3. As you turn your body to the right, lengthen your spine.
  4. For support, place your left hand on the ground behind you.
  5. Your right arm should be moved to the outside of your left leg. Wrap your elbow around your left knee.
  6. To deepen your twist, keep your hips straight.
  7. To look over the shoulder, turn your gaze.
  8. This pose can be held for as long as 1 minute.
  9. Repeat the process on the opposite side.

9. Two-Knee Spinal Twist

This restorative twist encourages mobility and movement in the spine, back and neck. This stretch will strengthen your spine, back and shoulders. This pose can be used to relieve stiffness and pain in the back and hips.

Muscles work:

  • Erector spinae
  • Rectus abdominis
  • trapezius
  • pectoralis major

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your hands on the sides of your stomach, with your knees bent towards your chest.
  2. Slowly lower your legs to your left while keeping your knees as close as possible.
  3. A pillow can be placed under your knees or between your knees.
  4. To gently press your knees down, you can use your left arm.
  5. You can either keep your neck straight or twist it to one side.
  6. In this position, focus on deep breathing.
  7. This pose should be held for at least 30 second.
  8. Repeat the process on the other side.

10. The Child’s Pose

This forward fold is a great way to release tension and relax your neck and back. Your spine will be lengthened and stretched. The Child’s Pose can also stretch your hips and thighs. This pose can be a great way to reduce stress and fatigue.

Muscles work:

  • gluteus maximus
  • rotator cuff muscles
  • Hamstrings
  • Spinal extensors

This is how you do it:

  1. Place your knees on the floor and sit back on your heels.
  2. For support, you can place a blanket or bolster under your thighs, forehead, or torso.
  3. Move forward, and extend your arms in front of you.
  4. Place your forehead on the ground.
  5. You can either keep your arms straight in front of your body or extend your arms outwards.
  6. As your upper body sinks into your knees, focus on relaxing tension in your back.
  7. For up to five minutes, you can remain in this position.

Is it possible?

A 2017Trusted Source study examined the effects of yoga or physical therapy on the body over a one-year period. Participants with chronic back pain showed similar improvements in their pain and limitation of activity. After three months, both groups showed a decrease in the use of pain medication.

Separate research by 2017Trusted Source showed that yoga practice resulted in a slight to moderate reduction in pain intensity over the short-term. Participants’ short-term and long-term functioning was slightly increased by practicing yoga.

Although the research is encouraging, more studies are required to confirm and expand on these findings.

The bottom line

Recent research has supported yoga practice as an effective way to relieve back pain. However, not everyone is suited for it. Before you start any new exercise or yoga program, make sure to consult your doctor. They will help you to identify potential risks and monitor your progress.

A home practice can be started in as little as 10 minutes each day. To guide your practice, you can use books or articles. After you have learned the basics, it is possible to create your own sessions.

You may prefer to learn by doing, so you might consider taking classes in a studio. Make sure you find classes and teachers that can meet your needs.

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