Yoga for Back Pain

Earlier this week I tweaked my back. I’m not exactly sure what I did, but I sure was surprised about the amount of pain I was in. It was that kind of nagging pain sprinkled with unexpected sharp pain triggered by movement, that makes you really cranky and irritable.

I was surprised by it because my body has been feeling pretty amazing since I’ve been practicing daily the last couple of months, but I guess these things happen once you hit a certain age. Not to mention two pregnancies and one back injury during pregnancy, but I digress.

My back really hurt. And I was really cranky. I woke up yesterday morning and honestly, I couldn’t wait for my husband and kids to leave for school so that I could get on my mat.

When your back is hurt you can’t do your normal practice, you need to do a special strategic practice to relieve pain. I don’t like to immediately take pain medicine when I have pain, because I feel like that is treating only the symptom (pain) rather than the root of the problem. And in this case, I knew the problem was tight and spasming muscles.

So I laid on my mat and I breathed and slowly moved as much as I could tolerate. I knew that if I was patient and persistent that my muscles would loosen up. And after 38 minutes they did. I know this because I had to take a potty break at the 38 minute mark and at that point I was feeling about 80% better. I got back on the mat for a few more minutes, and at the 45 minute mark I was feeling 90% better and I declared that a success.

I knew the muscles would tighten back up a bit throughout the day, and they did. I breathed and stretched for maybe 5 additional minutes throughout the day and I felt reasonably well at bedtime last night.

This morning, about half of the tightness has returned, so I got back on my mat for a slightly modified version of my normal practice, and I’m feeling pretty great now.

You might wonder why I’m telling you all this. Well, yesterday afternoon a timely article about low back pain popped up on my news feed. It talks about how the cause of back pain is varied and complex and how doctors don’t have a reliable one-size-fits-all solution for it. The article says exercise, yoga, and mindfulness techniques are equally as effective, and sometimes more effective, than pain medication at relieving low back pain.

If you’re interested in yoga for therapeutic benefits, such as relief from pain, please check out our Therapeutics Series or contact us for Private Instruction. And you can also sign up for our new Therapeutics Newsletter where we’ll share tips and instructions about how to keep yourself healthy with yoga.

Have a great week! We look forward to seeing you soon!