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Persistent lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. This pain is often caused by lifestyle habits, like sitting long hours at your desk, slouching while you sit at your computer or slumping whilst walking. A back muscle strain or ligament strain is one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement can cause muscles or ligaments stretch or develop microscopic tears, and symptoms can include any combination of the following: Pain walking or standing, pain that tends to be achy and dull, muscle spasms, which can be severe and local soreness upon touch.
While its necessary to understand when to visit the doctor, the good news is that you can relieve and heal your lower back with yoga; a few basic stretches can ease the muscles and stretch out your lower backs, targeting your hamstrings and hips. And when you consciously bring yoga into your life, you’ll find that even a few stretches when you get a couple of moments do help. For instance – just lift your knees up to your stomach (or as high as you can), and do this 3-4 times on each side. Its so simple and sweet, great for the abs and will make your back stronger. You can also stick a Post-It at your desk that says “arch your back”, and every hour take a short break to stretch and move your back. If you wish, invest in some good back cusions for your office chair or car that will remind you to sit up straight and tall.
Spare a few moments to release your lower back muscles with these yummy stretches that you can do any time.
Do this gently as soon as you wake up, if you have a sore back.
Get into table top position, on your fours. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips, your fingers spread wide. Inhale and go into ‘cow’ position by lifting your head and tailbone and letting your belly drop toward the floor. Exhale and come into ‘cat’ position by pulling your abdomen up, rounding your spine toward the ceiling and tucking your chin in toward your chest. Continue to synchronize these movements with your breath, or spend a few extra breaths in ‘cow,’ as this really helps to open the lower back. Do this around 10-15 times.
This ‘classic’ yoga pose is a great posture for lower back pain as it targets the hamstrings—which are often tight in those with lower back pain, the back extensors—or the large muscles on your lower back, and it allows you to lengthen and stretch out your entire spine.
From table top, tuck your toes and begin to straighten your legs and lift your hips, coming into a triangle shape. Move your hands forward slightly if you need to. If you feel back pain beyond a gentle stretch, or if your spine rounds due to short hamstrings, try bending your knees slightly. Stay here for 10 breaths, and then proceed to the next pose.
Lie on your back. Lift your left leg, bent at the knee and cross it over your body onto the other side. Use the right hand to put slight pressure on the bent knee to push down towards the floor. Keep both shoulders squared and rooted to the floor. Extend the left arm and gaze towards the hand. For a deeper stretch, start to straighten the bent knee. Repeat ten times on each side.
Turn to your stomach, and repeat the above stretch. Lift your left leg and cross it over your right leg as much as you can and keep the beautiful stretch in your lower back. Repeat ten times on each side.
Let’s face it. Your back does carry a lot of baggage – physical as well as emotional. Spend a few moments and give it some love. You’ll see how beautifully supported you’ll feel!
Delna Anand is a Dubai based wellness writer and certified yoga instructor, who specializes in yoga nidra.