Back pain isn’t just painful; it can impact a person’s entire life. Fortunately, there are stretches to help ease pain and even stop it in some instances. Here are the top 6 stretches to reduce back pain according to yoga teachers.
1. Child’s Pose
A classic asana (pose), child’s pose stretches out the back and is also a resting pose. For an added dose of relief, have a yoga instructor press gently on the lower back, which helps yogis get deeper into the stretch. This can provide immense relief, but don’t allow anyone except a certified yoga instructor to assist with postures. Child’s pose, assist-free, is also a great way to rejuvenate throughout the work day.
2. Downward Dog
Perhaps the most famous of all yoga poses, downward dog is also a resting pose–though it may not feel that way to new yogis. Proper alignment requires the head to hang loosely and the chest to reach towards the thighs. The goal isn’t to have the heels touch the floor. Feel free to pedal the feet and ask for downward dog assists from teachers–which feels amazing.
3. Camel Pose
Camel pose can cause dizziness, so work into it slowly and allow for modifications. This pose can be done with hands on the hips while on the knees, or with hands reaching behind to touch the feet. The head can be held in a neutral position or dropped backwards depending on comfort and skill level. This backbend is the perfect way to counteract a day of being hunched over the computer.
4. Forward Fold and Ragdoll
These two poses provide great lower back relief. For forward fold, stand with feet hip width apart (about two fists–it’s narrower than people think) and knees at a micro bend. For ragdoll, the body can be looser and the knees bent as much as is comfortable. Try crossing at the elbows to get deeper into the stretch.
5. Crescent Hands
Standing in mountain pose, with feet hip width apart, clasp the hands overhead and slowly lean to one side for a nice side stretch. This relieves lower back muscles in a different direction than many other poses. Assists from yoga teachers including gently putting pressure on the hips while pulling softly at the hands.
6. Spinal Twist
A spinal twist feels incredible, whether with both knees bent or with one leg straight. Lie down and point one or both knees in one direction, while reaching and facing the opposite. Also called a supine twist, it’s a great way to literally unwind for the day.
Many people are surprised to note that doctors and chiropractors alike recommend a variety of yoga poses to stretch and relieve pain in the lower back. Try one the next time the lower back starts acting up and see what it can do.