Easing Chronic Back Pain Through Yoga
Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
Back pain is an extremely common clinical condition encounter in everyday life. Back pain becomes a major public health issue due to increasing number of cases day by day. More people are switching to alternative and complementary therapies for pain relief, and yoga is one of them. Studies concluded that yoga seems to offer both short-term and long-term benefits in easing chronic back pain without any side-effects.
National Institute of Health reported that this musculoskeletal condition affects almost 8 out of 10 people once in their lives. Imbalance in the spinal alignment and posture is the main reason for persistent back pain. Back pain can not only ruin your life physically but also harm you economically. Chronic back pain lasts more than three months and is difficult to manage. Treating this episodic condition with painkillers has temporary effects only, while exercises are useful for the short-term period.
Balance between body, mind, and spirit technique of yoga treats a person physically as well as mentally. Stretching, strengthening, relaxation, body awareness and positive mental attitude develop by yoga help to overcome a back pain problem to a great extent.
Better than Conventional Therapies
According to the study from The University of York, UK, yoga treats chronic lower-back pain more effectively as compared to conventional forms.
Specially designed 12-week yoga programs lead to great improvement in back function and enhance the patients confidence in performing routine activities within a period of three months.
Walking quickly, getting dressed without help and standing up for longer periods are some of the everyday tasks that are improved through a 12-week yoga program even after nine months.
Thus, yoga offers both short-term and long-term benefits in not only relieving back pain but improving flexibility also. Pain relief effectiveness is much more than conventional general physician's treatment, exercise and manipulation, and other back treatment techniques.
Iyengar Yoga for Chronic Back Pain
A research team from West Virginia University School of Medicine found out that 16 weeks of Iyengar yoga therapy is offering good effects to reduce intensity of chronic back pain. Additionally, it reduces working disability and painkillers requirement. People suffering from mild chronic low back pain who adhere to this therapy notice significant improvement in medical and functional pain-related outcomes.
Iyengar yoga therapy, developed by BSK Iyengar, a well-renowned yoga charya involving classical yoga poses that deal with the imbalance in the musculoskeletal system having impact on spinal alignment and posture. Iyenger yoga principle is to focus on specific muscles groups with aim on lengthening of constricted or stiff muscles and strengthening of core postural muscles such as abdomen, diaphragm, quadriceps, hip, abductor, lateral rotator, buttocks, and muscles of lumber and thoracic area of back.
Variety of postures and use of supportive props carry under yoga therapy improve alignment, flexibility, mobility and stability in all muscles and joints involves in spinal alignment and posture. Hence, subsequently help to reduce back pain severity.
Use of wide range of supportive props such as sticky mats, belts, blocks, chairs, wall ropes, benches, boxes, stools, trestle and weight provide external support for relaxation, traction and get awareness in the specific region of the body noticed by researchers.
Recommended Poses for Chronic Back Pain
- Bharadvajasana I - Bharadvaja's Twist
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Bridge pose
- Marjarysana - Cat Pose
- Dhanurasana - Bow Pose
- Ustrasana - Camel Pose
- Bitilasana - Cow Pose
- AdhoMukha Svanasana - Downward Dog
- Garudasana - Eagle pose
- Utthita Parsvakonasana - Extended side angle pose
- Utthita Trikonasana - Extended triangle pose
- Matsyasana - Fish Pose
- Salabhasana - Locust pose
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