Back pain is one of the most common health complaints. Almost everyone will have back pain at some time in their life. Most of the time, the exact cause of the pain cannot be found. Often the cause of back pain is multi factorial.
Similarly treatments for back pain are also many. The benefits of physical therapies such as Osteopathy and Physiotherapy are well documented. These often incorporate exercises that tend to stretch and strengthen the back. One of the more popular and well-documented exercise regimes is Yoga.
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual discipline that can be traced back at least 5000 years, it is not a religion but an art form based on harmonizing the bodies systems, mind and spirit. Modern day Yoga developed due to the energetic nature of the western world, classes taught today have four key components.
Yoga for Back Pain now @ Woodside Clinic
- Asanas: physical postures
- Pranayama: breathing
- Savasana: relaxation
- Meditation: positive thinking
In practicing a combination of these components, both physical and mental benefits are obtained.
Benefits of Yoga
Strengthen and flexibility:
Yoga helps increase strength and flexibility in very specific muscles and muscle groups. Holding the physical postures in yoga is not intended to be uncomfortable. However, it does require concentration and specific use of muscles throughout the body. Yoga requires that the individual hold the physical postures anywhere from 1 to 10+ breaths. Within these poses, certain muscles are contracting, while others are stretching, promoting strength and flexibility.
Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen and stretch the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided. Stretching is very important for people with back pain For example, stretching the hamstring muscles (in the back of the thigh) helps expand the motion in the pelvis, decreasing stress across the lower back.
Yoga practice will result in improved posture, and an increased sense of balance, with head, shoulders and pelvis in proper alignment. All the physical postures in Yoga have a counter pose, which is performed to maintain length and strength, through the entire body as over stretching one side of the body could lead to postural imbalance. Proper body alignment and good posture, which helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine, is an important part of reducing or avoiding lower back pain.
Modern day yoga helps to control the mind by connecting with the breath during the physical postures to build concentration, meditation and ultimately relaxation. The practice of pranayam (breathing techniques) independently of the physical postures promotes relaxation. Focusing on the breath helps to cut out the chatter of the mind, reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga can therefore, relieving back pain caused by psychological and emotional factors.