If you’re a living breathing human being, it’s likely that you’ve had back pain before. It could be from an old injury, sleeping on the wrong mattress, sitting in the wrong chair at work, bad posture, or any number of other things. The good news is that relief is just 60-seconds away.
I’m a HUGE advocate for using your yoga practice as a functional tool for a better life. Try not to get stuck in thinking that yoga is ONLY for staying flexible, or ONLY for getting super strong. Yoga is here to help you stay functionally flexible AND functionally strong.
Now, let’s talk about how to give you some relief from that back pain, shall we?
1. Get a stronger core!
Yes, one of the biggest reasons behind back pain is because of a weak core. And I don’t just mean the 6-pack abs we’re used to talking about. I’m talking about the deeper transverse abdominis and obliques which play a massive role in actually holding us up.
One of the BEST exercises you can do to strengthen this area is a classic Plank. You can start out by holding it for 10 seconds and work up to a whole minute (or longer!), but I think shooting for 30 seconds a day is a great start.
Form cues: Hands should be shoulder width apart and the feet hip width apart. Think of drawing a nice straight, slowly declining line from the back of your head down to your ankles. Gently (gently!) draw the collar bones towards your fingertips, and point your tailbone towards your heels. Bring the navel in and down towards the pelvis to stay engaged, and then hold for as long as you can while breathing naturally.
2. Release the pressure!
I don’t have to tell you that we carry a lot of tension in our lower back, so it’s no wonder that it starts to hurt. My favorite quick way to relief is to squat low. I love using door handles as a prop here because it allows you to focus on form without expending a lot of energy to hold your body here. It’s just pure bliss!
Form cues: Standing about 6 inches from the door, bring your feet shoulder width apart with the feet parallel and facing forward. Drop your weight into your HEELS as you lift the collar bones up towards the sky. Keep the head and neck neutral. Draw the belly in lightly. Now go with me on this next thing… Imagine you have a tail. Don’t “tuck” your tail underneath you, but instead imagine tilting your pelvis backwards slightly so that your tail can sit naturally behind you. This not only decompresses the back, but simultaneously strengthens the pelvic floor. WIN WIN! Remember that there may be a few little adjustments you’ll make to this to feel that balance, so don’t hesitate to wiggle around until you find a feel-good spot.
Over to you! Besides yoga, what else have you tried– and succeeded at– in reducing back pain? Any go-to home remedies we should try?