Back pain is one of the most serious and common issues which affects our daily life. In easy words, it is an ache or discomfort in the spine (back). It can be experienced in the upper, middle or lower back and in some cases, in the entire back. While it can develop in people of all age groups, the risk of facing this pain increases as we age and even during pregnancy. Those with desk jobs are also at a higher risk of experiencing this pain. While for some, it can be a temporary phase, for others it can continue for a long period.
Based on its duration, it can be of two types- Acute, which lasts for a few days to 6 weeks and chronic- when the pain continues for more than 3 months.
Back pain can be because of various reasons including medical ailments, some of which are as below:-
- Lifting heavy weights or lifting them improperly
- Over exercise or exertion
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Incorrect/poor posture
- Muscle pain or strain /spasm
- Sudden jerks/movements
- Fall or injuries
- Structural problems (Disk injuries)- Disks can bulge, herniate, commonly known as slip disc (can lead to sciatica) or rupture and hence, cause back pain
- Medical conditions like Arthritis (Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back), Osteoporosis, which means porous bone, that is when the bones become weak and brittle, Vertebral Displacement conditions like spondylolisthesis
- Skeletal irregularities- when spine curves to the side
- Infections like tuberculosis
- Kidney stones or infection
- Sleep disorders, even insomnia
- Cancer, in severe cases
- Psychological conditions- stress, anxiety, depression
- Pinching /stabbing pain in the back
- Pain that hampers daily life activities like bending, lifting, standing or even walking and moving
- An intense ache in lower or upper back when resting doesn’t help
- Numbness in legs, buttock or back
- Pain that extends to the legs
The condition is severe if the back pain leads to or is combined with symptoms like irritable bowel movements, (bowel/bladder incontinency), sudden weight loss, fever, throbbing sensation in the abdomen.
People can benefit from yoga as it will help in relaxing the body and providing relief from pain. Certain posture helps strengthen and stretch the spine and the muscles, especially the core. We have enlisted some easy yoga asanas which can be performed by people of all age groups.
Yoga asanas for back pain
- Setu bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
This helps to strengthen the spine and improve its flexibility. Since, the buttocks, pelvis and the lower body are involved, this asana strengthens the spines and improves flexibility and provides relief from back pain.
- Supta Matsyendrasana (Lying-down body twist/Supine spinal twist)
This pose is one of the easiest ones and is beneficial not only for the abdominal organs but also for stiffness and pain in the lower back and hips. You can place your hand gently on your legs to apply pressure on them to ensure that they touch the ground.
- Trikonasana (Extended triangle pose)
This pose works wonder for those with back pain and leg numbness issues. It has various benefits like relieves back pain, especially lower back pain, neck stiffness, increases the flexibility of legs and knees, stretches the buttocks and hamstrings and also extends the spine. It will help in your digestive issue too.
- Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined head to toe)
This asana can be done without a yoga belt too. The main aim is to stretch your leg straight towards you and touch it with your hand. Beginners can initially aim for touching the ankle or by the thighs and then gradually with practice, touch the toe. This pose will stretch your legs and abdomen and help strengthen your spine. An advanced version on this pose would be revolved reclining posture where the revolved leg should be at the opposite side and should be straight and perpendicular to the body.
This posture stretches the back and neck, stimulates the nervous system, and relieves abdominal organs from any tension. A word of caution- just ensure not to overstretch your neck and pregnant ladies, those with neck or shoulder injuries or those suffering from hernia should not perform this asana.
Along with the above-mentioned poses, Shavasana (Supported corpse pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Paschimottasana (Seated forward bend) and Salabhasana (Locust Pose) and Cat cow (Bidalasana) can also be practiced for relief.
It is highly recommended that the asanas should be performed after consultation with your doctor or a physiotherapist. Usually, the back pain subsides, but if it doesn’t, it is best to get a checkup done with your doctor. We suggest curing this condition naturally without popping supplements or investing in products that convey that they provide relief. Devising a regular workout regime which includes yoga, stretching (as they provide relief from back pain) along with exercises focusing on your abdominal and back muscles will work wonders. Do them just after waking up as the work out will help strengthen the core muscles and will also reduce the back pain and stiffness.
Apart from exercising, taking care of the below measures is essential for best results and maximum benefits:-
- Maintaining correct posture and movements (avoiding slouching while sitting/standing, while driving and sleeping, avoiding sudden movements and jerk. Ladies, please ditch those high heels in daily wear for something flat and comfortable)
- Avoiding standing/sitting at a stretch
- Avoiding lifting heavyweights
- Using ice packs/hot bottle therapy
- Walking every day for a minimum of 30 minutes
- Having a balanced and nutritious diet rich in calcium, Vitamin D and melatonin
- Using a comfortable mattress and a pillow (Make sure that the neck is not at a steep angle, that is no taking double or triple pillows, just one is enough)
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking and alcohol