Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and has great benefits for the mind and body. When it comes to relieving back pain, do you ever wonder no one is talking about this age-old practice? If you have an achy back, there are small movements that you can do that will strengthen back muscles, lengthen the spine and even relieve that pesky pain that we all experience from time to time.

Many people are reluctant to try yoga because they don’t truly know its benefits. Yoga isn’t a New Age practice only for “vegetarians” and “free spirits.” There is no secret group or elitist title needed to do it. Yoga is made up of poses that allows you to be aware of your body, it’s pain and has the ability to relieve those pains.

Here are some yoga poses you can try on days when your back wants to be a nuisance:

Upward-Facing Dog

For those with lower back pain, upward-facing dog engages the back and loosens the muscles around the spine. Additionally, upward-facing dog improves your posture. Back pain can cause you to alter your posture which in the long-term make matters worse. Pair this pose with ten long, deep breaths.

downward dogHow to:

  • Begin by lying face-down on the floor.
  • Have your legs extended flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands flat on the side of your body.
  • Press into the floor and lift your chest to the ceiling.
  • Hold this pose for about 30 seconds (or as long as your body will allow if you’re a beginner).
  • As you lower your body, exhale until you are flat on the floor again.


Child’s Pose

If you’re a beginner with Yoga, this is a pose for you. Child’s pose promotes back stabilization and stretches the muscles in your lower back. Doing this pose also helps strengthen your abdominal muscles. In case you didn’t know, having a strong core relieves back pain as well.

Child's poseHow to:

  • Start with your hands on your knees.
  • Spread your knees apart, but keep your big toes touching.
  • Sit up straight and bow forward while exhaling, bringing your torso between your thighs (as much are you can if you’re a beginner).
  • Keep your arms extended in front of you.
  • Hold for about a minute or longer.
  • Use your hands to slow walk your torso back to the upright position


Cat-Cow Stretch

The cat-cow stretch improves posture and balance. When you couple this pose with breathing, you receive the maximum benefits of this stretch. As you slowly alternate from the cat to cow pose, inhale and exhale with every movement.

Cat Cow StretchHow to:

  • Start on your hands and knees (Cow Pose).
  • Inhale as you drop your belly towards the floor.
  • Lift your head toward the ceiling, pulling your shoulders away from your ears.
    As you exhale, move into the Cat Pose.
  • Draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Lower your head to toward the floor.
  • Inhale back into the cow pose.
  • Repeat 5-20 times.


Sphinx Pose

In America, 35 percent of its workforce have sedentary jobs. Working in a sedentary job flattens our lower back and causes pain over time. The sphinx pose helps to restore your back’s natural curve and relieve lower back pain. If you are new to Yoga, this pose is also a great one to start with.

Sphinx PoseHow to:

  • Lie down on your stomach
  • Place your elbows close by your chest
  • Hold yourself up on your forearms
  • Keep your forearms parallel, palms facing down to the ground
  • Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes (shorter if you’re a beginner)


Supine Twist

– After a long day at work, you may feel tension in your neck and back. The Supine Twist is a great tension reliever and option that allows gravity to do most of the work.

Supine TwistHow to:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees, rotate your hips to the left.
  • Extend your left leg and cross your right knee over the left side.
  • Extend your right arm out to the side and rest your left hand on your right knee.
  • Turn your head to the right and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Exhale as you release the pose and repeat on the opposite side.


In conclusion:

When doing Yoga for the first time, pace yourself and understand that you are using muscles that you may not have used previously. Take your time, breath and allow gravity to work with you and not against you. In an article written by Spine Health, “Yoga poses are meant to train the body to be healthy and supple. Consistent practice and application will result in improved posture, and an increased sense of balance, with head, shoulders and pelvis in proper alignment. Additionally, unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga helps to stretch and strengthens both sides of the body equally.”

While doing these poses will yield some results, it’s always important that you consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen. At Dr. Michael Gomez’s Office, we take a comprehensive approach to achieving the optimal relief for your back pain. Request an appointment by contacting us by email, or calling 786-456-4152 today.