Everyone can suffer from back pain, it seems. Whether you’re just someone who exercises for fun on the weekend, a trained athlete, or even a comparative couch potato.
No matter your body type or fitness regime, sore muscles and minor ailments and health issues just seem to crop up for many of us.
It’s not just word of mouth, either. According to gathered statistics, over 540 million people suffer from some kind of back pain at any given time.
And in the United States alone, 8 out of 10 people will suffer back pain at some point in their lives, often in quite debilitating ways. It can stop you from enjoying yourself and doing the things you love doing.
So, even if your back feels fine right now, it might be best to get into some kind of healthy movement routine to keep that back pain in check.
Fortunately, that’s where yoga comes into the picture. With hundreds of poses to both work and soothe every part of the human body, there are going to be at least a couple that are primed for helping alleviate your back problems.
Don’t believe us? Well, there’s a simple way to see: Check out our list of yoga poses below, try a few or all of them out for yourself, and see for yourself if we’re joking!
So, when starting a list of some of our favorite yoga poses for back pain, we’ll start with one that pretty much anyone can try. Next to no barriers to entry and trying it out for yourself.
While many people may not know the name cat-cow pose very well, they almost certainly will recognize the pose and the motions that you have to do.
With your hands and knees planted on the ground, the person then puffs their chest down, slowly moves their head upwards, and arches their back downwards as they exhale.
This is the ‘cow’ part of the pose. Then on the inhale, they move their chest and abdomen upwards with the arch of their back, and the head-turning downwards. This is the ‘cat’ pose, where your back is arched like a threatened or scared cat.
This exercise is perfect for working pretty much every muscle in the back, as well as your neck and chest for better breathing. Even the glutes get a little work out at the same time!
Plus, as we said, this is not a complicated pose to try out, so anyone will be able to give it a go for themselves, so there’s no excuse not to try it out!
Sticking with the foundation poses for a little while longer, the child’s pose isn’t just a yoga position that we recommend for back pain.
It’s a core form that will often be used in many yoga sequences, as well as being a great way to decompress after a long workout, training session, or even just a day at work. So there are plenty of reasons besides just keeping your back pain in check to learn this one.
Of course, it also does that very well at the same time, helping you stretch your glutes, hamstrings, and lower and mid back during the stretch. Heck, even your arms and shoulder get a decent workout out of this!
To do this pose, you’ll want to start on your knees on a nice flat surface with no bumps or ridges to get in the way.
Then you’ll want to stretch your arms out in front of you as far as you can and plant your hands on the ground. You’ll also want to lower your shoulders and head until your forehead is either hovering just above the ground or gently touching it.
Make sure your hips are over your legs, and simply spread and relax your legs outwards. Now, hold this relaxed position for a few breathing cycles,
Again, this is a very simple pose to take and is quite therapeutic to try out for yourself. You’ll be surprised just how much stretching out over the floor in this position calms your mind and helps you concentrate on your breathing!
Adorable name aside, this is yet another great pose to try out if you’re new to yoga and unsure about its benefits.
This is another pose that flexes and stretches the hamstrings and glutes, with the lower back and torso, in particular, getting a lot of work with this position.
Keen-eyed observers will probably spot that this position shares a lot in common with the child pose that we just covered.
Here, however, the upper body, rather than resting on the hands, fully splays out across the mat in front of you, very similar to how a lot of puppies try and show that they are ready to play.
Aside from the upper body, there’s very little difference in this pose. Just make sure that your legs are spread out to either side of you enough to allow your back to stretch easily. You’re wanting to gently stretch it, not push it to the point of straining!
While we can’t guarantee that this is the kind of pose to get you hyped up with puppy-dog enthusiasm that the name suggests, it is going to get that back of yours stretched out, especially if you hold the pose for a few breathing cycles to boot.
Now, if you’re looking to relieve some tension in your back, as well as stretch that lower part of it where that aching just won’t go away, this is the twisting pose for you.
As you can imagine with this pose, you’ll be getting plenty of stretching for your lower back and glutes, though the shoulder and upper back work that goes into this pose will also help your back out,
The downward dog is one of the most famous yoga poses out there, with pretty much every yoga practitioner’s routine including some element of this pose in their regimes.
And with good reason. The downward dog works pretty much every key muscle in the body that you might need for a good yoga routine, from your shoulder to your back and glutes, to your hamstrings.
Heck, even your calves will get a good bit of stretching and exercise from this routine!
To try out this pose, you’ll want to make sure that your hands and the balls of your feet are firmly planted on a given surface, so you should start this pose from a kneeling position.
From there, you can raise your legs and hips so that they are the highest point in the pose, with your arms supporting your head and upper body at a lower angle. If you’ve pulled this off right, you’ll look something like an upside-down V shape.
(A little difficult to measure where you will be in this whole process, we acknowledge.)
From this position, you’ll be able to push forward on an exhalation, flexing your lower body even more, before coming back into this position on an inhale.
An often underappreciated part of the body, the shoulder blades are just as important to good back health as keeping the spine, hips, and glutes in their best condition. So, why should we not have an exercise or two focused on them?
While some of the yoga poses that we’ve covered do exercise the shoulder blades and upper back quite well, we think that the shoulder flossing pose is the best if you’re looking to focus on this part of yourself.
It’s also one of the few poses in this guide that needs a prop to get the full benefit. Most professional tutorials call for an elastic gym trap of some kind.
You’ll start the shoulder flossing pose on your knees, with your feet tucked underneath you and the bottom of them facing the air. Your hands will be behind your back.
From here, you’ll then bring your arms over your head behind you, all while still holding the strap over your shoulders. You’ll find that stretching in your shoulder means that you’re doing this right.
Finally, to cap off this list, we have one of our favorite yoga poses to try.
The cobra pose is a lot like the child pose, in that it’s a position that many yoga sequences start or flow through, so learning this won’t just be great for your middle and lower back (which it will be), but it’s also pretty foundational to understanding and building your routine too.
You’ll start this pose from a flat position on your stomach. Your feet will be pointed behind you, and your arms will be splayed out to your sides. From this point, you will then raise your upper boy with your arms, while your lower half will be stretched out behind you.
While there are likely other strategies and medications that you can try, we’ve found that yoga is one of the best for you.
Not only does it help alleviate that pain, but it also helps create healthier living routines, as you start working out more or dedicating more time to your health. Something that even the best of us can forget to do from time to time.
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