Developed over 5,000 years ago, yoga is one of the best time-tested forms of back pain exercise. Yoga for back pain is ideal because it uses postures to stretch muscles, elongate the spine and build strength. Well-known benefits of yoga include strengthening the core muscles, increasing flexibility, correcting bad posture, elevating mood and increasing focus.
It is difficult to speak of yoga as one thing, since there are a many different types. Each type of yoga emphasizes something different, whether it be meditation, strength-building, stamina or breath. Many people with back pain can benefit from yoga; the type of yoga you pursue should depend on the type of back pain you have and the goal you’re working toward.
Iyengar yoga teaches proper alignment achieved by intentional movement. It promotes strength, flexibility and balance throughout the body. Iyengar is also highly adaptable to the individual’s needs; it involves the use of numerous props, such as blocks and bands, as well as pose modifications to make it accessible to people with disabilities. The adaptability of Iyengar makes it possible for people to exercise with back pain after a recent injury. It is especially ideal for those with alignment problems and poor body mechanics.
Power yoga is an adaptation of Ashtanga yoga,whose focus is on strength-training. Power yoga incorporates calisthenic moves like push-ups and lunges, while also maintaining traditional yoga practices like stretching and breathing exercises. Power yoga is not appropriate for people with current injuries, beginners or those without a basic level of fitness as it is high-intensity. It is ideal for people who are looking to enhance fitness and prevent back pain by gaining muscle tone to support the spine.
Those with certain types of back pain should take caution when pursuing any new exercise plan. Certain aspects of yoga may not be appropriate for you depending on your condition. Forward bending poses, for example, can be harmful if you have a loss of lordosis (inward arch) in the lumbar spine or tight hamstrings.
If you have sacroiliac joint dysfunction, poses that require standing on one leg may be painful.
One of the above types of yoga may make a wonderful additional to your back pain treatment plan. Make sure your workout is suited to your specific needs.