Living with back pain can often leave us feeling hopeless. Pain research experts estimate that more than 80% of the United States population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. When it comes to seeking cost-effective and holistic options, many turn to yoga for back pain. In fact, this age-old practice’s effects on managing and relieving back pain are among the most studied of its health benefits.
Recent pain research shows the ability of yoga to ease back pain. These studies have explored how yoga practice can impact chronic low back pain as well as conditions affecting the back such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, kyphosis and fibromyalgia. They have consistently concluded that yoga:
- is an acceptable and safe pain intervention
- can be recommended as a therapy for patients with chronic low back pain
- can be an effective pain management tool for a wide variety of health concerns
And why not? It can help to:
- loosen your stiff muscles
- increase your oxygen flow
- release stress
- align your spine
- lower your blood pressure
- improve your posture and balance
- increase your overall strength
Combine that package of benefits with the mental clarity it can bring and its ability to help you lose weight, and you see that yoga packs a valuable punch.
If you’re one of those who lives the struggle of back pain, you’re more than likely aware that there are many treatments available to provide you with pain relief. You’re also likely aware that many of them can be invasive, addictive or downright expensive. But that’s not case with yoga. With a wide range of online videos at your fingertips and a focus on shifting your body and mind away from pain, yoga can stretch and soothe your body and spirit.
“At the most basic level, yoga allows people to connect more deeply with their body and develop a sense of the underlying cause of what’s going wrong,” said Dr. Loren Fishman, pioneer in the use of yoga therapy in physical medicine and rehabilitation and author of several books on the therapeutic use of yoga for healthy aging. “Once you quiet down enough to sense whatever it is that you’re doing wrong, be it bad biomechanics, poor lifestyle habits, chronic stress or whatever, you can undo those habits, and things tend to clear up.”