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Yoga and Back Pain

Yoga and Back Pain

This article was published by me few years back in some other blog, when I was going through a very tough time having back pain. Though I used to undergo Ayurveda Treatment regularly once a year since year 2001, I was still having pain which I could attribute to not having proper exercise as well as the hectic life style that I was undergoing for years. I can now say that I am much relieved off the back pain. Presenting this once again to stress the importance of exercise and yoga.

Having said so, what did I do to get a big relief from my back pain?. I have started doing yoga and other exercises regularly and also made slight changes in my food habits.

Almost every other person will be complaining about back pain. It is found that about 80% of Americans are suffering from back pain. In other parts of the world also it may not be different though the percentage may vary. I am living in the Middle East and it is a common problem found here. I am one who was suffering from severe back pain for almost 18 years. What is the cause? What is the remedy? If we look at it, back pain affects different parts like lower back, neck, upper back and middle back. Sciatic Nerves also get affected causing severe lower back pain as well as radiating pain on the legs.

Disc degeneration can be a major cause for the back pain. But most of the pain is due to improper posture and lack of exercise. Air Conditioning and Climatic change are also villains in this scenario. Frequent changes in the climate, extensive exposure to air conditioning affect our muscular systems seriously. Though initially we may not feel it too much, over a period of time, our muscles and bones get dry giving way to all sorts of pain and numbness. Arthritis is also a good cause for back pain. But this may not only extend to the back, it may affect any of our muscles and/or bones.

We may take pain killer tablets or take injections to fight the severe pain. This will give only temporary relief. As long as the inflammation is under control, the pain will subside and given half the chance, it will come back strongly. Use of antibiotics or pain killers has side effects like irregular bowel movements or constipation. Excessive gastric problems are also common side effects to overcome which we may be prescribed with other medicines like antacids. But prolonged use of pain killers and injections can harm your body and its metabolism.

Exercise is the best that we can give to our body in keeping our muscular systems intact. This requires some amount of commitment from our side. By doing proper exercise, you not only reduce your fat content but you also keep your muscles and bones in top condition. A 30 to 40 minutes proper exercise a day can keep us fit. All joints and muscles must be given importance while doing exercises. I am not talking about the body building exercises. But remember, all exercises are not good for everyone and care should be taken to see that we are not damaging the discs, ligaments etc. It is a must to consult an expert before attempting to do any exercise.

Many people go to the gym in their own buildings or nearby community centres having similar facilities to work on Tread Mill and devices like that. Without guidance these things can be harmful. I personally have experienced this by doing Tread Mill exercises on my own by reading some articles. At one stage my calf muscles were so paining that it was difficult for me to walk properly. I was lucky that I did not do it extensively and I was involved only in mild workout sessions. When I realized that I have over stressed my muscles, I stopped it immediately.

Then what is the suggestion? Coming to that, we have different Yoga Postures effective for curing back pain. These yoga exercises will strengthen our back muscles and give proper support to our discs. Mostly people have issues with worn out L4 and L5 discs. Sciatic nerves get jammed in between and block flow of blood to the lower parts of the body, thus affecting the legs. There are some simple Yoga exercises for the back pain which can give us a great relief.

Asanas like Salabhasana (butterfly pose), Utthishta Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose), Uttishta Trikonasana (extended triangular pose), Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), Ushtrasana (camel pose), Sethu Bandhanasana (bridge pose) etc. are extremely helpful to strengthen the lower back, legs, ankles. Then we can do Neck Rotation to set free the muscles around our neck. We must do warm up exercises before starting the yoga. They are exercises that we normally do to loosen shoulder muscles and hands.

  • Jogging is not good for people who have disc ailments as they will jerk the discs as well
  • Front Bending should be avoided as much as possible as this will increase pressure on our back muscles
  • Care should be taken to see that you are not over doing exercises. Gradually increase the number of iterations of each pose and stop as the moment you feel excessive pain
  • After every session of Yoga, don’t forget to do a Savasana (dead body pose) giving complete relaxation to your muscles and mind
  • Always select an expert Yoga Practitioner and do exercises in his/her presence until you are confident of doing it your own unattended

Beware: All exercises are not good for everyone and thus you should not select exercises on your own and also keep out of Do-It-Yourself video sessions Books.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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