Are you searching for the best yoga poses for lower back pain? Nowadays, most people lead a sedentary lifestyle where they do not have enough time to take good care of their health. As a result, they experience a pervasive problem, which is back pain. Regular exercise can help you to deal with this problem, but it will only give you temporary relief.
The best way to release tension from your lower back is to practice yoga daily. Yoga is essential for bringing the consciousness of your body, and it also stretches muscles to relieve stress from your back. However, you must be careful of the yoga sequence and poses to deal with the back pain problems effectively.
As a chiropractor in Alaska, I know that yoga targets specific groups of muscles in both the back and abdomen. Stronger muscles support the spine, which reduces the amount of pressure placed on the spine and the connective tissues.
This will lead to less pain over time. Yoga also stretches muscles, such as the hamstrings, that also relieve pressure on the back, especially the lower back. Even Harvard agrees that yoga is one of the most effective tools for easing low back pain.
You must be careful about which poses you do. When you are experiencing pain, your back muscles will already be tense. You might be feeling stress and anxiety about your back, wondering when this pain will end. With your back already not in the best condition, you must stick with poses that help strengthen your core and divide the stress over your body (instead of putting more pressure on your lower back).
You also need to learn how to do the poses correctly and stick to that method. Be sure to choose a yoga instructor who not only is known for being a “stickler” for proper poses but who understands those with back pain and the poses that work best for this issue.
Our modern-day lives are filled with conveniences (drive-through restaurants) and jobs that usually require a great deal of sitting. While our ancestors might think this sounds ideal, our sedentary lifestyles have led to many health issues, including back pain.
The following poses were chosen because they are great for people who spend hours sitting every day. The best way to help relieve pain is to move the muscles and help realign them. Decompressing your spine is also important after being sedentary most of the day.
This blog will walk you through 10 of the best yoga poses to practice daily and get relief from your lower back pain. Keep reading.
There is a great reason why yoga has become so popular. It is an exercise that has helped thousands of people with lower back problems because it is effective and easy to find an instructor.
Why should you practice yoga for lower back pain?
Yoga for lower back pain is crucial because it helps to release tension as well as relax your body with the help of breathing exercises and meditation. Following the right yoga poses is pivotal to improving both your physical and mental health. Some of the benefits of doing yoga for lower back pain are discussed below –
- Yoga poses can reduce stress-related to chronic back pain and help you to move comfortably by minimizing the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
- By practicing yoga for lower back pain, you can also get relief from symptoms of anxiety.
- Because of tension in lower back areas, it causes fatigue and inflammation, which can be reduced by performing the most appropriate lower back yoga poses.
- With the help of yoga, you can alleviate the chances of heart disease. Yoga is an ideal tool to promote heart health.
- Chronic pain can lead to depression. Yoga for lower back pain can efficiently treat the problem of chronic lower back pain and, thus, fight depression proactively.
- Back pain can stop you from sleeping peacefully. Yoga for lower back pain can improve the quality of your sleeping and eliminate all the discomforts related to it.
- With the help of yoga, you can create a proper balance in your body and enhance the flexibility of regular movements as well.
- While holding up a posture, you have to focus on your breathing. It means you can improve your breathing with yoga and make your lungs function efficiently.
- Yoga for lower back pain can enhance the quality of your overall lifestyle and make you more energetic and healthier.
How To Use Yoga Poses Effectively
Making sure you do the poses correctly is essential to ensure that you aren’t hurting yourself. When done properly, these poses can reduce the stress on your lower back and relieve pain.
The following yoga poses help to elongate the spine and strengthen the muscles around it, such as the Latissimus Dorsi muscles in the lower back, the abdominal external oblique core muscles in the abdomen, and the erector spinal muscles, to name a few. Doing these poses regularly will provide stronger abdominal and back muscles, which provide stronger support for the lower back.
Top 10 yoga poses for lower back pain
Listed below are ten of the most popular yoga poses that can strengthen your body to treat your chronic lower back pain. Check them out.
1. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose is one of the best yoga poses for lower back pain that can correctly reduce tension from your neck and lower back areas. While performing this pose, your spine gets a proper stretch.
It also helps to elongate hips, thighs, and ankles in a perfect manner. If you practice this yoga pose regularly for 10-15 minutes, it will definitely minimize your stress and fatigue. Muscles like the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, spinal extensor get immensely benefited from this pose.
Steps to do the Child’s Pose
- Sit on your knees, keeping your hip-width apart, and keep your feet behind. Breathe in deeply, and when breathing out, make sure your torso is over the thighs.
- Try to make your ribs away from the tailbone to stretch your spine and neck as much as possible. The head crown should be kept away from the shoulders.
- Keep your forehead on the floor, resting and extend both of your arms in the front direction.
- Try to hold this position at least for 3 minutes.
2. Sphinx Pose
Another essential yoga for lower back pain is Sphinx Pose. This pose not only creates a natural curve in the lower back area but also strengthens the muscles that support it to reduce lower back pain.
Practicing this pose lengthens the shoulders, abdomen, and neck so that you can get relief from stress and back pain as well. Muscles like erector spinal, gluteal muscles, pectoralis major, etc., get engaged while doing this posture.
Sphinx pose also decompresses your spine, but it works against the pressures you put on it every day by sitting for hours at a time. By curving your back in the opposite manner, you are helping to relieve tension from long hours of sitting or standing and slouching.
Of course, it is best to learn to have good posture, but even then, your spine is being stressed. This pose can help relieve that stress. By giving you a way to gently complete a backbend with the support of the floor, your back is getting a more focused release. This pose also helps to lengthen your abdominal muscles, which will provide better support for your spine.
Steps to do the Sphinx Pose
- Lying on your stomach, you need to extend your legs together behind you.
- Keep your elbows closer to your shoulders. Make sure your forearms are on the floor while you are slowly lifting up your chest off the ground.
- Try to relax your shoulder and stretch your spine as much as you can. Do it with the support of your hips and thighs.
- Sit up on the floor to feel the stretch in your lower back area.
- Stay in this position for up to 3 minutes.
3. Cat-Cow Pose
Amongst top yoga poses for lower back pain, Cat-Cow Pose is a highly effective one that you cannot miss to include. It works effectively to release tension from the lower back area by supporting the mobility of your spine and brings your spine to its natural position.
With this gentle back bending of your shoulders, the neck also gets adequately stretched. The most important muscles working for this posture are the triceps, erector spinae, rectus abdominis, etc.
This is a great exercise for any kind of back pain, not just lower back pain. This is an excellent pose, provided that you move slowly and deliberately, there is little chance that you will do the pose wrong. The primary benefits are that you improve flexibility along your spine, including your neck.
Steps to do the Cat-Cow Pose
- Place your body on all fours. Do ensure that your shoulders are over your wrists and hips are over your knees.
- Make a proper balance of your weight distributed over all four points.
- Inhale slowly and drop your stomach towards the ground. (Cat posture)
- Exhale and place your chin into your chest. Try to lift your tailbone and spine in the upward direction. (Cow posture)
- Focus on the awareness of your body movement and keep on doing this pose for 3 minutes.
4. Standing Forward Bend
This pose is an essential yoga for lower back pain. This pose helps to stretch your spine along with your legs. As a result, you get relief from your lower back pain quickly. You can bend your knees a little in case you are uncomfortable straightening your legs completely. Make sure you do the bend with the help of your hips instead of your back.
The standing forward bend helps stretch your back by reaching down to touch your toes. You will need to be careful of your knees: they should be bent. Locking your knees straight can hurt them.
The muscles which cross our lower back and pelvis, the Psoas muscles, are often very tight from long hours of sitting. They tend to pull up, which puts more pressure on our knees. Until you are more flexible, keep your knees slightly bent. This will prevent knee pain and make it easier to keep your balance.
Remember that you should not be forcing yourself for this pose. If you cannot touch your toes or the floor, that is alright. Doing yoga regularly will help you reach a little further. However, what is important is to stretch your body, not to strain it. If you have had back surgery, do not attempt this pose without a professional to make sure you are doing it right.
Some of the primary benefits of the standing forward bend are the lengthening of the hamstrings, hips, and calves, the decompression of the spine, and allowing you to be more aware of how you hold your body.
The benefits of this pose go beyond just what it can do for the spine. Yoga, in general, is known for relief from stress and anxiety, and this pose is said to be super beneficial in this area. It is also believed to improve digestion.
Steps to do the Standing Forward Bend Pose
- Start with the Downward Facing Dog position. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while standing on the floor.
- Keep your legs straight and stretch them properly, having your torso hang down.
- Move your chin closer to your chest and keep your head down. Relax your shoulders. Create a long spine as much as you can.
- Hold this posture for up to 3 minutes.
5. Downward-Facing Dog
This is easily one of the best-known yoga poses. With this forward bend, you can strengthen your body and release tension from your lower back area as well. This pose helps to rejuvenate your body to a great extent. Several muscles, including hamstrings, deltoids, triceps, and more, become stretched during this yoga pose.
One of the reasons it is so effective at helping lower back pain is that it stretches your leg muscles, particularly the hamstrings and calves. Nearly all cases of low back pain involve tight hamstrings, which pull the lumbar spine out of position. It can also help you strengthen your arms.
There is a good reason why this is such a popular pose. It gives your full body a bit of attention. It helps to stretch the triceps and rotator cuffs, relieving upper back tension. It tones your waist a bit, but it is a good stretch of the hamstrings which will further help relieve stress on your back.
For a chiropractor, the biggest benefit is that this pose releases pressure on the lumbar spine via the hamstrings.
Steps to do Downward-Facing Dog Pose
- Start on all fours. Keep your hand aligned underneath your wrists and your hips over your knees.
- Sit on your knees and lift up your back in the upward direction.
- Keep your legs straight and heels low towards the floor.
- Press your hands on the ground while keeping your fingers spread.
- Keep your head down and look through your legs.
- Stay in this position for a minimum of one to three minutes.
6. Extended Triangle Pose
It is a traditional pose of yoga for lower back pain. It can treat your chronic lower back pain and neck pain. Your shoulders, chest, and legs become stronger by practicing this yoga pose.
Also, it does lengthen your spine and hips. Maintaining this pose properly can reduce your stress and anxiety issues. It engages different muscles like the latissimus dorsi, internal oblique, hamstrings, etc.
The extended triangle is a pose that should be done very carefully as it requires both twisting and stretching. You may want to wait until you have mastered the other poses before trying this one.
If you have a herniated disc, you might want to avoid this pose entirely. When done right, you can really stretch your entire body. It is also a great exercise to relieve stress as it requires you to focus on the body and nothing else, clearing the mind.
Make sure that you do not push too hard while doing this pose. If you cannot reach the floor, use a prop (such as a chair or sturdy box) for your hand. Make sure you do not overextend or twist your back. Your core should be engaged throughout this exercise.
Like several of the other poses on this list, the extended triangle stretches most of your body. You will feel the stretch in your hips, thighs, groin, waist, and hamstrings. It should never feel too tight or painful – which means you are stretching too far. By working these muscles, you are providing better support to your back.
Steps to do the Extended Triangle Pose
- Stand on the floor and keep a 4 feet gap between your feet.
- Keep your right toes facing in the forward direction as left toes are kept out at a fixed angle.
- Keeping your arms parallel to the floor, tilt your body in the forward direction. Make sure your right side is forward in this posture.
- Then stretch your left arm in an upward direction and move your head up, forward, and down, respectively.
- Work like this for one minute and do the same on the left side.
7. Bridge Pose
The bridge pose is one of the best yoga poses to strengthen your lower back. It is used to treat back pain effectively. This pose is a combination of backbend and inversion that helps to stretch your spine. Erector muscles and hamstrings are extended in this pose. Also, it is beneficial for rectus and transverse abdominis.
It can be equally effective for upper and lower back pain. You do need to be careful not to put too much stress or pressure on your shoulders and neck when doing this pose. Also, control your body as you roll your back to the floor. Do not just drop your hips, or let gravity do most of the work.
Remember not to arch your back or use just your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles should be doing as much work as your back.
The bridge pose benefits all of your core muscles, including your abdominals, glutes, and back. Giving you a good stretch from your neck all the way down your spine, it is easier to relax when you finish. It is also another good pose to help relieve stress as most of us carry stress in our shoulders and upper back.
Steps to do the Bridge Pose
- Lie down on the floor facing the ceiling and keep your knees bent. Place your heels near your sitting bones. Keep your arms aligned to your body.
- Lift up your tailbone by pressing your arms and feet onto the floor.
- Keep on doing this to make your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Relax your arms and support your body by keeping your fingers under your hips.
- Stay in this position at least for one minute and drop your knees together.
8. Knees to Chest Pose
This pose is one of the most common yoga poses for lower back pain. You can modify this stretch from basic to an advanced level by adding slow rocking motion to it. This pose not only helps to release back pain but also gives you a bodyweight massage in a natural way. If you follow the yoga sequence correctly, you can easily practice this posture on your own.
The knees-to-chest is a very relaxing pose that can be a great way to end a yoga session. It elongates your back to stretch the muscles. You can also do this pose on its own when you need to take a break from sitting. It will give you a few moments to relax and breathe more normally.
The primary benefit to your spine is that it will become more limber over time. It can work to release stress built up over the day. The pose is also recommended to relieve stomach issues and to calm you after a stressful day.
Steps to do the Knees to Chest Pose
- Lie on the floor facing the ceiling. Keep your knees together.
- Hug your knees to bring them together near to your chest.
- Rock your torso back slowly and keep holding your legs with your hands tightly.
- Hold this position for one to three minutes.
9. Cobra Pose
It is traditional yoga for lower back pain. With this backbend stretch, you can strengthen your spine and shoulders. Lengthening your abdominal area and chest can heal your pain. If you practice this yoga pose daily, you will surely get relief from sciatica also.
It reduces the stress and fatigue that come with chronic pain. Muscles engaged in this pose include hamstrings, gluteus maximus, serratus anterior, and more.
Steps to do the Cobra Pose
- Lie on the floor with the support of your stomach, keeping your shoulders on your hands. Place your fingers in a forward direction.
- Keep your arms close to your chest, and do not keep them loose.
- Lift up your head, chest, and shoulders by pressing your hands onto the ground. If you feel uncomfortable to lift all the way up, you can do halfway.
- Bend your elbows slightly and drop your head back a little.
- Rest your head, putting your arms alongside your body.
- Moving your hips slowly from one side to another will help to reduce tension from your lower back area.
10. Locust Pose
Out of all the yoga poses for lower back pain, this is the most famous one. During this backbend pose trapezius, erector spinae, gluteus maximus, and triceps are engaged to release tension from your lower back. This yoga helps to keep your arms, legs, and torso more robust. You can also get relief from stress and fatigue by practicing this yoga pose regularly.
Steps to do the Locust Pose
- Lie down, keeping your face to the ground. Put your arms close to your torso and hold your palms facing upwards.
- Make sure that your big toes touch each other. Place your heels to the side. Keep your forehead a little up from the floor.
- Try to lift your head, chest, and arms all the way up. Also, you can do it halfway if you feel uncomfortable.
- Place your hands together behind your back, interlocking your fingers.
- You can lift one leg for a better stretch. Gaze forward directly, or you may look up to stretch your neck fully.
- Hold this pose at least for one minute. Take some rest and keep repeating.
Learning how to do these poses rights is necessary to help instead of hurt your back. Don’t rush through the poses either. Yoga can do as much harm as good when the poses are not executed properly. According to the 2016 study, older people are more likely to hurt their back, with people 65 and older being at the greatest risk.
When you do each pose, focus on the pose. The following are tips that will help you do each pose correctly:
- Yoga isn’t about twisting and extending. Move slowly and deliberately so you can avoid both twisting and extending at the same time. For example, for the extended triangle pose, stretch your back first, then twist. Do not try to do both moves simultaneously. Your stomach muscles engage during the stretch, so they will support your back when you twist into the final position.
- Use support. Even if you have great balance, strengthening your core often means relearning how to stand and move. Use yoga equipment, blocks, or bolsters when you need it.
- Don’t strain to touch your toes or lengthen your hamstrings. If you have lower back problems, forcing a pose will only make it worse. Instead, us a yoga belt to loop around your feet.
- Learn poses with an instructor. Request a focus on ensuring the poses are not only done correctly but that you reach the position in a way that will not hurt your back.
Throughout this blog, we have tried to highlight the best yoga poses for your lower back pain. Practice the above-listed poses regularly and get rid of your lower back pain.