Yoga for Back Pain – or Maybe Not

back pain | NYCYoga is a form of exercise that offers a lot more than the average run around the track. This activity provides extensive physical and psychological benefits to people of all ages. On the flip side, yoga can also be the unwanted source of a lot of pain. Whether you are new to yoga or your mat has wonderful signs of wear, you do well to remain mindful about your movements, and in tune with what your body may be telling you.
If you have a low back injury, or any type of pain in the lumbar spine, yoga is something you should engage in carefully. A good yoga practice may be able to help build core strength to protect you from future low back injuries. A not-so-good practice could cause an injury or exacerbate one that was on the mend. Here, we will look at 4 poses that should be avoided to heal low back pain.

Downward Dog
In good form, this ubiquitous pose can leave you feeling oh, so good. Getting good form can be a challenge. If it is, the low back could pull and tense, and compression may occur in all the wrong places. The idea of downward dog is to lengthen the spine and decompress the neck. If low back pain occurs, try other, no-pressure poses to accomplish this.

Standing Forward Bend
For some people trying to heal back pain, the forward standing bend pose could feel confusing. On one hand, this pose is often one of the most highly recommended for back pain. On the other, many who have tried it wake up the next day feeling worse than before their yoga session. The straight-legged position of this bend can lead to most of the pulling tension falling straight to the lumbar spine. To decrease the strain, a yogi may bend the legs slightly while performing this pose, at least until back pain has improved.

Triangle Pose
In the triangle pose, you are both bended and twisted. If you have pain in the low back area, you may have heard that twisted could do more harm than good. Although you want to stretch areas of tightness, this should be done with great care, and without the added compression of a standing pose until the core muscles are strong enough to support it.

Camel Pose
Just looking at someone in camel pose is enough to send some people into back spasms. The backward bend of this pose can be challenging due to the focus of compression on the low back. Instead, people with back pain are encouraged to perform this stretch with support. A Cobra pose is easier to control, and come out of if the back becomes overly tense.

Non-medical therapies can do a lot for subtle back pain. However, professional care should be sought if pain becomes severe or chronic. To schedule a consultation with NYC orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Albert, call 212-606-1004.

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