Yoga for Back Pain

Geting Started Guide to Using Yoga Poses for Neck and Lower Back Pain

Yoga for back pain is becoming increasingly popular.  With the right approach, you may be able to use yoga poses to alleviate your lower back pain, your mid-back pain and/or your neck pain. 

Yoga is a mind body exercise system based on poses and the achievement of peace of mind. 

This article is a primer for using yoga for back pain. The goal is to help you start or continue a yoga practice that is safe and appropriate practice for your condition,  without re-injuring your back or neck in the process.

Overview of Yoga for Back Pain

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Maybe you've heard that yoga can help you reduce your back pain. Or maybe instictively you feel that if you did yoga you could "work out the kinks" that cause the discomfort in your back. Most likely, you are on the right track with that thinking. But if you suffer from back or neck pain, some preliminary knowledge is in order to keep your yoga practice safe, productive and tailored to your specific needs.

This overview ariticle talks about choosing a style of yoga that will help your back, rather than re-injure it. It also addresses about how to work with your doctor, your yoga teacher and pose modifications so that you remain safe as you practice. It is a must read for back pain sufferers who are starting a yoga program.

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Are You and Your Back Ready to Practice Yoga?

As a back or neck pain sufferer, a yoga class has the potential to be an experience of "swimming with the sharks". You, your teacher and friends, and your fellow yogis may mean well, but unfortunately, that does not guarantee the class is a good fit for you. It does not even guarantee that you will be able to follow the instructions safely.

Coming to yoga armed with the information you need to make good decisions may help you avoid doing yourself more harm than good. Take the Yoga for Back Pain Awareness Quiz to see what you know about starting your practice safely. If you miss a few questions, that's okay, all the information is covered in the articles linked from this page.

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Yoga for Back Pain Beginner Series

If you suffer with back pain, you know you have to be extra careful when trying out exercise. Yes, doing yoga to help your back may give you pain relief, but it is important to establish a practice that is safe and meaningful for your condition. This requires that you know about why and how to do the poses you are trying. It also means that you should know when not to do a pose.

The Beginner Series goes over 4 basic poses, along with the background information for each.

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Yoga for Spinal Flexibility - Intermediate Series

When doing yoga to increase your back's flexibility, balance is the word. For back pain sufferers, balance doesn't have to mean an overly challenging workout. But it is important to follow up bending backward, for example, with bending forward. Working in balance also helps coordinate spinal stability. It prevents the predominance of strength in certain muscles over others, which is, in itself, a precursor to back injury.

This article presents a series of 4 yoga poses for developing back flexibility. It also examines common types of back injuries in light of yoga, to further help you determine which poses would be good for your back condition and which should be avoided.

For your reference, there is also a section that describes stages of injury healing.

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Preventative Maintenance - Hip Work for a Balanced Back - The Advanced Series

Taking the concept of balance further, this Advanced series focuses on developing the strength and flexibility of hip muscles. The hips support body posture, and for better or worse, they make their mark on the amount of back pain you have. So if you are in the maintenance phase of healing an injury, or are interested in preventing posture-based back pain, this active standing pose routine may be for you.

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