Monday, September 10, 2007

Lower Back Pain

Low back pain can be caused from a number of physical or emotional reasons, such as an imbalance between hamstring and quadriceps flexibility, an imbalance between abdominal and back strength, fears about money, guilt, or love.

For serious back pain, see your doctor for recommendations and diagnosis. For mild back pain, try the simple (beneficial) asanas first. Wait 24 hours and see how your body feels. Frequently, you won’t know if your body was ready for a movement until the next day. When your back feels comfortable with the ‘beneficial’ asanas, then you may move onto the ‘okay’, then the ‘be careful with’ asanas. Whenever trying a new asana, only go to 50% of your maximum until the healing process moves farther along.

Above all, honor, listen to, and follow your intuition. The most important lessons will come from breathing fully and listening to your body.

These are guidelines only and do not consider special cases or past injuries. Check with your doctor or therapist prior to starting new exercise programs.

Beneficial Asanas

Cat/Dog (careful in Dog to not sway the lower back towards the ground). Start on all fours in a Table top position. Exhale as you round the back. Drop the tailbone and crown of the head down. Inhale and arch the spine downward as you look forward and lift the sit bones.

Balancing Table. From all fours, extend the opposite hand and leg straight forward and back. Do this a few times on each side.

Downward –Facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Non-twisting standing asanas

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Supine hand-to-big toe pose (Supta Hasta Padangusthasana). To do this, lay on your back. Bring one leg up toward the ceiling. The other leg stays on the ground. Use a strap to reach your top foot or hold on behind the thigh. You can also do this in a doorway and rest the upper leg on the wall and the other leg goes through the doorway. Keep both thighs moving back. Take at least 9-12 long full breaths before switching sides.

Supine child (Supta Balasana). Lay on your back and hug the knees into your chest. Release the low back.

Corpse (Savasana). Lay on your back, knees bent, and the calves and feet on a chair. Breathe deeply into the back and melt the muscles on every exhale

Okay Asanas

Standing twists (if non-twisting standing asanas feel fine)

Supine and prone twists (if standing twists feel okay)

Locust (Salabhasana)

Widespread standing forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Standing forward fold (Uttanasana) (after Prasarita Padottanasana feels fine)

Sitting with support under the sitting bones

Asanas to be Careful with

Seated twists (do these after supine and prone twists feel comfortable)

Supported seating forward bends (keep towards the front of the sitting bones)

Asanas to Avoid

Aggressive seated forward bends

For more info, Yoga Journal has an article on the subject. Click here.

If the pain is from the SI joint (a doctor or therapist can diagnose this), then click here.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

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