Yoga for Back Pain

While yoga is an practice developed in ancient India nearly 4,000 years ago, it has become very popular in the United States and many alternative health practitioners recommend a practice of yoga for back pain, as it helps to strengthen muscles, improve posture, and increase flexibility.

American yoga classes often consist of a combination of breathing instruction, physical exercise and some meditation. The practice has been employed for thousands of years to prevent disease and promote health.  Many practitioners that suffer from back pain issues say that yoga offers a number of benefits, such as:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased Strength
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Awareness of proper posture
  • Acceptance
  • Relaxation

At least the first four benefits listed above are included within the goals of most traditional physical therapists, so it is not surprising that some back pain sufferers notice improvement when following a yoga practice.  Additional benefits that are sometimes not emphasized within the context of Western medicine include relaxation based on the emphasis on breathing and meditation, which can be extremely helpful in relieving pain.

People with more severe back conditions such as spinal stenosis likely need to avyogaoid certain yoga poses, so before starting a yoga practice, get clearance from your doctor as to what movements to stay away from.  Nearly all yoga classes adopt a “go at your own pace” philosophy and welcome modified poses, or even a rest pose during movements that are not recommended for people with spinal issues.

Many traditional physicians have open up to the ideas of complimentary alternative treatments, and your doctor may even be able to recommend a class or an instructor who is well trained and can accommodate your back limitations.  Sometimes yoga classes are even offered through a medical facility.

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