Many of us suffer from chronic back pain. And when your back hurts, the last thing you want to do is move. But getting off of the couch and doing the right types of movements can help your back feel better. There are many yoga poses for back pain that can provide pain relief and it’s a great way to relieve your aching back. The combination of stretching and strengthening the muscles in your body will strengthen your core, which is essential for keeping your back strong and healthy and it can aslo improve your posture. Think of it as physical therapy that you can do from the comfort of home.
Whether you have chronic back pain or are just feeling sore from a long day or a tough workout, here are the 10 best yoga poses for back pain.
Yoga Poses for Back Pain Relief
1. Spinal twist
Gentle twists are great for relieving tension in your upper back. You can do a deep twist or keep it shallow, depending on the severity of your pain. Start by straightening your left leg and bending your right one next to it, with your foot flat. Place your right hand behind you on the floor for support. Now, twist your body to the right, hooking your left elbow over your right thigh.
This might be too intense. If that’s the case, you can hold onto your right knee and twist, looking over your right shoulder.
2. Supine twist
If you want a twist with a little more intensity, try a supine twist. For this pose, you’ll start by laying down on your back with your arms to your side in a T-shape, and your knees pulled into your chest. Take a deep breath in and out. Then, lower both knees to the left, attempting to let them gently touch the floor while you keep both shoulders on the ground.
If this is too intense, place a bolster or block down for your knees to rest on. The stretch shouldn’t hurt you. Take deep breaths in and out and hold for up to four minutes before switching sides.
This pose gives your back a little bit of a massage while improving your flexibility and giving your hips and spine a full stretch. Start on your hands and knees, with your neck in a neutral position. When you inhale, lift your tailbone and chest towards the ceiling. This is cow pose. Exhale and arch your back. Press through your shoulder blades and drop your head. This is cat pose.
Continue moving through these two movements, taking full inhales and exhales. Do this for 6 – 8 rounds.
4. Child’s pose
This is among the most relaxing yoga poses out there. As an added bonus, it provides an amazing stretch to your entire back and can help relieve pain in both your upper and lower back.
Start on all fours. Hold your arms forward as you sit back, allowing your butt to rest just above your heels. If you have the flexibility, you can rest your forehead on the floor. Hold this stretch and breathe deeply. As you exhale, try extending your arms forward further to deepen the stretch. Stay here as long as it feels good.
5. Downward facing dog
This is one of the “classic” yoga poses that you’ll encounter in pretty much every yoga class you take. There’s a good reason for that. It’s a great pose for stretching your entire body, including your back. It also spreads energy throughout your body, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.
To do this post, start in tabletop position. Now, straighten your legs and raise your hips, putting your body in an upside-down V position. Your head and neck should be relaxed and hanging down, as you draw your inner thighs toward the back of your mat. If you want to stretch your upper back more, spread your shoulder blades apart. To open your lower back, reach your hips up and back. Hold this position for 5 – 7 breaths.
6. Sphinx pose
This pose is great for anyone who sits in an office chair for the better part of the day. Sitting a lot makes our lower backs flatten and can lead to pain. The sphinx pose counteracts all that sitting by promoting your lower back’s normal curvature.
Start this pose by lying flat on your stomach. Your feet will be hip-width apart. Mindfully bring your elbows under your shoulders, lifting your chest, neck, and head so that you are looking forward. If this movement makes you feel too much pressure on your lower back, then instead, just bring your elbows forward slightly.
Hold this pose for 1 – 3 minutes, breathing deeply. Come out of the pose by gently bringing your upper body down to the mat, then relaxing into child’s pose for a few breaths. Practice this yoga sequence for back pain anytime your back is feeling achy.
7. Locust pose
This pose will strengthen your back along with your buttocks. Start by lying on your stomach. Your arms will be beside you, palms facing up. Lay your forehead flat on the floor. Take an inhale and slowly lift your head, torso, arms, and legs up and away from the mat. Your thighs will rotate slightly in as you make this move. Feel your body elongate from end to end. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
If you have the ability, relax for a few breaths before repeating the pose two to three more times.
8. Bridge pose
This pose will help strengthen your back and glute muscles, which can improve your back stability and prevent future aches and pains. Start by lying down on your back. Bend your right knee and left knee, keeping your feet flat on the ground and your arms lying by your side. Your legs should be hip-width apart. Now, walk your heels in toward your butt.
Inhale, scooping your pelvis under and pushing your hips toward the sky. Press your arms and feet into your mat. Exhale, rolling your spine down gently. Repeat this movement 3 – 5 times.
9. Pigeon pose
This pose can become intense, so make sure you have a bolster or block nearby to support you before you begin. It gives your glutes a deep stretch, which can help relieve pain in your back. Start in a downward-facing dog position. Bring your right knee to the front of your mat and place it in line with your right hand. It will be lying on its side, and your shin will be parallel with the front of your mat. Now, extend your left leg back toward the back of your mat.
Fold forward over your bent knee, resting your forehead on your hands. (If this is too intense, then lean on a bolster or block). Breathe deeply and hold for two to five minutes before switching sides.
10. Triangle pose
I’ve only listed one standing pose on here because I know that, when you’re in pain, the thought of standing can seem insurmountable. However, triangle pose has too many benefits to ignore. If you do it regularly, you might be able to avoid back pain altogether.
Stand on your mat with your feet parallel to each other. They should be a little wider than hip-width apart. Rotate your right foot. The right heel should be in line with your left foot’s arch. Now, reach your arms up and extend them to the sides, in a T-shape. Tilt at your hip, reaching your right hand toward the ground. Rotate your upper body as you reach your left hand toward the sky and look up at it. (If this hurts your neck or adds too much pressure, then continue looking down at your mat instead.) Hold for 5 – 7 breaths and then switch sides.
It is important to remember that practice=ing these yoga poses for back pain relief will help prevent future back aches. By practicing these yoga moves, you can relief your joints and build up muscle for a healthy posture and protection.