Do you have lower back pain? Millions of Americans do, and the problem is more than an inconvenience — it can hinder your productivity and make you suffer unnecessarily.
However, not everyone in America can see a doctor for chronic conditions. What can you naturally do to decrease the ache? People have used yoga to help lower back pain for thousands of years, and you can benefit from the practice, too.
1. It Helps You Recover From Surgery
Yoga is such potent physical therapy that it can help you recover from surgery. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health investigated 69 stage II and III breast cancer patients during the post-operative phase. Thirty-three participated in a yoga program with supportive therapy while 36 did not.
At the end of four weeks, the yoga group decreased the length of their hospital stay. They also had sutures removed more quickly and didn’t have as many drainage issues as the control group. Finally, their levels of tumor necrosis factor (TMF) likewise plummeted.
2. It Complements Traditional Therapies
Did you know that lower back pain is the sixth most burdensome condition in the United States? It results in countless lost workdays each year — if you are an hourly employee, it may make you short on rent.
Fortunately, yoga complements, even replaces, traditional therapies. It’s like a massage that you can give yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a rubdown or chiropractic adjustment, but if you don’t have the means to visit a practitioner, yoga offers considerable relief.
3. It Can Make Chiropractic Manipulation Easier
When you do get to the back-cracking doc, you’ll have a less painful time with your adjustment if you practice yoga first. Stretching loosens up your muscles and fascia.
When you go into an adjustment cold, your instinct is to contract your muscles. Although this reaction is an understandable biological reflex to painful touch, it makes manipulating your bones more difficult. Yoga helps the fibers relax so your practitioner can crack to their heart’s content.
4. It Aids Recovery From Exertion
If you feel stiff or sore after running a mile, try a post-workout yoga routine. You can find tons of videos on YouTube for free, and many last only five to 10 minutes.
Research studies show mixed results for whether post-exertion stretching can prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). However, when you hit the gym hard, the muscle fibers contract. Stretching through yoga helps to elongate them.
5. It Gently Treats Several Chronic Conditions
If you have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, consider making yoga your best friend. Even if you tried the practice in the past, perhaps a different style or instructor will benefit you.
According to a study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the physical and mental symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Many fibromyalgia patients likewise provide anecdotal evidence of improvement through the use of this ancient practice.
6. It Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation lurks behind nearly every agonizing condition known to humankind, including lower back pain. However, a recent study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests that the ancient practice of yoga can reduce the burn.
Participants took part in a three-month yoga retreat. The regimen consisted of two hours of meditation, one to two hours of movement and an hour of chanting daily. Researchers measured levels of anti-inflammatory markers and found that they increased significantly while pro-inflammatory ones decreased.
Most likely, you don’t have five hours each day to devote to your practice. However, doing even 15 minutes of yoga daily could provide substantial benefits.
7. It Increases Flexibility Across Several Connected Meridians
Stop and think about your core for a moment. Your bones don’t hold your top and lower halves of your body together — forget the “hip bone is connected to” part of the old skeleton song. What keeps you upright is an intricate series of muscles, ligaments and tendons that make the most confusing highway interchanges look tame.
If these tissues become inflamed and fatigued, you will feel pain from one wrong move. Think about tugging on a frozen rubber band — it will snap if not warmed first. Yoga keeps your muscles elastic, resulting in greater range and ease of motion.
8. It Eases Stress
Your mind and body share an intricate link. When you become mentally stressed, your body responds physiologically the way it would to any external stressor.
Your heart and respiration rates increase as stress hormones rise the same way they would if you spied an angry bear. Your muscles also contract to prepare you for the onslaught of battle.
However, when your muscles remain tense over time, pain results. Think of how your arm would ache if you tried to hold a 10-pound dumbbell at a half-bicep curl position for hours. Holy cramping, Batman.
Yoga helps to ease stress. It tells your muscles to relax, which can relieve lower back pain resulting from excess tension.
Use Yoga to Help With Lower Back Pain
Yoga is a fabulous tool for easing lower back pain. The next time you struggle to stand up straight, try hitting the mat for relief.