Yoga and mindfulness practices are shown to reduce low back pain. Try these yoga poses while you're still in bed to get your day started right.
Do you ever wake up with pain in your low back? You haven't even gotten out of bed yet, and you are already miserable. What is your day going to be like?
You are not alone. Nearly 80% of people suffer from low back pain during their lives. Often, it goes away on its own, and other times it can become an ongoing burden. From everyday strains and sprains, traumatic injuries as well as skeletal and vertebral conditions, low back pain comes in many forms. I personally suffered low back pain for months after my twin pregnancy, and this is what led me to my regular yoga practice.
Because back pain is so prolific, many studies have been done to test the efficacy of pain killers, spinal manipulation, massage, tai chi and yoga. Surprisingly, even the usual over-the-counter pain killers like Acetaminophen as well as NSAIDs provided little or no pain reduction. But yoga, massage and Tai Chi and mindfulness exercises all produced moderate improvements in low back pain. So there really is no need to get up on the wrong side of the bed!
How Yoga Can Help
Many low back pain symptoms often result from tight muscles in other parts of the body, in particular, the hips and hamstrings. In addition, poor posture caused from extensive sitting tends to flatten the low back which can lead to low back pain. Finally, instability or weakness in the body's core including the front, side and back muscles of the midsection can lead to pain throughout the body because the core acts as a stabilizer for the entire body, not just the low back.
While yoga is much more than physical yoga poses (learn about the 8 limbs of yoga here), the yoga asanas provide plethora health benefits for the body and mind. Individual yoga postures target specific areas of the body, providing length, strength and balance. Pranyama, or controlled breathing exercises, can be practiced during yoga poses or anytime and anywhere. Pranyama has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, among other health benefits, and can be used to release general tension in the body related to low back pain.
Try these 5 yoga poses on or next to your bed to get your day started right.
You're still sleepy, but that low back is screaming at you already. Ease into wakefulness with reclined butterfly pose. You barely have to move and you can remain half asleep as you bring the soles of your feet together on the bed towards your groin, or wherever is comfortable.
This pose gently opens the hips and bring balance to the low back.
Reclined Spinal Twist
Ease into a reclined spinal twist by hugging one knee to your chest and relaxing the knee across the body, gazing in the opposite direction. There is no need to force your knee down. Just be comfortable and take deep breaths. Hang out here for a few minutes before switching slowly to the other side.
This pose realigns and lengthens the spine and hydrates the spinal disks.
One sole of your foot rests on the bed and find a "gentleman's seat" with opposite ankle over your knee. Press your knee away to open your hip. Go deeper by pulling your grounded thigh toward your chest.
This pose stretches the outer hips and relieves tension in the low back. Ease into this posture and back off if you encounter any knee pain.
You've got to wake up anyway, so why not give yourself a boost of energy before getting out of bed? Place the soles of both feet near your buttocks or where ever is comfortable, hands resting along your side. Tighten your glutes and press into your feet to lift your hips high. All the work is done by the glutes and legs, not the low back. Lower down a bit if you feel your back engaged. Stay here for as long as is comfortable. Repeat 2-3 times.
This pose builds core and lower body strength, lengthens and strengthens the spine and energizes the body.
Half Downward Facing Dog
Now that you have the energy to get out of bed, take a short pit stop at the edge of the bed for a half down dog. Stand facing your bed about a leg's length away. Place your hands on the bed, hinge at your hips and keep a long straight spine. Lift your hips high, pressing your heels towards the ground. No need for straight legs. Feel free to deeply bend your legs.
This pose lengthens the entire back body, including the hamstrings and spine.
** Always refer to your physician or medical practitioner for advice on whether it is safe for you to practice these postures.
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