If you’re having chronic back and neck pain or simply want relief from occasional pain, consider using yoga poses to help. Many of these poses help stretch tight muscle that often cause pain and help relieve the stress that can often cause the muscle tension. The history of yoga goes back thousands of years and comes from ancient India. While it wasn’t accepted by Western science for a long time, today there’s more and more evidence that yoga helps. In fact, some studies show that yoga can help relieve back pain more than traditional western techniques if it’s done just once a week.
A cat/cow movement uses two yoga poses for relief.
As your body flows through the motions of the two poses, it stretches the back, body and neck. It helps bring the body in alignment and can almost eliminate future back pain if done regularly. It helps relieve tension in the shoulders, too. Get into position on your knees with your hands on the floor under your shoulders and your knees on the floor under your hips. Inhale and as you exhale, round your back, like a cat arching its back, while keeping your shoulders and knees in the original position. Release your head, go back to the starting position and relax. Move to the cow position, where you lift your bottom and chest, letting your belly sink as you lift your head to look straight ahead.
The child pose simply feels good, whether you’ve got back pain or just want to relax.
Many people start their yoga poses with the child pose. Not only can you use it for relief from back pain, by modifying it slightly, spreading knees wider as you bring your toes together, it can help stretch the hip muscles. Start on your hands and knees with your lower leg on the floor and your bottom on your heels. Sit up straight pulling yourself high and inhale. As you exhale lay your upper body forward with your torso on your thighs and touching your forehead on the floor. Your arms should be extended out in front of you and your bottom should always have contact with your hips. Relax and hold. When ready to go back to starting position, use your hands to walk your torso back to upright position.
Downward dog may be the best known yoga pose name.
While many people don’t know how to do the downward dog, the vast majority will recognize it as a yoga pose. It helps loosen your shoulders and spine. You start in child’s pose and when fully extended, press your hands into the ground, tucking your toes and lifting your hips up at the same time. If you need to, keep your knees bent and heels up and with your bottom in the air focus your energy on lengthening your spine, pushing your hip bones toward the ceiling.
- A gentle seated twist can relieve neck tension and upper back tension. Sit in cross legged position with your right hand on your left knee and left hand behind you, looking straight ahead. Inhale as you turn your head toward your left shoulder, exhale and turn your head toward your right shoulder.
- If your lower back is bothering you, try the knees to chest pose. Lay on your back. Bring your knees together and toward your chest, wrap your arms around your legs and pull them even closer. Hold.
- The standing forward bend pose can help relax your back and especially your neck. It’s nothing more than bending at the hips and lengthening your torso as you let your head hang. Try to do it with straight legs, but if you must bend your knees, it’s okay, too.
- Warrior II pose, extended triangle, cow face pose and extended puppy pose are all yoga poses that can help your neck. There are many more poses that can bring relief. Find ones that make you feel better and practice them often.