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Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Hello, My name is Sabrina Wayt and I am a physical therapist who specializes in sports injury and prevention. Now that the weather is starting to clear up, I wanted to focus on a few stretches that can be done outside in the sunshine for low back pain. At Lilly PT we like to use yoga focused stretches because they are more dynamic and stretch multiple muscle groups. Often times the low back pain occurs when certain muscles get tight and/or weak. These yoga focused stretches will help with stretching and stabilizing core muscles for back pain.

Chair Pose:

This pose helps to strengthen the inner thigh muscles, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. All of these areas are important for upright posture.

  • To attain this position, stand hip width apart, bend through the knees and hips until thighs are almost parallel to the floor, and raise arms up at a 75 degree angle drawing the shoulder blades down and relaxing your shoulders and neck.
  • Hold this position for at least 60 seconds. Don’t forget to concentrate on breathing in through the nose and out the mouth while keeping the core activated.

Child’s Pose:

This is a great stretch for the low back and can be done in three positions.

  • Start in a full kneel position and sit back on your feet, then stretch your arms outward reaching in front of you while keeping your bottom on or near your feet.
  • Hold this position for ten deep breaths. Next, walk your hands to the right to stretch the left side of your back. Hold for 10 deep breaths and repeat towards the left.

Spinal Twist:

In this stretch you are helping to open up the joint spaces in your vertebrae while stretching the muscles at the same time.

  • Start out by laying flat on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
  • Next, grab the outside of your left knee with your right hand.
  • Keep your shoulder on the ground and push your knees to the right and reach to the left with your palm facing up.

Double Knees to Chest/Aspanasana:

Many people do this pose without realizing they are doing a specific stretch to relieve the pain. This stretch works by flattening the spine to the ground and decreasing the curve to allow the spine to rest in a neutral position.

  • Begin by laying on your back and bringing your knees to your chest while holding onto your knees with both hands. Hold this position for ten deep breaths.

Piriformis Stretch/Eye-of-the-Needle Pose:

The piriformis is a culprit of many low back pain victims, and this is a stretch specific to target this muscle.

  • Lay on your back and bring both of your knees toward the chest.
  • Next, bring the right ankle over your left knee, reach with both arms to pull on your left thigh.
  • The more you pull towards your chest, the deeper the stretch. Hold this pose for ten deep breaths and switch sides.

Hip Flexor Stretch/Low Lunge:

This stretch is major stabilizer of the lower body. If your hip flexor is weak, you can develop poor posture and balance problems.

  • Come into a table top position on hands and knees.
  • Next, step forward with the right foot between your hands keeping a good 90 degree angle at your knee, push the other leg back and bring both arms up off the ground.
  • Feel the stretch in the front part of your hip. To intensify this stretch, tuck your tailbone under using your core to stabilize your spine.

Crescent Moon:

This stretch is a great one to target the Quadratus Lumborum muscle that often times get very tight and causes pain in the low back.

  • While standing or sitting, reach both arms up overhead pointing index fingers to the ceiling.
  • Relax the shoulder, reach up and over to the right, pushing the left hip out.
  • Hold this for ten deep breaths before returning to neutral and stretching the other side.

Downward Dog:

This is one of the most famous yoga poses for a great reason. It relieves a lot of tight muscles, including the low back. Downward dog stretches out the muscles in the back of the legs and the long muscles in your back.

  • Begin in table top position with your hands in front of your shoulders, push your knees off the ground, push back and up through your hips while pushing your heels into the ground.
  • Hold this pose for ten deeps breaths, and repeat 3 times.

These are some stretches that we do at Lilly PT because they are really great for the back. They help open up the vertebrae and stretch those tight muscles that can lock up. If you are experiencing back pain it is always better to be seen by a physical therapist sooner than later. At Lilly Physical Therapy, low back pain is a common ailment that we treat and have great success with!

We have a massage therapist at the clinic to help target specific muscles that contribute to low back pain. As well as a personal trainer who can show you how to properly lift or have a good and safe workout. These stretches should help relieve your back pain, but if you are still in pain, please come visit our FREE back pain work shop at Lilly PT this month. More information here

SoftWave Therapy is now available at Lilly Physical Therapy. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment.