The 8 Best Yoga Poses For Low Back Pain Relief
Suffering from low back pain?
You’re not alone. 26 million Americans live with daily low back pain, and hip pain isn’t usually far behind.
A lot of that can be traced back to the amount of time Americans spend sitting on our butts all day. In fact, 54% of low back pain cases can be directly attributed to sitting at a desk during the workday.
We’re becoming increasingly sedentary, spending almost a third of our waking hours sitting down. Prolonged sitting leads to tightness in the hamstrings, hip flexors, and low back erector spinae muscles, as well as a weakening of the core and glutes. This muscle imbalance is referred to as lower cross syndrome and causes anterior pelvic tilt.
Our deepest hip flexors, the psoas muscles, are directly connected to our lumbar spine. When they’re tight, they tug on the lower spine, tilting your pelvis forward and causing the low back pain and stiffness so many people are intimately familiar with.
Fortunately, new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that yoga specifically targeted at reversing this tightness can be as safe and effective as physical therapy – and a great addition to your chiropractic treatment plan – for easing low back pain. In fact, after 3 months of daily yoga specifically targeted for relieving low back pain, the researchers found participants still taking pain medication for their low back pain had dropped by 50%.
Here are the 8 best gentle, easy yoga stretches that can be done just about anywhere to help relieve low back and hip pain.
This basic yoga pose stretches the entire back and helps to open up the hips.
- Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Bring your big toes together and take your knees out wide.
- Sit your hips back on your heels, and walk your hands forward until you can lower your forehead to the ground.
- Once your forehead is on the ground, continue walking your hands out in front of you until your arms are straight.
- Let your arms relax on the ground. Try to keep your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 30 seconds.
Supine Figure 4 Stretch
This stretch reduces hip pain and releases the lower back by stretching the glutes, piriformis, and the lower back.
- Begin by lying down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, hips- width distance apart.
- Bend your right knee and place your right ankle above your left knee on the thigh.
- Loop your right hand through your legs and interlace your hands behind your left thigh.
- Keep your head and shoulders on the ground as your draw the left thigh towards you. Feel the stretch through your outer right hip. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Knees Together Twist
This stretches the lower back and helps to increase external hip rotation to reduce hip pain.
- Start by lying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, hips-width distance apart.
- Bend your right knee and place your right ankle above your left knee on the thigh. Cactus your arms by your head and flex your feet.
- Allow your knees to gently fall to the right, keeping the right ankle over the left thigh, to bring your body into a twist. Keep your feet flexed as you feel the stretch through your left hip. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
This stretches the hip flexors, quadriceps, and abdominal muscles.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Step your left foot towards your left hand. Heel-toe the foot forward and out a couple of inches so that your left ankle is slightly in front of your left knee. Keep your right knee down.
- Keeping your hands planted, press your hips forward to feel a stretch through the front of your hips.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
This stretch opens up the adductor muscles and the hip flexors.
- Begin standing with your feet out wide, heels in, and toes pointing out at 45 degree angles.
- Squat low like you are going to sit into a chair and then place your hands on your inner thighs.
- Press your thighs open to feel a stretch through the inner thighs and groin. Hold for 30 seconds.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This stretches the glutes, lower back, upper back, and hamstrings.
- Start standing with your feet out wide and your toes pointing straight ahead.
- Bend into your knees as you fold your chest over your legs and bring your hands to the ground.
- Keep the generous bend in your knees, and let your head hang heavy. Let the weight shift slightly towards your toes. Feel the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings release. Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly stand by rolling up one vertebrae at a time.
This stretch releases the lower back, glutes, and piriformis.
- Start seated with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Draw your left heel in towards your right sit bone. Cross your right leg over your left to bring your right foot outside of your left thigh. If this feels too intense, prop your hips up on a blanket or pillow.
- Tent your fingertips behind you and sit up tall. Take a deep breath as you lengthen through your spine, then exhale to twist to the right, wrapping your left arm around the front of your right shin.
- Keep your neck long and gaze straight ahead or over your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly untwist on an inhale. Switch sides.
Cow Face Pose
This stretches the outer hips and the lower back.
- Starting in a seated position, place your bent right knee on top of your bent left knee. Try to have your knees perfectly stacked, one on top of the other, and to have your feet flexed to protect your knees. Both of your sit bones should be pressing into the ground. If this is not possible, then prop your hips up onto a blanket or pillow to allow equal and even weight on both sit bones.
- Sit up nice and tall, and take some deep breaths into your hips. If you feel like you want to go a little deeper, you can walk your hands out in front of you, making sure to keep your sit bones pressing down.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
This stretch opens up the lower back and stretches the hip flexors.
- Begin by lying down on your back.
- Bend your knees and draw them up towards your chest. Bring your arms inside of your thighs and reach for the outside edges of your feet or ankles. Make sure that your lower back stays pressing into the floor. If you need to, hold on closer to your knees, so that you keep the lower back on the floor.
- Take some gentle rocks side to side to massage the lower back. Hold for 30 seconds.
Yoga can be hugely beneficial for reversing the muscle tightness caused by our daily routines, but if you’re struggling with back pain – even if you’ve already being treated by your primary care physician – don’t skip on chiropractic care.
In a recent study published in SPINE, over 73% of people who saw a chiropractor in addition to their medical doctor found significant or complete relief from back pain, compared with 17% in the standard-medical-care-only group.
It’s a fact: what we do at Ascent Chiropractic can help you address the cause of the pain, not just mask the symptoms.
Looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? We’d love to help you get started with chiropractic care. Make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic in Brookfield by calling 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.