Why yoga can relieve your back pain

A recent study in Washington State that analysed the worker’s compensation disability claims for back injuries highlighted that when it came to back pain, it might be more beneficial to consider alternative treatments such as yoga or chiropractic care as a therapy before undergoing surgery to relieve the back pain.

The results of the study were published in the journal ‘Spine’, in May 2013. The study showed that those who went to a chiropractor first for their back injury were 28 times less likely to opt for surgery than those who first consulted with a surgeon.

While there are certainly going to be people who need surgery regardless, more and more experts are recommending alternative, non-invasive treatments to offer relief. Considering that surgery has serious risks of complications and is a painful option, it makes sense that people would seek out alternatives first. Whether it is in combination with chiropractic care or as a standalone option, yoga can offer a great deal of relief in relates to back pain.

Physical benefits of yoga exercises

There are a number of physical benefits to doing yoga if you have back problems. Studies show that it is effective in providing short-term relief. These are some of the major benefits that patients experience:

  • Strengthening muscles –Yoga can help increase the strength of specific muscle groups and very specific muscles. By incorporating various movements, people who practice yoga are effectively building up muscle strength. Many of the postures in yoga rely on the abdominal muscles and muscles in the back. Those help the body facilitate movement and maintain the correct upright posture. It is possible to reduce or avoid back pain altogether if these muscles are well conditioned.
  • Stretching and relaxation from yoga –It is possible to reduce tension in stress-carrying muscles thanks to the relaxation and stretching incorporated in yoga. The person practicing yoga is required to hold a pose anywhere between 10 and 60 seconds. Some muscles stretch while others flex, this promotes flexibility and relaxation in the muscles and joints.
  • Balance, posture, and body alignment –Most yoga poses are designed to train the body to be supply and health. Continued practice and application will lead to the head, shoulders and pelvis in proper alignment, and increased sense of balance, and improved posture. Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga can help strengthen and stretch both sides of the body equally. In order to avoid or reduce lower back pain, both good posture and proper body alignment (which helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine) are of vital importance.
  • Awareness of the body –Repositioning and specific positioning will not only make the body more limber, but also helps people become better aware of the limitations of their body. This can act as a preventative measure because the increased awareness allows people to know what type of motions to avoid.

Mental benefits of yoga

Practicing yoga may allow a mental state of mind that is not unlike meditation, which can help enhance mood or and reduce stress. These mental factors play an important role in the healing benefits of yoga.

  • Perception –Many believe that perception is part of the problem for those people suffering from back pain. Even though emotional and psychological factors will not change the physiology of the back, they may heighten an already existing problem. This means that the reduction of pain perception could reduce the overall sensation of back pain.
  • Stress –Many people believe that stress is directly responsible for, or least contributes to, lower back pain. By reducing stress through yoga exercises, it would be possible to effectively manage and reduce one of the major contributing factors to back pain. There are different reasons as to why negative emotions and high stress can lead to back pain. This perpetuates the cycle of back pain because this in turn leads to negative emotional and psychological feelings.

Alternative treatment options are available

There should be a clear and consistent message here for people who suffer from a back injury – try an alternative therapy option such as massage, yoga, or chiropractic before ever visiting a surgeon. These options are proven to offer pain relief while at the same time getting to the underlying cause of the back pain instead of simply managing the issue.

If you have any questions about the benefits of alternative treatments, we recommend that you call Total Back Care and find out what might be possible. Stop simply managing the pain, opt to seek out an actual solution to the problem. Call 8357 8211 today to schedule your appointment.