It’s summer time and that can mean more physical activity . . . working in the yard, playing golf, chasing kids around, hauling the charcoal for the cookout, carrying the beach chairs, you name it! These are all activities that, with one wrong move can send your back into a not so good place.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Back pain is a fact of life for many people. Research shows that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point during their lives. It is also the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.” Additionally, “as lifestyles have become more sedentary and the rate of obesity has risen, back pain has become increasingly prevalent, even among young children.”
Your lumbar spine is made up of many complex parts . . . lumbar vertebra, facet joints, intervertebral discs, spinal nerves, and soft tissue . . . and a strain to any of these parts can cause back pain. The vertebra carry and distribute weight. The facet joints determine your flexibility and movement capability. Movement is absorbed by the intervertebral discs while the spinal nerves allow you to feel the movement. The soft tissue, ligaments, muscles, tendons and blood vessels, support the spine and ensure safe movement.
Maintaining a strong and healthy back is key to preventing back issues and the practice of yoga can aid in healthy back maintenance. “Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided,” says Deborah Metzger, Founder and Director of Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. “It is a system which balances strength and flexibility and addresses the whole body. Most people are tight in key areas affecting the spine, for example in the hips and shoulders, hamstrings and psoas. The spine may be compressed and back muscles tight or weak. A study in the December 20, 2005 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that yoga may be more likely to improve back function, ease chronic back pain, and reduce the need for pain medication than conventional exercise or reading a self-care book.”
Additionally, from EveryDayHealth.com, “According to research published in July 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga may even help reduce the need for pain medication. At the start of the three-month study, in which one group was assigned to physical therapy for their back pain, a second to yoga, and a third to reading about pain management strategies, 70 percent of the subjects were taking medication. By the end, however, while the number of people taking medication in the reading group stayed the same, only 50 percent of the yoga and physical therapy subjects were still taking it.” They also state, “Researchers are also starting to discover how yoga’s effects on the brain may contribute to decreased pain. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in May 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, scientists found that there were significant differences between the brains of those with chronic pain and the brains of regular yoga practitioners. Those with chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain, but those who did yoga had more — which suggests that yoga may be not just physically but neurologically protective.”
At Sunrise Yoga Studio, all of our classes address muscle strengthening but our Back Care Yoga class is specifically set up to address back health. Back Care Yoga is open to all levels of students, including those who have never taken a yoga class.
In our Back Care Yoga classes, students will learn poses to relieve muscle tension; safe poses to increase flexibility in the hips, shoulders and back; strengthening poses to give the spine and neck adequate support; ways to improve posture and alignment; and relaxation techniques to help reduce mental stress often associated with chronic pain. These classes are suitable for all practitioners, but special care is made to assist those with back issues. Overall emphasis is also placed on building a strong and healthy back for everyone, so as to avoid future back-related problems.
We want you to enjoy all kinds of activities all year long without the pain from back strain. If you are experiencing back pain, we ask that you see your doctor to make sure yoga is a good option for you. Once you have the approval from your doctor, sign up for a Back Care Yoga class and learn how to get your back in shape and keep it in shape.
Register for any Sunrise Yoga classes through our Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about why yoga is good for your back? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net. We want you to be informed!