When pursuing back pain treatment, it is intuitive to cease any treatment plans that lead to more pain. While this is often warranted, there are instances when the treatment is simply not being executed properly; in this case, it is better to seek education about your particular plan rather than another plan altogether.
Today, many people with back pain are turning to yoga for its age-old ability to restore balance, strength and flexibility to both the mind and the body. While its track record as an effective back pain exercise form is undeniable, some people actually experience more pain after a few weeks of beginning yoga. This is almost always caused by practicing either at too advanced a level or attempting poses that are inappropriate for your back condition.
Pain is the sign of a problem, and if you feel back pain after yoga, it is necessary to reassess your regimen. Yoga is a highly adaptable form of exercise; it can be tailored to fit any level of disability. It is necessary for you to understand what is causing your back pain before you can know for sure what poses to avoid.
Many forms of yoga include forward bending poses. For someone with a healthy back, these poses are a great way to stretch the back. However, if you have a spinal misalignment or muscle imbalances that cause your pelvis to tilt under, these poses can exacerbate back pain. Tight hamstrings pull the pelvis downward in the back, causing the lower back to flatten out. This strains discs in between lumbar vertebrae and muscles in the lower back. Attempting to bend forward and hold that position is likely to make lower back pain worse.
If you have lordosis, or loss of the lumbar arch, yoga is still an option for you. Forward bending poses can be avoided at first while you work to lengthen your tight hamstrings with other poses. Hamstring stretches are best performed laying on your back at first, to ensure that you are not straining your lower back. These are called supine poses.
Yoga also consists of a number of standing poses, some of which entail balancing on one leg. For people with sacroiliac (SI) joint problems, these may be very painful. The SI joint is found where the large pelvic bone meets the sacrum on each side of the body. The pressure placed on this joint while standing, especially on one leg, is too great for someone with an injured SI joint.
Perhaps the easiest way for yoga to turn into a painful endeavor is if you seek to practice it without the guidance of a professional who understands your back pain. While first learning yoga, it is essential to be guided by an instructor or physical therapist who can identify postural dysfunctions; poor posture can make yoga poses painful. A professional can also identify muscle imbalances that could factor into determining what poses are right for you. Tight muscles need to be relaxed and lengthened, whereas weak ones need strengthening to restore balance.
Effective back pain management requires an understanding of your body and of the treatment you are pursuing. Back pain after yoga is the result of improper execution; yoga can still be a highly beneficial component of your treatment plan once you learn how to tailor it to your needs.