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Lower Back Pain? Try These Simple Yoga Poses
Lower back pain can be everything from an ongoing nuisance to a debilitating life crisis. Everyone who feels lower back pain needs both pain alleviation and learning how to move without retriggering the problem. So how can yoga poses help alleviate lower back pain? And how can you help yourself with yoga poses for lower back pain?
Yoga poses can help relieve lower back pain. But they can also do nothing or even hurt you. How you approach and actually do the yoga poses makes all the difference. Let me tell you!
The Thoracolumbar Sheath and Lower Back Pain
There are connective tissue sheaths in your lower back. These sheaths, especially the thoracolumbar sheath, connect your upper body to your butt and legs. It also connects your lower back to your abdominal or “core” muscles. So if you want to relieve lower back pain, it helps to eliminate any restriction, gripping, or crimping in this sheath. And, of course, if you don’t ease out the restrictions, then the yoga poses you do to help your lower back won’t be as effective. Yoga poses for lower back pain are like a path that connects the part with the whole.
How to Release Lower Back Gripping
Try this simple experiment:
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Notice how much space there is between your lower back and the floor.
Now, do just a few pelvic tilts. As you inhale, allow your pelvic rim to move forward, creating a bit more of an arch in your lumbar. As you exhale, allow your pelvic rim to draw back so that your lower back flattens a bit.
Do these gently and without strain. With each movement, try to be as smooth and fluid as possible. Go for a slide and glide in your movement and do your best not to tighten and grip.
If you are unsure how to do them, watch my video on sciatic pain and learn!
Yoga and Somatics for Sciatic Pain Relief
After you do a few pelvic tilts, notice if there is less space between your lower back and the floor. If so, you have released some of your thoracolumbar sheaths. Now try Child’s Pose (Balasana) or Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana). If you are unfamiliar, these poses involve a rounded back and will stretch your lower back. The stretch should be easier and more pleasant after you release the sheath!
You may also be interested in this course from YogaUOnline and Donna Brooks: Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health - Therapeutic Movement & Somatic Repatterning.
Donna Brooks is an ISMETA registered somatic movement educator and therapist and a certified Yoga therapist. She designs and teaches yoga-based therapeutic programs for diverse populations, especially baby boomers, the aging or injured, and people with chronic illness and chronic pain.
She has designed and taught the Yoga for Menopause program for Kaiser Permanente Insurance and a program for cancer patients and survivors at Cancer Connection in Northampton, MA. She also teaches yoga and relaxation for chronic pain through the Valley Medical Group. Early in her career, she assisted Iyengar teacher Karin Stephen in her programs for people with HIV-AIDS.
Through study with Thomas Hanna and Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, and others, she has integrated somatic movement therapy with yoga. Her approach is to help people "live differently by moving differently."