By Dr. Rita Khanna
What is the Yogic approach for chronic backache? Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests, but the most vital part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives. Chronic backaches present a global problem as cases continue to grow.
The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area), which contains seven vertebrae (C1 to C7); the thoracic region (the chest area), which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5). The coccyx region (the tailbone area) consists of 4 vertebrae.
These vertebrae are separated by discs that allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs, there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine, which are not designed to be weight-bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from slight tears. This clears the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues, and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and nerves as they emerge from the spinal column.
Causes of Chronic Backache
What are the causes of chronic backache? Firstly, there is a lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slipped discs, and cervical problems. Secondly, spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, and gastroenteritis. Thirdly, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, and using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard). Fourthly, lousy posture, drooping shoulders, sitting sloppily or with a bent back (at your workplace, make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest). Fifthly, watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, or shopping bag. Additionally, slinging bulky bags, which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, and wearing high heels. Finally, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones, driving with the chair tilted back, etc.
Six Solutions for Constant Back Pain
Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache, and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with a correctly aligned posture in the standing position:
1. Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backward and forwards, coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways, and the weight naturally moves forward, back, left, and right. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.
2. Ensure the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point toward the center, rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.
3. Now tilt the pelvis backward and forward, finding balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.
4. Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.
5. Hold the head and neck upright so the ears are above the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.
6. Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you ‘let go’ of this imaginary string.
Lying in supine positions:
Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana
Lying in prone positions:
Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana
In a Sitting position:
Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)
Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Eight Steps of Shavasana:
1. Lie down with the face-up.
2. Relax the body.
3. Keep both hands open and legs relaxed.
4. Now listen to the beating of the heart.
5. Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.
6. Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness
7. Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed, and ultimately disease free.
8. In this manner, without moving any part of the body, remaining entirely composed and having no restlessness, go deep into a mentally quiet attitude.
Seven Benefits of the Above Listed Techniques
1. The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are solid and flexible.
2. The spinal cord is massaged.
3. Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord, ensuring a good supply of nutrients.
4. The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.
5. The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by increased blood flow.
6. Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves, and removing general body fatigue.
7. The whole body is made healthy through these asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic center of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned, and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The lungs, kidneys, and liver purify the blood more efficiently. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. Chronic backache is eliminated when the spinal cord and brain are relaxed, and the whole body is toned up.
To Be Avoided
Sit-ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plow pose), Sarvangasana (complete shoulder stand), Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.
If your chronic backache becomes more uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas alone, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and ensure you are doing the exercise correctly.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health.
Also conducts online Yoga Courses & Naturopathy Guidance.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by the world-famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
Dr. Rita Khanna firmly believes that Yoga is a scientific process that helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succor to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet, and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
Dr. Rita Khanna is currently running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).
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Yoga for Coping With Chronic Backache
By Faye Martins and Sangeetha Saran
Yoga is an effective form of exercise for people with chronic back pain. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that yoga was more effective than conventional exercises at reducing pain and improving function in people with chronic back pain. Yoga works by stretching and strengthening the muscles in the back and spine.
As a result, yoga practice helps to relieve pain and improve posture. Yoga also helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, which can further reduce pain. In addition to physical benefits, yoga also offers psychological benefits. Yoga can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. This can indirectly help to relieve back pain by reducing muscle tension and promoting healing.
Planning a Practice
When it comes to chronic backache, you can do a few things to help mitigate the pain and discomfort. First and foremost, it’s important to practice yoga regularly. Not only will this help keep your back healthy and strong, but it can also help alleviate pain.
There are a few specific poses that are particularly helpful for those who suffer from chronic backache. The first is the cat-cow pose. This pose helps to stretch and lengthen the spine, which can help reduce pain. Start on all fours with your spine in a neutral position to do this pose. As you inhale, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat this sequence ten times.
Another helpful pose is the child’s pose. This pose also helps to stretch the spine and can be very calming and relaxing. To do this pose, start on all fours and then sit back on your heels. Reach your arms out before you and rest your forehead on the ground. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. A few specific yoga poses can help alleviate pain if you suffer from chronic backache. Practicing yoga regularly can also help keep your back healthy and strong.
Yoga in Your Sleep
There are a few different sleeping positions that can help reduce chronic backaches. The first is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. This takes the pressure off of your lower back. The second is to sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.
This also takes the pressure off of your lower back and can help keep your spine in alignment. The third is to sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. This may not be the most comfortable position, but it can help reduce the pressure on your lower back. Whichever position you choose, make sure that you are comfortable and that your spine is in alignment.
When it comes to chronic backache, core strength is significant. The core consists of the muscles in your abdomen and lower back, which work together to support the spine. Strong core muscles help to keep the spine in alignment and prevent excessive movement, which can lead to pain.
Options for Core Development
Additionally, strong core muscles help to stabilize the pelvis and protect the lower back from injury. Several yoga poses can help to strengthen the core muscles, including Plank Pose, Bridge Pose, and Boat Pose. Practicing these poses regularly can help to alleviate chronic back pain and improve overall back health
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