When you suffer from back pain, especially the degenerative condition known as lumbar spondylosis, physical activity can be the last thing you want to do. However, for some people, a few yoga postures to stretch and strengthen the back may help ease the pain.
Lumbar spondylosis is a condition where the disks between the vertebrae of the lower spine begin to lose their cushiony make-up and the disks become dry and brittle. It starts with stiffness, but over time the spinal canal begins to narrow and pressure is placed on the nerves. Keeping the body mobile and strengthening the muscles and the back can be a source of relief in some cases.
Yoga Moves to Stretch the Lower Back
By stretching the muscles of the lower back, the blood is able to flow more freely to lubricate and nourish the damaged area. Here are a few poses that can help accomplish that.
Lie on your stomach with your hands flat on the ground below your shoulders. Press the ground away as you arch your back and reach your head up and slightly back. Only go as far as is comfortable and does not cause pain. This posture stretches the lower back to open the area so blood can flow easily.
Begin on your hands and knees. Inhale and arch your back, drawing the top of your head up and back and lifting your tailbone. Only move as far as you can comfortably. Hold for a beat. Exhale and round the back, moving your tailbone down and your shoulder away to open the upper back. Allow your gaze to move toward your navel but, again, only go as far as is comfortable for you. Repeat these movements on the breath.
While often considered a resting posture, child pose has the potential to be active and open the lower back. Starting on your hands and knees, bring your big toes together and separate your knees slightly. Lower your hips to your heels, reaching your arms forward and your forehead toward the mat. You can place a block under your forehead if you cant reach the mat. Continue to draw your tailbone under as you move your hands away to lengthen your spine. Stay here for five breaths.
Yoga Moves to Strengthen the Lower Back
If you are dealing with lumbar spondylosis and experience pain, these moves may be able to help, but do them carefully. Ease out of the pose or stop completely if you experience pain. You may also want to consult your physician before beginning any exercises to be sure these are safe for you.
Lying on your stomach, clasp your hands behind your back or hold a strap. Draw your hands toward your feet and your shoulder blades down your back as you lift your forehead and shoulders off the ground, continuing to move up and back. With your thighs rotating slightly in so your inner thighs are moving toward the ceiling, lift the tops of your feet off the floor. Continue to lift until your thighs move off the earth. Hold this for three to five breaths. Release and repeat.
Bridge pose can help to strengthen and stretch both the abdomen and lower back, both important for easing the pain of lumbar spondylosis. Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the floor about a foot from your hips. With your arms along your side, lift your hips. Continue to move your knees toward the front of the room as your draw your heart in the opposite direction. If you can roll your shoulders under and clasp your hands, this will help you lift and open even more. Hold for three to five breaths, relax and repeat.
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