You Are Not Alone!
16 million people annually see doctors for low back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 86% of the population will experience low back pain in their lives. While some of the pain is debilitating, most of the time it is chronic but still interferes with daily life and activities. This is the type of back pain that can be managed with Gentle Somatic Yoga.
I have spent years taking courses in how to treat low back issues, but it was not until 2021 when I became certified in Gentle Somatic Yoga that I found real solutions to managing chronic low back and hip issues.
There Are Many Reasons We Have Low Back and Hip Pain!
The causes of low back pain vary:
- too much sitting
- bending down and picking things up incorrectly.
- hip dysfunction
- super tight hamstrings.
Low back pain can also be referred pain from problems within the body, such as traumatic injuries, digestive problems, dysfunction within sexual organs and severe illnesses like cancer.
When I teach yoga, I get asked almost daily to focus some of my practice on the low back and hip area. The first piece of advice I give my students is to “STOP BENDING OVER WITH YOUR KNEES STRAIGHT AND STOP DOING DOWNWARD DOGS WITH STRAIGHT LEGS.”
5 Things You Can Do Today to Help Your Lower Back On and Off The Yoga Mat!
- Try to change your position as much as possible while sitting and standing and even sleeping. In other words, do not stop moving. Just move slower and be mindful of what movements feel like in the injured areas.
- Less is More — Do your activities at 50% of your normal effort and 50% of your repetitions.
- Specific changes in your yoga should include not rolling up from a forward fold. (many traditional yoga classes include this) Most of us do not have the core strength to protect the vertebrae of the low back when rolling up. Better (and safer) to bend the knees, lengthen the spine, and use the hips as a hinge. (In fact, if your back is really hurting, avoid forward folds altogether unless you are doing wide-legged forward folds)
- If you are sitting on the ground while doing yoga, elevate your hips to tilt the pelvis forward and allow the knees to be lower than the hips or supported on blocks or other props.
- When doing cobra or other poses on the belly, draw the belly in first before engaging the back muscles to avoid pinching the low back.
Get Instant Access to 5 Gentle Somatic Practices to Alleviate Low Back and Hip Pain
Click here for a rehabilitative low back and hip routine that I developed for my clients and students.
- Do not do all of them each day.
- Mix and match the five different practices and let me know how you feel.
- Make sure you are not in acute pain when practicing.
- Always consult with your health care team to make sure yoga is appropriate for you and your condition.
In the next article, I will share with you some stories of how Gentle Somatic Yoga has helped my clients feel better and heal from chronic low back and hip pain.