Yoga for Lower Back Pain: Is It Safe and Effective?


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Yoga can be an effective therapy for chronic lower back pain. It’s a fact proven by a variety of studies, cited in the systematic review published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The efficiency of this exercise is so high, it can help when battling disability and can significantly improve the quality of life.

Due to the increasing number of sedentary jobs, lower back pain has become a major health concern worldwide. Popularizing regular yoga practice can be the solution to managing this problem.

Stay Safe When Practicing Yoga for Lower Back Pain

Yoga is a low-impact exercise by default. However, it’s also the type of exercise that can lead to some serious injury unless it’s practiced exactly right. It might be a surprise for many, but yoga poorly-trained yoga teachers often suffer severe damage to their lower backs (The New York Times). Therefore, the most important thing you need to do in order to make your yoga practice safe is finding an experienced trainer with a stellar reputation.

Your health depends on it, so be sure to research your future trainer’s background thoroughly. Check their certifications and then take the time to find out how well-respected those are in the industry.

If you are recovering after some major incident and want to use yoga as a type of therapy, consider a trip to a yoga retreat. It’s definitely preferable to a stay at a physical therapy clinic and will provide you with an overall healthier experience (NPR). This is because at a retreat, you will be able to enjoy a healthy yoga lifestyle, which can help not only your body but also your mind. A retreat also offers a safe environment to practice because you get access to professionals 24/7 and can be under supervision at all times, so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself after leaving class.

Apply the same principles when researching retreats as you do to trainers. In fact, be sure to check the backgrounds of trainers listed on the retreat’s website and their certifications. If possible, stay at a facility that has certified medical professionals present at all times.

Practicing yoga under supervision of an expert is the most important rule for maintaining your safety.

Check these tips to help prevent injury:

  • Use yoga blocks and other supports when training.
  • Never do twisting and extending motions at the same time.
    And when you do twist, go slow and take it to your own level.
  • Sit when you need to do a forward bend and support your midsection when you straighten up. You can progress to standing bands when your flexibility improves.
  • Never stay in a pose if it’s uncomfortable.
    When practicing yoga for lower back pain, you need to be more attuned to your body than ever. At the first twinges of pain or discomfort, ask the trainer to help you unbend from the pose.
  • Keep your feet parallel and don’t let them turn out when standing or walking.
  • Keep your legs bent when bending forward or rounding up from a forward fold. You should also support your lower abdominal area with your hands when moving into or out of this pose.
  • Strengthen your core muscles as they provide natural support and can help reduce lower back pain.
  • Always include cat-cow, child pose, and happy baby pose into your yoga routine for lower back pain as they can help you stretch out and relax muscles that get tense during this training.

Yoga helps reduce and manage lower back pain (NIH) but practicing it without supervision and guidance only puts you at risk of a severe injury. If you want to enjoy all the benefits of this exercise, be sure to join a class or hire a private trainer who is a true expert.