Millions of people world-wide suffer from back pain, some debilitating and others put up with pain on a daily basis as if itís normal. Our spine is our main support structure and when it is out of balance the rest of the body suffers.
From years of working with back conditions, the main cause seems to be a sedentary lifestyle an no intervention. The spine runs from the top of the neck to the pelvis and any deviations to the flow creates an imbalance in the rest of the body.
Think of the body as a tent with all pegs in place. There is strength and balance to the structure. If a peg is removed, the tent starts to cave in a lean to one side. This is what happens to our body when there is an imbalance in the spine. We can carry on, however the body creates new muscular patterns to compensate for the imbalance and we experience the aches and pains that follow.
It is common to see people with one shoulder higher than the other due to the pelvis being tilted to one side. The result is lower back pain, potential knee problems and neck and shoulder tension.
This can be easily rectified through gentle regular exercise and perhaps some body work, depending on the degree of the condition. Yoga is fabulous for strengthening the spine and core muscles in the stomach, which help to keep us straight, strong and flexible. Sitting all day at a desk or slumping in comfy seats with our legs crossed contribute to our problems.
There are several asana that are beneficial for keeping the back strong and healthy, not to mention some dietary changes you may find beneficial.
- Reduce sugar in your diet as sugar weakens the muscles and leaves the body depleted.
- Increase water as it lubricates the joints and keeps the disc space between the vertebrae healthy and spongy.
- Reduce tea, coffee and alcohol as they dehydrate the body. They are full of tannins, which is a drying agent. If the body is already dehydrated, this will add to joint and muscle pain with cartilage eroding and arthritis becoming a possibility.
The body relies on water to keep it healthy. All the organs need a certain amount to function properly. The brain being the largest organ, takes what it needs first and if there is not enough for the brain then brain cells start to die, headaches become the norm and all the other organs, joints and muscles are left without any fluid.
Also, the disc space between the vertebrae diminishes and crumbles leaving the vertebrae rubbing against each other without any protection. The results of this are not very pleasant; leaving you with a stiff inflexible and extremely painful back to cope with.
As mentioned before, exercise, especially yoga, is essential to back health and keeping the body strong.
- Shavasana is excellent as an all round relaxer.
- Tadasana is perfect for stretching the whole body top to toe.
- Gentle twisting is also good to stretch the waist muscles.
- Child Pose is great for flexing and stretching the spine.
- Gentle neck rolls to free up the cervical spine.
- Trikonasana is fabulous for deep stretches of the back muscles and for balance.
- Cat Cow is also perfect for flexing and strengthening the spine.
If you are experiencing back pain, only do the above asana to your ability. Take them slow and stop if you feel any pain. It is also recommended that you seek advice from your doctor before undertaking any exercise regime.
For further help and advice for back pain, I recommend checking out The Yoga Back Book from Amazon.