Low back pain is extremely common whether you are an athlete or work a sedentary job. As a physical therapist and certified yoga instructor, I’ve put together a series of easy yoga poses to help relieve back pain. If you have any concerns with these exercises, talk to a medical provider about your medical history before starting.
These yoga poses help strengthen and stretch your lower back and abdomen, helping to reduce tension and ease back pain. Stretching in yoga is beneficial as it helps relax muscles, increase blood flow and nourish overworked or stiffened muscle groups.
When practicing the below poses, allow yourself time to breathe deeply and hold each pose. Incorporate these poses daily, to find lower back pain relief.
Child’s pose is a relaxing yoga pose that stretches and lengthens your back muscles and spine.
- Start in a neutral position.
- Stretch your body down and backward as you bring your buttock towards your heels.
- Breathe deeply, resting your stomach on your thighs with your head on your mat.
- If comfortable, extend your arms forwards with palms towards your mat.
- Breath and hold the pose for 30 – 60 seconds.
Cat and Cow Yoga Sequence
This combination of poses is a great warm-up for the spine while also helping to stretch and activate the core muscles.
- Begin in a neutral position
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Place your wrists directly underneath shoulders and knees directly underneath hips.
- Your shins and knees should be approximately hip-width apart.
- Imagine a straight line connecting the top of your head to your hips.
- Gaze down towards the mat.
- Hold and breathe slowly and deeply.
Once in neutral position, transition into cow pose.
- Breathe in, dropping your belly towards the mat.
- Lift the top of your head towards the ceiling.
- Pull your shoulders back and away from the ears.
- Breathe and hold.
Now transition into cat pose.
- Breathe out, drawing your belly button up and in, towards your spine.
- Round your back towards the ceiling.
- Let the top of your head move towards the floor.
- Breathe and hold.
Move back and forth between the cat and cow position. Continue to breathe deeply lengthening the stretch.
Table Top Balance
This sequence builds lower back and abdominal strength while stretching. With regular practice, the pose can also help improve your balance.
- Begin in the neutral position.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine, engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Extend your right arm forward, reaching forward with your fingertips.
- At the same time, extend and draw your opposite leg (left leg) off the floor towards hip-level.
- Breathe, hold and release.
- Switch sides and repeat the sequence.
Jenni Freie, PT, DPT, OCS is a physical therapist with OrthoCarolina Pineville.