Most of the people of the middle age don’t already remember what healthy spine is and need low back pain relief regularly. A lot of them use yoga as gentle and reliable way of back pain therapy. Second reason to use yoga lower back pain is experience of yoga teacher in these questions. As a rule, good instructor teaching yoga for many years is always a back pain specialist. In each group you have the whole palette of different spinal problems. Today I retell our conversation with one my students who feels after yoga lower back pain. Moreover, he has exaggerated lumbar lordosis and tries to compensate it by means of yoga poses. This is Andrew of 48 years old.
Andrew: I feel a nagging pain in the lower back while drawing myself up after Utkatasana and sometimes being at Shalabhasana. If then I do Downward Facing Dog it works as back pain therapy, pain calms down. Perhaps, I have to think about asanas that can make the muscles of my lower back stronger. Could you, as a back pain specialist, recommend me what I should do for low back pain relief& Besides I have exaggerated lumbar lordosis. Both my hand can pass freely under my back when I lie down on the floor. How can I reduce my exaggerated lumbar lordosis?
Me (Liya Volova): Pain is clear indication of the strangulation of the spinal nerves in the low back area. As we know, spinal nerves can be strangulated only by vertebral bones. That means your vertebrae are in an unstable condition, the slightest muscle tension in this area can just increases the pain. Exaggerated lumbar lordosis aggravates situation. Your body shouts your about all of that. If you will strain your muscles more, the bone may put more pressure on the nerve or stretch it! To compensate this situation you should not strain your muscles. Quite the contrary, you have to do a soft extension and lengthening. That’s why Downward Facing Dog pose helps you and works as back pain therapy against yoga lower back pain, as you said. However do not overdo it!
In general, as back pain specialist, I can say that low back pain relief can be achieved by two factors:
1. Due to extension. Releasing of clamped area at least for a short period of time let the central nervous system see the problem and give the necessary orders for the recovery (for example, to switch a greater extent of control to on adjacent nerves).
2. Releasing the clamped parts happens due to thickening of the intervertebral discs — again, just for a while. Intervertebral disks have so-called hydrophilic function, ability to absorb liquid from the surrounding tissues, such as sponge. Intervertebral discs become thicker and push vertebrae aside, further one from another. Spinal holes increase, strangulation of spinal nervous reduces. This occurs during sleep or Savasana. By the way this is one of the reasons why Savasana must be done after the practice necessarily.
2. Releasing the clamped parts happens due to thickening of the intervertebral discs — again, just for a while. Intervertebral disks have so-called hydrophilic function, ability to absorb liquid from the surrounding tissues, such as sponge. Intervertebral discs become thicker and push vertebrae aside, further one from another. Spinal holes increase, strangulation of spinal nervous reduces. This occurs during sleep or Savasana. By the way this is one of the reason why Savasana must be done after the practice necessarily. Be mindful of your Savasana to have healthy spine.
I would recommend for back pain therapy to build a practice in such a way as to involve lower back muscles just to pump the blood and lymph. You should also pay attention to the training of the major muscles of the body, which will intensify the flow of fluids in the body as a whole. Strain the lower back muscles as less as possible, especially with exaggerated lumbar lordosis. If the pain will intensify, it’d better to give up the strain until the acute phase will pass, until the low back pain relief. Of course I supposed giving my recommendations that you visited your doctor or even back pain specialist already, and MRT showed there are no serious problem and generally you have more or less healthy spine. Then you can try yoga lower back pain.
Andrew: Thank you, I will take your advice. I have two additional questions to you as back pain specialist. Which asanas would you recommend for spinal traction in my situation? And how can I compensate for the exaggerated lumbar lordosis?
Me: For spinal traction and low back pain relief my advice for you is only Paschimotanasana with your knees bent.
The best way to compensate for the exaggerated lumbar lordosis is tucking your coccyx in as often as you can remember about this advice. And it’s great method for back pain therapy.
Andrew: But why Paschimottanasana should be done only with bent knees? And some new questions have appeared in my head… I sleep on the back. Is it right position in my case? And maybe I need to train my abdominals to compensate for exaggerated lumbar lordosis?
Me: Anyone who can not sit flat on the floor with the natural curve of the lower back and bend forward to his/her hips — not by rounding the lower back, but by folding in the hip joints, must have the knees bent in Paschimottanasana. Most people have short muscles in the back of their legs, which practically can not stretch, and forward bend as a rule tends to be done with a rounded lower back. This doesn’t further to a uniform increasing in the space between the vertebrae, instead this increases the tension of the lower back muscles that are already overstrained. And, surely, this is not helping in low back pain relief, and it’s wrong way to the healthy spine.
Overtension in the muscles of the lower back is explained by the fact that they try to counteract the dangerous movement of the vertebra which is in the state of subluxation. A sign of subluxation is muscle bumps around the spine. The nervous system tells the muscles to continue to hold on to at all costs not to strangulate the spinal nerves or not to aggravate the strangulation that happened already. If the bone-setter put the bones in place muscle bumps gradually will go away.
When in these cases we bend forward with a rounded back or continue to train back muscles hard, we seem to hang on the shoulders of Atlantis, who are without us hard — they already keep the whole Earth. No one back pain specialist would give this advice.
Regarding your second question… Sleeping on the back is good way to sleep. This is the most eco-friendly posture with respect to vertebrate joints. But with exaggerated lumbar lordosis you shouldn’t sleep on hard surface. Orthopedic mattress would be much better…
And about your last question…Training the abdominal muscles will do nothing to you. Especially, if you keep in mind usual dynamic practice when you raise and put down your legs or torso repeatedly. Lower back muscles can be overstrained doing this kind of exercises. It’s bad choice for low back pain relief. Compensate for exaggerated lumbar lordosis is possible due to the optimum position of the body. Keep correct posture during your everyday life — tuck your coccyx in, keep the lower abdomen toned, apply Mula Bandha. It’ll be very beneficial if you want to have healthy spine. By the way, dancers often keep such posture. But gymnasts, on the contrary, have buttocks protruded, exaggerated lumbar lordosis etc. It is better to look like dancers …
And be careful with back pain therapy, don’t practice it on your own, do it only under supervision of experienced instructor. It’s better when your yoga teacher is back pain specialist at the same time. Yoga lower back pain can have different causes and various treatment. Please, take care of your body. We have the only one for current reincarnation …
If you are interested in this topic such as low back pain relief, back pain specialist, yoga lower back pain, back pain therapy, exaggerated lumbar lordosis etc, please, follow me in Twitter to keep abreast of new research and developments in this area.