Pain in the Back
Back pain and particularly lower back pain seems to have grown in epidemic proportions in Kerala. If left unchecked it could lead to debilitating conditions like herniated discs etc. Lifestyle changes that have made us chair dwelling and sedentary is the key culprit. To heal you need to look at the root causes. It could be a combination of the following – some parts of the body are
- overused (upper back and shoulders)
- underused (back muscles)
- not used (core muscles)
- abused (lumbar and lower vertebrae of your spine)
- tight (hamstrings)
- lose (oblique)
Back pain can also be related to grief and loss of stability in life. While its best to get a therapist or physician to look it over, few do it yourself remedies could also help release the pain. Here is a routine you could follow or send in a mail with specific queries.
Stretch the spine such that it counteracts the continuous seated posture that we adopt. Yoga poses such as Tadasan (Mountain Pose) with arms extending to the ceiling should be done each time you are getting out of your chair or getting into one. Lying on your back with hugging your knees to chest in Pavanmuktasan also helps release some of the tension in the lower back. It also helps to relax the hip flexors in front.
Lower back pain is often associated with a tight hamstring. Make sure your day does not end till you stretch out the hamstrings. Various leg raising poses (Utanapadasan) that do not need the person to bend forward help release the hamstring without aggravating the lower back pain. Use a towel or strap around the leg and hold it so that you get the stretch without having to strain.
One of the best poses to combat and prevent back pain is the Cobra Pose or Bhujangasan. Based on your back condition you may have to do the apt variation.
Wind up the routine with Childs pose with knees places wide apart.
How to do the Cobra Pose
Lie on the abdomen, feet together. Hands beside the body.
Bend your hands at the elbow, place the palms on the mat such that the finger tips are in the line of the collar bone, elbows close to the body touching the rib cage.
Take a couple of nice long breaths.
Extend your spine so that you are reaching forward with the crown
Pull your shoulders away from your ears and try to squeeze the muscles in your shoulder blades together.
Now slowly lift your head up, and lift the palms off the mat.
This is the petit cobra. Stay in the pose and practice long breathing.
If this feels comfortable and can be held for 15 seconds then you can proceed to cobra pose.
As you exhale come down on to the mat – vertebrae by vertebrae.
Place the palms on the floor and slowly try to lift your body such that you do not rely on your hand strength but only on your back and core strength. Press down with your pelvis but lift from the upper abdomen. Ensure that your collar bone is parallel to the ground and that your shoulders are not tensing up. Build up for 30 seconds and do 3 sets daily.
Benefits of the Cobra Pose
Strengthens the spine and lower back muscles
Firms the buttocks, stretches chest and shoulders
Stimulates the organs in the abdomen – both digestive and reproductive
Relieves stress and fatigue and is very invigorating
Therapeutic applications for Asthma and Sciatica
Contraindications : Carpel tunnel, headache, pregnancy, back injury.