How Yin Yoga Can Relieve Back Pain
Low back pain is more common than most people think. It is estimated that about 6 percent of the North American population is suffering from low back pain at any given time, and about ½ of the people will suffer from back pain at some point within the next one year.
There are several lifestyle factors that can cause back pain. Sitting in a hunched position over a computer or having a sedentary lifestyle are two common causes. Others include strained ligaments and muscles from heavy weight lifting, whiplash from car accidents or having a sudden movement during a workout or sports activity.
Stress is a major cause of back pain. Numerous studies indicate that people who don’t like their job are more likely to have back pain. Stress, anxiety and other emotions tend to have a noticeable effect on your body that can lead to chronic tension. When you’re stressed or angry, the entire body tenses, resulting in a host of physical health issues.
Despite the cause, back pain is an incredibly debilitating condition. Luckily, an increasing amount of research is proving that practicing yin yoga may be effective in alleviating back pain.
How Yin Yoga Benefits Back Pain
Yin yoga focuses on stretching the connective tissue, or fascia, responsible for gluing everything inside your body and making it one whole piece. Having a sedentary lifestyle can tighten and damage the fascia in the lower back and hips. Therefore, any sudden movement can stretch and even tear the tendon or ligament in your lower back, leading to severe back injuries.
However, low back pain is not restricted to individuals with sedentary lifestyles only. Even if an individual appears to be in great shape, they are at risk of low back injuries. This is because even though their backs may have stronger muscles, not spending enough time stretching the ligaments, tendons and fascia in the lower back can lead to overextension, and ultimately, a lower back injury.
How Pain is Misunderstood
According to a 2014 study, published in the journal Pain, the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) may play a major role in causing back pain. TLF is a specialized form of fascia called aponeuroses, which a is flat wide sheet densely populated with fibrous connective tissue, covering and forming the terminals and attachments of numerous muscles. Many of the major muscles located in the trunk, legs and back are connected via TLF.
Like all connective tissue in the body, any pull in the TLF can radiate and cause pain.
Although it may feel like low back pain originates from the muscles in the back, there are several other structures connected by the TLF such as the piriformis, gluteus muscles, hamstrings, and joints, such as the sacroiliac joint that may contribute to this ailment as well.
Best Yin Yoga Poses to Relieve Back Pain
Yin yoga incorporates long-held poses, which means you’ll be stretching your body longer than you’re used to. This warms your muscles and fascia, allowing you to go deeper with each stretch, thereby, significantly reducing your risk of pain and injury caused by sudden movements.
The following are some excellent yin yoga backbends that can help improve fascia health and reduce your risk of low back pain and injuries.
Other examples of backbends that are excellent for relieving back pain include seal pose and saddle pose. You can also try forward bends, such as caterpillar, child’s pose, butterfly, snail and dangling pose, side stretches such as banana pose and twists such as twisted roots to improve back pain.