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Low Back Pain Relief Can be Achieved with Yoga

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

Young female trainer working with client who has back pain

We hear about lower back pain a lot here at La Misión Fitness & Yoga. In the United States it is the most often cited cause for reduced activity in individuals under 45, second most frequent reason for a visit to the doctor’s office, and the third most common reason for surgery!

Unfortunately these issues don’t stop at the border. Many of our clientele and community are affected by chronic lower back pain (CLBP), sciatica, slipped/herniated discs, and other similar issues. Back pain also carries its own emotional baggage; 20% of persons with lower back pain also suffer from major depression. Living in pain can often lead to feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and helplessness. Fortunately though, we have experience helping individuals with back pain, and our methods are scientifically supported.

One of our most common suggestions when someone comes to us suffering from back pain is that they take a yoga class. Some of yoga’s core emphasis are postural positioning, releasing muscular tension, and uniting the mind and body. All three are important to successfully treating CLBP!

When someone suffers from CLBP, it is typically the result of a poor movement pattern that we repeat for a long time, or being in the wrong position at the wrong time during an activity. Common positions that can lead to CLBP are slouching, standing unevenly on our feet and spending long hours sitting. Having poor posture when moving, or picking things up while being improperly balanced can also cause injuries to your spine. Yoga helps correct all of these by teaching proper posture and spinal alignment. In yoga spinal alignment is emphasized through each movement. Having proper posture ensures that: muscles contract properly, our joints are protected while moving through their full range of motion, and balance is maintained in each of the poses.

With any injury, including those causing back pain, muscular tension is produced. This is the result of the healing process, scar tissue, and modified movement patterns developed to protect damaged tissues (like limping for an example). Tension early can actually be good, but if unaddressed muscular tension can cause more issues than even the initial injury did. Yoga teaches how to release tension in our muscles. Lower tension in our muscles allows for increased blood flow, which reduces joint stiffness and allows for a greater range of motion. All three contribute to decreasing joint pain!

When we experience pain, and lose the ability to do the things we enjoy doing we can experience a flood of negative emotions. These emotions circularly contribute to losing the desire to do other things. This loss of desire means we move less which leads to more pain. These two “vicious circles” are hard to get out of, but not impossible to escape.

Psychological and Pain vicious circles diagram

Yoga is a great place to start for those caught in the vicious circles of pain. Yoga is easily modifiable for all skill and fitness levels. Poses can be adjusted to fit any level of mobility, and yoga is about relaxing so you should never leave a yoga class in more pain than when you came in. This easy start allows us to exit the vicious circles and begin a new cycle: increased movement leads to less pain, which leads to better emotions, leading to more movement and less pain!

Do not allow lower back pain to keep you from doing what you love. We at La Misión Fitness & Yoga understand the physiology and psychology of chronic back issues and we want to help you leave pain behind! Come by today and sign up for your first yoga class, or look out for our upcoming specialty class: Yoga for Sciatica.

-Corey Evans, CSCS, CISSN

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