The other day, a friend at the gym told me about one of their friends who recently went to the doctor complaining of low back pain. They returned with the word “yoga” written on a prescription slip.
I was stoked. More and more, yoga is being “prescribed” as a remedy for low back pain, and for good reason. Many studies are proving that yoga is a legit tool to combat low back woes.
This stuff isn’t just for old women, anymore. “Weightlifters back” is a term used by doctors to describe the pain caused from lifting weights. How many times you have seen somebody at the gym rubbing their back, or wiggling around in strange ways to relieve what looks like back pain? Is this person you?
Now imagine being able to help this back pain in less than 10 minutes with a simple yoga routine. Bonus? Afterward, you’ll feel more mobile all over. Double bonus? You’re also going to feel pretty chill.
Ancient Dudes Knew What to Do
Unlike your neon socks, yoga is not just some passing fad. Yoga has been used as a tool for back health for over 5000 years. Perfect spinal alignment has always been one of yoga’s primary goals. Ever since ancient Indian dudes were wearing loincloths in caves, they have used yoga postures as a way to keep their spines healthy, strong, and mobile.
When yoga made its way to the US, people began flocking to classes to experience the funny-named postures for themselves. Its popularity began to grow as people experienced noticeable benefits when they twisted themselves into pretzel-like shapes.
Now, you can’t escape yoga. It’s everywhere, even in the strength and bodybuilding worlds, and as a compliment to weightlifting and other athletic endeavors.
Western Science Plays Catch-Up to Yoga
It hasn’t been until recently that science has taken interest. More and more studies are being done each year on the efficacy of yoga in relation to a number of different issues. One of these is low back pain, and there is an increasing body of evidence supporting yoga as a treatment.
A meta-analysis found that yoga elicited moderate to significant decreases in functional disability and pain in those suffering from chronic low back pain. Better still, the analysis showed that the pain relieving effects are felt shortly after starting a yoga routine. In other words, it won’t take long until you have some relief!
But this isn’t a one-shot cure. The analysis also showed that you have to keep practicing yoga to keep feeling the benefits. Like anything else worthwhile in life, you have to be disciplined and just do the damn routine on a consistent basis.
10 Minutes to a Happy Low Back
Regardless if you just had an “oh shit” moment on your deadlifts this morning, or if you’ve been cursing your low back pain for years, I have a sequence that will help.
Don’t worry, the yoga I’m about to teach you doesn’t require you to be able to throw your leg behind your head. Alignment yoga is all about healing your body through strength, length, and mobility. Too much flexibility is just as much of a liability as too little. Alignment yoga brings all of these in to balance to optimize your body.
But you can’t just do it once and expect results! Like anything else worthwhile, you need to stay consistent. Do this 3-5 times per week for optimal results.
You can repeat the entire sequence if needed, or double up on certain stretches. Stay longer in the poses that feel good. Opt out of the ones that don’t. Granted, you might not feel phenomenal in all the poses, but it’s up to you to gauge the difference between necessary and unnecessary discomfort.
Go get your yoga on. Your low back will thank you.
- Childs pose
- Kneeling rib stretch
- Rag doll
- Whale tail
- Lying mid back twist
- Lying inner thigh stretch