Working from home has had its benefits. Being able to roll out of bed and be at the office, grab a snack from the kitchen whenever, and sit with our cats during Zoom meetings aren’t the worst things in the world.
However, home office chairs and desks weren’t made with good posture in mind, and back pain is more prominent than ever. It seems like the longer we’re home, the more our backs are susceptible to aches and soreness.
Even though back pain might seem persistent, there are plenty of easy things to do at home that might be able to alleviate the problem. And one of the most powerful posture correcting tools at our disposal? Yoga!
So let’s take a look at some of the best yoga poses that will help ease tension in the lower back.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. But just because it is common doesn’t mean it’s not any less nagging.
Muscle or ligament strains are the most frequent causes of back pain, especially in the lower back. This can occur from lifting an object incorrectly or sitting in the same position for long periods of time. The latter is especially prominent if your posture is less than perfect.
Poor posture can lead to lower back pain because when your head and shoulders hunch forward, it puts excess stress on your spine. It’s likely that if your home office is not equipped with high-grade equipment, you might be experiencing some discomfort because of that.
Back pain can come from a lot of other things, though. You might have even just pulled a muscle from improper exercise technique or forgetting to stretch before your workout. Regardless, let’s try some yoga poses to alleviate the tension.
Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain
Yoga is such a powerful weapon against everyday discomfort, especially because its benefits exceed your body itself. Yoga is a calming activity that can also give you a sense of relaxation, which might even help reduce the stresses associated with your back pain.
Before doing any of these poses, remember to listen to your body and stop when you feel like something is wrong. Don’t push yourself too hard and be sure to have plenty of water with you.
Finally, try to clear your headspace before getting started. Take some deep breaths, find your inner balance, and make sure that you’re in a peaceful, calm environment.
But once you’ve gotten the prep out of the way, it’s time to get going!
This is a great beginner pose that will take the pressure off of the back and help to align the spine. You also don’t need too much room, so you can probably do it somewhere in your bedroom without having to move any furniture.
Here’s how to do the child’s pose:
- Kneel on the floor with knees hip width apart and feet together behind you.
- Breathe in. On the exhale, lay your torso over your thighs.
- Try to lengthen your neck and spine by moving your ribs away from your glutes and your head away from your shoulders.
- Extend your arms in front of you, resting your forehead on the ground. Hold the pose for however long you feel comfortable.
This is such a relaxing pose that you might even fall asleep doing it! Don’t forget to focus only our breathing throughout the entirety of your pose.
Downward Facing Dog
Lower back pain can be caused by stiffness and tightness in our waist and legs. If you’re sitting for most of the day, this is a great pose to stretch out your back, hamstrings, and calves.
To do the downward facing dog:
- Do the child’s pose mentioned above. From there, keep your palms flat on the floor and sit up on your knees.
- Lift your glutes and press back so that your rear is in the air and your spine is facing down at a 45 degree angle. Your body should make a triangle with the ground.
- Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels as much as possible. Direct your gaze toward your belly button.
- Hold for as long as you feel comfortable, typically one to three minutes.
While the two poses so far have worked on straightening the spine towards your abdomen, this pose bends the spine the opposite direction. It creates a natural curve of the lower back, which will feel great if you’re a little achy.
To do the sphinx pose:
- Lie on your stomach with your legs together, straight out behind you.
- Put your elbows on the ground and allow your forearms to lay flat on the ground in front of you. Palms should be face down on the floor.
- Pressing your hips and thighs into the floor, lengthen your spine while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- Sit up just enough to feel a nice stretch in your lower back. If you start to feel discomfort, do not keep arching.
- Hold for as long as you are comfortable, about two to three minutes.
This is an awesome pose, but it might feel a bit uncomfortable if you don’t have a soft yoga mat underneath you. Don’t be afraid to put some pillows or a blanket underneath yourself to get some extra support.
This is a great pose for the lower back because it combines two motions in one pose. It can make you more familiar with what a neutral spine feels like, which can improve your posture in the future.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start on all fours with your shoulders aligned over your hands and your hips over your knees.
- Slowly inhale. On the exhale, round your spine, slightly pushing your back up to the sky, and drop your head to the floor. It should look like you’re a cat, because you’re in the cat pose!
- Hold for a moment, and then while inhaling, lift your head and chest toward the ceiling while arching your spine in the opposite direction, pushing your belly toward the floor. This is the cow pose.
- Go back and forth between the two for a few minutes to really stretch and loosen your spine and abdominals. Don’t forget to breathe!
This pose will feel great in both your upper and lower back, so it’s an overall soothing one if you’re experiencing some mild pain.
Other Ways To Help With Lower Back Pain
While yoga is very helpful, it might not bring the immediate relief that you need. There are a few other things you can try instead of, or in conjunction with, yoga to ease the tension in your lower back.
Topical Ointments and Creams
Topical creams are popular ways to help alleviate joint pain because they can absorb into the skin and muscles. They’re usually fast acting and easy to apply.
On that note, one of the best ingredients that can be used in pain cream is CBD. CBD is a natural compound that is highly regarded for its restorative healing benefits, especially when paired with anti-inflammatory ingredients like arnica and soothing ingredients like juniper oil. It takes relieving aches a step further by absorbing directly into the affected area and providing instant relief.
Not to mention, it has antioxidant properties that can reduce signs of aging, and rejuvenate the skin with essential nutrients. So while you’re at it, you can use some body lotion to keep your skin feeling supple and moist and cover all bases when it comes to your self-care!
If your back seems to feel sore from everyday use, it might just be extremely stiff. Heating pads or just a hot towel can bring relief fairly quickly.
Heat works by opening blood vessels and stimulating blood flow, which loosens your muscles. This will help limber up the joints in your back which can relieve pain almost immediately. Applying heat is also great before engaging in a long workday or exercising, as it might prevent you from injury.
Lower back pain is an extremely common ailment, especially with more people working from home. The good news is that solutions can occur right from home as well.
Yoga poses such as downward facing dog and cat-cow will stretch out your spine and promote better posture, which can reduce problems down the line. On the other hand, the sphinx pose challenges you to bend your spine in a different position, bringing instant soothing sensations.
Topical creams and heating pads are great additions to use in conjunction with these yoga poses as well. Back pain is no fun, but these easy remedies will definitely give you something to smile about!
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