Are you dealing with shooting pains or numbness from sciatica? Discomfort is caused when the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine down the back of each leg) gets pinched. It can be caused by an injury such as a slipped disk or pelvic fracture, pregnancy, or tight muscles in the lower back, hips, and legs. Whether you feel yours at night or after sitting or standing for a long time, relief is just a yoga mat away with these eight poses.
You get out of bed like you normally do, but this time when you go to stand up, you feel a sharp pain in your lower back. Did you overdo it in Zumba yesterday or just sleep funny? Either way, it seriously hurts, and you want relief. You can't remember if it's better to grab an ice pack or a heating pad.
Both methods increase blood flow to the injured area and are beneficial in reducing pain as well as speeding the healing process. Heat increases circulation, which boosts the supply of oxygen to the area and accelerates the removal of waste products. Ice restricts blood flow, which reduces inflammation and numbs pain. To ice or to heat? This chart should help.
|Use ice pack, bag filled with ice cubes, or bag of frozen vegetables; apply no longer than 20 minutes||Use heating pad, hot towels, or a hot bath; apply no longer than 20 minutes|
Not being able to fall sleep is bad enough, but when you're unable to snooze because of excruciating back pain, you're likely to be extra cranky next day. Plus, a lack of sleep can cause weight gain, make you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses, and can also shorten your life. Here are some things you can do to get some relief from that aching back tonight.
- Postdinner shower: Muscle tension caused by stress can make it hard for anyone to relax enough to get Zs. Run a hot bath or shower and spend some time massaging your shoulders and neck under the warm, soothing water.
- Yoga before bed: Tight hips, hamstrings, abs, and back muscles can all contribute to lower back pain. Take a few minutes before bed to target those areas with this yoga sequence designed to reduce back pain. If you run and suffer from a tight or sore back, try these pain-relieving stretches for runners. Pregnancy can also cause back pain, so here are yoga poses for mommas-to-be.
- Check your sleep position: Belly and side sleepers tend to suffer from more back pain while sleeping, or wake up in pain. When on the belly, your spine isn't supported and will arch toward the floor, compressing your lower vertebrae. If you prefer your side, the top knee and thigh slides forward, rotating the lower spine. To keep your spine in a neutral position, sleep on your back with pillows under your knees, or if lying on your side is a must, place a pillow between your knees to prevent your spine from twisting in one direction. If these positions don't work, and you crave lying on your belly, reduce discomfort by placing a pillow underneath your pelvis. Use a flat pillow underneath your head to avoid strain on the neck and upper back.
More ways to prevent back pain while sleep after the break.
If you run, it's not unusual to experience back pain at some point. This pain can be caused by tense upper back muscles and shoulders, weak abs, tight hamstrings and hips, or a combination. You'll be amazed at how a regular stretching routine can help! Sleep better and tie your shoe with ease by going through this 11-pose yoga sequence after every run.
Got cramps? You're not alone. Many women suffer from severe menstrual pain (known as dysmenorrhea) with sharp, throbbing, burning, or nauseating cramps in their lower abdomen and back. The cramps may come right before you get your period or during, but thankfully they go away when your period is over.
These crippling, can't-get-through-your-normal-day kind of cramps are caused by uterine contractions and can be aggravated by emotional stress. They tend to cause headaches and a really heavy flow — twice the fun. Some women take pain meds to deal, but you may want to give these yoga poses a try, since getting your body moving (and out of fetal position on the couch) can really help with cramps.
Half Bound Squat
Hip pain can be part of the whole cramp scene, so stretching them out feels really good. Here's how to do Half Bound Squat.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width-distance apart. Bend your knees, and lower your hips all the way down. Take a peek at your feet, and see if you can press your heels out, bringing your feet parallel.
- Press your elbows against your inner knees, and lengthen through your torso. Hold like this in a Wide Squat for five breaths.
- Then bring your right arm between your knees. Lower your right shoulder as far under your right knee as possible, so you hug your knee with your armpit as you reach your right forearm around your back with your palm facing away from your body.
- Reach your left arm up as high as you can, bend your elbow, and bring the back of your left palm to your lower back. Try to have the right fingers through the left. If they're close enough, then hold your left wrist with your right hand, with the left palm facing behind you.
- Stay here for five deep breaths. Come back to Wide Squat for one complete breath to release the pose, and repeat on the left side.
Pigeon Pose also opens your hips, but sometimes it feels better to work one side at a time. This variation will also stretch out the lower belly.
- Sit on the floor with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you.
- Place your hands on your hips, and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip, but if this variation is painful, then lean forward, placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Hold for five or more breaths, and then repeat this pose on the other side.
Keep reading to learn other yoga poses to relieve cramps.
Whether you woke up with a tight lower back, your desk job has you aching, or you overdid it at the gym, here is a relaxing yoga sequence designed specifically to stretch your lower back. Since tight hips, hamstrings, and shoulders can often trigger discomfort and pain, this sequence will also lengthen those tension spots. Do this series of yoga poses any time your back needs a little extra love.
If you suffer from lower back pain, it's time to roll out your yoga mat. This simple sequence will strengthen the lower back muscles, alleviate aches, and help prevent future injury.
Depending on your level of comfort and overall flexibility, choose wisely — only practice the poses that suit your needs at this time! Be sure to listen to your body and breathe deep as you flow.
Photo: Jenny Sugar
If a 9-to-5 desk job leaves your back aching and sore, you don't have to take the pain sitting down. Here are some ways to prevent discomfort and tension in your spine.
- Switch your chair for a ball: Weak abs and back muscles can be one cause of your pain, as well as poor posture from slouching over your keyboard. Since sitting on a stability ball forces you to sit up straight and use your core, making the switch will not only help alleviate back pain, it'll also help you look better in your swimsuit. Start off with a few 20-minute sessions until you gradually work up to a full day.
- Take five: Sitting at a desk for hours on end can lead to tight shoulders, hips, and hamstrings, all of which can pull and put pressure on your spine, causing pain. Regularly stretching these areas will increase your flexibility, offering instant relief and preventing discomfort down the road. Set your phone or computer alarm every 60 minutes to take a stretching break; include these yoga poses for hip and back pain as well as these neck, chest, and shoulder stretches.
- Noon workout: Break up your day by exercising on your lunch break to increase circulation and warm up your tight muscles. Focus on workouts that strengthen your abs and back and finish up with stretches for the hip flexors, lower back, and shoulders.
- Find opportunities to stand: Walk over to your co-workers to chat with them instead of relying on instant message, take your phone calls or meetings for a walk, and if your company allows for it, get an adjustable desk that allows you to stand while working.
- Ergonomics: Many companies call in a professional to check their workers' desks to make sure they're set up properly, so take advantage of this service. A simple adjustment to your chair height could be the fix you need to end your back pain.
You are what you eat. At least, that's the old adage. It's also one I believe in — what you put into your body has a big effect on how you feel. There are foods that fight fat and detox foods. There are even foods that help you sleep better and look fresher. Adding to the list of foods that fuel with a purpose are foods that help ease pain. Whether it's a headache, post-workout soreness, or an injury, these foods will help ease the pain away in a totally natural way.
A tight lower back and tight hips tend to go hand in hand. If you suffer from these common ailments, here's a relaxing yoga sequence that can help prevent pain in these areas. Doing these five poses every day will open and release tension, to help you say adios to hip and back pain.
Source: Laughing River Yoga Studio