The causes of back pain and how to avoid it
My sincerest apologies for not posting on the Total Yoga blog for a few weeks now, but that was because I hurt my back a some time ago thanks to the “wonderful” pot holes in Bangalore.
While I do believe in living healthy and doing yoga, the injury to my back unfortunately was unavoidable, and believe me, I am paying the price for this.
Lifestyle choices can lead to back problems:
Regrettably, there are a lot of reasons for back problems, but recently it seems more and more people are falling prey to the potholes on the road. The jerks can really shake up the spine and the muscles in the back, and can leave you in a lot of pain.
Another reason for back pains, especially among people in their early 20s and 30s are sedentary lifestyle and jobs. It is not possible for the human body to be seated for such long period of hours, and this puts an immense amount of pressure on the back.
Even the way we sit can have a drastic impact on our backs; a lot of people tend to lean into their chairs with their laptops, without adequate rest to the spine. This is a complete no-no.
Precaution is better than cure:
Trust me, you can run up a lot of bills at the doctor’s if you have back pain. Also, loss of productivity at work is not going to make anyone happy, especially your boss.
Be careful when travelling on a bike or in a car. Don’t rush on the roads; trying to get somewhere in a hurry can cost you lot. Pay attention to the roads and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you – those potholes have a habit of popping up quite suddenly.
But particularly, be careful when in an auto. Avoid using your phone and be aware. Hold on to the bars on the side, and be prepared to jump up to negate the shock going through a pothole.
Don’t sit for too long at your workstation. Walk around, keeping your circulation high. Pay attention to your posture when sitting down and keep that spine upright. Most importantly, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Practicing deep breathing exercises at various times a day will also help reduce stress on the body.
Yoga asanas for the back:
A few simple yoga asanas can really help keep your back and health in good shape in the long run.
Setubandhasana or the Bridge Pose is a simple exercise that strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, and opens up the heart. Practicing this also helps energise the body, and revitalises and refreshes the mind.
Strengthening the core is extremely important to keeping your back strong and healthy as well. Any doctor will tell you that. More often than none, even though we exercise, we tend to ignore the stomach muscles due to various reasons and this leaves us with a back that is susceptible to injuries.
The Plank, or the Sampattasana as its known in yoga is perfect for strengthening your abs and other core muscles. Start on your Yoga mat in a push-up position. Then, lower both forearms on the mat so that both elbows and fists are flat on the ground. Make sure your palms are directly under your shoulder. Next, curl your toes under and engage the abs by tilting the pelvis forward and pulling the belly button toward the spine. Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Flex your abdominals and squeeze your butt muscles. Keep at it till the burning sensation begins. That’s when you know its working. Do it a few times and you’ll feel the difference.
Walking while tucking in your tummy and tightening the core is also a good exercise. Hint: You can also do this one at work, while on the phone, or when simply out for a post-lunch walk. Always remember to stretch your hamstrings as well. This is equally important as strong legs can really help prevent back problems.
Padahasthasana or the Standing Forward Bend has many benefits as well. It stretches the hamstrings on the legs, helps stretch and lengthen the spine, massages the internal organs, relieves digestive problems, increases blood supply to the brain and also helps build a flatter abdomen. This is a great stretching exercise to be performed with Suryanamaskaras.
Important Note: Please do not perform these asanas if you already have back pain. Should you feel the onset of any back problems, please make sure you see a doctor immediately, and follow the prescribed treatments and physiotherapy properly, before returning to Yoga.
If you have a similar story or would like to add to the list of causes for backaches, or just find out what can help you, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
Take care of yourself this festive season, avoid drinking and driving, and avoid the potholes. Happy Holidays!