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Yoga for People with Back Pain

Whenever my lower back gets tight (which happens more often than not after being glued to my work chair for hours on end), I sit on the floor and slowly move into my favorite yoga pose: half lord of the fishes, also known as a seated spinal twist. Just a twist to the left and right never fails to restore my sore back.

Yoga is one of the more effective tools for helping soothe low back pain. The practice helps to stretch and strengthen muscles that support the back and spine, such as the paraspinal muscles that help you bend your spine, the multifidus muscles that stabilize your vertebrae, and the transverse abdominis in the abdomen, which also helps stabilize your spine.

But unfortunately, yoga is also the source of many back-related injuries, especially among older adults. A study published in the November 2016 Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicinefound that between 2001 and 2014, injury rates increased eightfold among people ages 65 and older, with the most common injuries affecting the back, such as strains and sprains. So, the question is this: how can you protect an aching back from a therapy that has the power to soothe it?

Proper form is especially important for people with back pain

The main issue with yoga-related back injuries is that people don’t follow proper form and speed, says Dr. Lauren Elson, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They quickly ‘drop’ into a yoga pose without gradually ‘lengthening’ into it.”

This is similar to jerking your body while lifting a dumbbell and doing fast reps instead of making a slow, controlled movement, or running on a treadmill at top speed without steadily increasing the tempo. The result is a greater chance of injury.

In yoga, you should use your muscles to first create a solid foundation for movement, and then follow proper form that slowly lengthens and stretches your body. For example, when I perform my seated twist, I have to remember that the point of the pose is not to rotate as fast and far as possible. Instead, I need to activate my core muscles and feel as though my spine is lengthening. Then I can twist slowly until I feel resistance, and hold for as long as it’s comfortable and the tension melts away.

Starting yoga if you have back pain

Talk to your doctor first about whether it’s okay to begin a yoga program if you suffer from low back pain. Dr. Elson suggests staying away from yoga if you have certain back problems, such as a spinal fracture or a herniated (slipped) disc.

Once you have the green light, you can protect your back by telling your yoga instructor beforehand about specific pain and limitations. He or she can give you protective modifications for certain poses, or help guide you through a pose to ensure you do it correctly without stressing your back. Another option is to look for yoga studios or community centers that offer classes specifically designed for back pain relief.

Remember that the stretching and lengthening yoga movements are often what your low back needs to feel better, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. “By mindfully practicing yoga, people can safely improve their mobility and strength while stretching tight and aching back muscles,” says Dr. Elson.

SOURCE: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/yoga-and-back-pain-2018041413652


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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