If you talk to anyone these days, it seems chronic, and intermittent low back pain is an unwelcomed star player in everyone's lives. How did we all get here? Was it the increase in computer use, sitting for long periods during 40hr work week, or maybe you gained or lost a lot a weight all at one time? Have you started doing yoga but just can't seem to get lasting relief? I know this story all too well and couldn't figure out why my chronic low back pain was always coming back to take all my energy and have me shocked from pain when it would get tweaked in just the right direction.
It wasn't until I started doing functional bodywork with an understanding of how the structural muscles work together that I was able to get relief from that sharp panging feeling in my low back. This work along with healing some emotions that lived in my body for years helped reprogram my body & my mind to create a healthy low back that no longer fell back into those old pain & postural patterns. Here are my best tips for which yoga poses help with low back and sacral pain.
1. Core and lots of it! However, these aren't your typical crunches. You are going to have to touch your ass. Well, the sit bones to be correct. Right now lie down with knees bent, and feet firmly on the floor. If you have a yoga block, great, put it in between your thighs. A large book or a pillow will also work! Get it up close to your pubic bone. Now find your sit bones. Those bony protrusions where your buttocks and your hamstrings meet. Take a big breath in and hold your breath (if you're pregnant no holding of the breath), press your low back into the floor (I suggest using padding or a yoga mat), contract your sit bones into your fingertips, exhale and squeeze the object in between your thighs. Repeat this 5-8 times and once you have the feel of it try it without your fingers on the sit bones. Focus on plugging the sit bones towards the back of your thighs. This is going to create a strong connection to help lengthen your low back and get your glutes involved in supporting your low back! Through bodywork, if necessary I will release the glutes so that they can fire up with full contractile force, making these exercises twice as effective!
**Once you have mastered activating your sit bones you can try more difficult core work. Place your hands behind your head so that you're fingers are interlaced and supporting your head fully. Knees are still bent, and the object is in between the thighs. Inhale into your low back, hold the breath & press the low back down, squeeze the block and turn on those sit bones! Exhale, lift head and shoulders up with a relaxed neck. Inhale, lay head and shoulders back down. Start slow and build your way up to doing at least 10 of these every day.
2. Bridge with a block. This pose is great for activating your legs & glutes which both help to move stuck energy out of the low back. It will also aid in opening up the psoas which can be a major player in low back pain. Leaving the block (or another object on hand) in between the thighs, reach down and touch the backs of your heels with your fingertips. Your feet should be about hip distance apart. Take a breath in, exhale press your low back into the floor and lightly squeeze your block. Take another big breath in and on exhale, use your sit bones and strong legs to lift your hips up off the floor. Your upper back and head should be relaxed gently on the floor. Hold here and feel for getting your legs active to help lengthen the low back. If this is painful in any way, lower down to a place where you do not feel the pain, or it is significantly less in intensity. You could also place a block underneath your low back and just focus on turning on the legs if supporting yourself feels like too much for you.
Take a big breath in and on exhale, plug the sit bones towards the backs of the thighs lightly squeezing the block. Hold here until you feel the heat really building up in the legs, glutes, and low back. As you lower down, start with the upper back coming to the floor, mid back, low back, and finally settle the pelvis down. Make sure to tuck the tailbone and squeeze the block on the way down. Do this pose daily and increase the time as you build more strength in the legs.
As always consult your doctor if you have any condition you feel would not be appropriate for these exercises. If you would like to work with me privately through bodywork or yoga, where I will access your body and needs on a structural and functional level, reach out at 912-656-2701. We can create a plan that will get you lasting relief and you can say goodbye to your low back pain for good! Go to my booking page to schedule a private bodywork or yoga session today!