Some say sitting is the new smoking. Maybe this is extreme… or is it? Excessive sitting, such as behind a desk all week long, just might be at the root of some chronic health conditions, like back pain, for many Americans. The good news is there are some great complementary therapies we can incorporate into our health routines to possibly alleviate some of the symptoms of back pain and improve muscle tone and posture.
Research indicates that a quarter of U.S. adults suffer from back pain each year. Back pain does not solely stem from sitting poorly, this we know. There are many causes of back pain with varying degrees of frequency and intensity. Causes of back pain can be hard to pinpoint, and treatment options differ greatly and should be sought under the supervision of a medical professional. According to sources, back pain is the top reason that people seek complementary health treatments in addition to more traditional care.
Yoga, reported as one of the top ten complementary health treatments in the United States, is practiced by millions of Americans each year. Yoga is a mind-body practice that has boomed in popularity in America but has its roots in India dating back thousands of years. Yoga integrates movement, breathwork and mindfulness in an effort to reduce physical and mental stress and create balance and ease for the practitioner. Although there are many reasons why one may choose to practice yoga, pain relief and doctor recommendations are both very high on the list.
Yoga can be a wonderful option to help alleviate symptoms of back pain due to the many counter-cultural movements offered in a class. Many yoga poses work to open the front line of the body and strengthen the back line of the body, which is the exact opposite of how we tend to hold ourselves physically when sitting for long periods of time. Shapes that counter-balance the routine movements of our daily lifestyle can help to invite more equilibrium into our bodies. When our body is balanced, we may experience less compression, stress and pain.
If you decide you might want to try using yoga to ease your back pain, it is best to check with your doctor first. Once you get the green light to begin, be sure to find a well-trained instructor and let them know about any injuries you may be working with. Sticking with any wellness routine takes dedication, but if you can find the time and space to do so, you may find that pain in your back start to lessen as well as a world of additional benefits that yoga has to offer.