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Yoga and Alternative Therapies for Lower Back Pain

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012

  There are millions who suffer annually from lower back pain. Are you one of them? Unfortunately back pain is not a new physical problem. Since man and woman have labored, there have been problems with the physiological state of the spine, and when it is over used or unduly stressed it can cause severe back pain.  
 
Back pain is even alluded to in Shakespearean sonnets, “Thou cold sciatica, cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt as lamely as their manners.” Though he was poking fun at politicians ill-tempers, Shakespeare reminds us that even in the 1500s people had sciatica, and lower back pain due to slipped or ruptured discs or even just recurring low-level pain from standing or sitting too long. This problem has become even more acute with our modern lifestyle. 

Many of us experience back pain because we sit at computers all day, continuously doing the same limited, but repetitive movements, or we stand or lift heavy items without proper form. Even just plain, old poor posture can contribute to lower back pain, radiating pain the legs and stiffness. Fortunately, there are ways to combat discomfort in the spine, hips and shoulders, which all result from a tight sacrum or unhealthy discs. 

 
The first important thing to consider, before resorting to painful and expensive surgeries to alleviate back pain is movement. The body needs to stretch and move in a myriad of ways in order to facilitate deeper blood flow through the spinal nerves and to keep the cartilaginous discs healthy. Some activities that can greatly reduce lower back pain include poses like Legs up the Wall, found in yoga, or other spinal twisting poses like Marichyasana, a seated twisting pose named after an ancient yogic sage. Once the sacrum (the lowest part of the spine where blood flow has a tendency to stagnate) is opened and stretched, much relief can be realized.
 
Another step to avoid surgery and to alleviate lower back pain is Thai Chi. This ancient Chinese art involves smooth, fluid motions that can be very good restoring flexibility and strength in the body without jarring the muscles and bones. It also has exceptional mental benefits, uplifting your mood and calming your mind. It is near impossible to experience continued back pain after committing to a course of Thai Chi.
 
As you move through a series of synchronized movements that join with a deep breath, you will experience a strengthening of your postural muscles so that you can maintain better posture throughout the day and decrease back pain, along with other ailments commonly experienced due to tightness in the muscles and ligaments of the body. Lower back pain is especially alleviated since you build up your legs, and core muscles, and lengthen the spine to decrease the compression of the lower vertebrae.
 
If your back pain is due to a congenital birth defect or a disease such as Scoliosis, you will benefit even more from strengthening and stretching the body. Although lower back pain is more often caused by lifestyle issues, such as being overweight or living a sedentary lifestyle, it can also be caused by defect, disease or injury. Car accidents are a large reason for people experiencing lower back pain, neck pain and radiating pain in their legs, similar to sciatica. 
 
If your back pain is due to an injury instead of lifestyle or a birth-defect or disease, then you should be careful about attempting movement, and should seek the help of a highly skilled chiropractor or massage therapist as a means to alleviating muscle tension before starting to add movement to your daily lifestyle. Sometimes lower back pain as well as discomfort in the hips, neck or shoulders can be the result of muscle spasms. 
 
When a muscle spasms, it is due to overstrain of a particular area of the body, often muscles of the lower back, shoulders or neck, but can also be due to tightness elsewhere in the body that then pulls the spine out of alignment. If you’ve ever reached across a tablet o pick up a pen and felt excruciating lower back pain, you know what this is like. Before attempting to heal the body with movement, the muscles and fascia encasing the muscles must relax. Massage and adjustment can be very beneficial for early stages of back pain.
 
Surgery should only be a last-ditch effort to alleviate back pain. Even if you have suffered from low back pain and stiffness for what seems like decades, there are alternative therapies that can help not just to alleviate the symptoms but cure them altogether.
 
Should you try the methods mentioned herein and still experience back pain, consider laparoscopic surgery or minimally invasive surgery to alleviate lower back pain, tightness in the hips or shoulders or debilitating pain that keeps you from doing every-day activities.

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