Can I use yoga to treat low back pain?

A common misconception among those with back pain is that they must restrict movement of all kinds until their pain has improved. While you should not engage in activities that cause or worsen pain, doctor-approved exercise can be an effective part of a back pain treatment plan. Targeted exercise can promote healing and strengthen the back which can take pressure off the spine. There are a number of reasons that make yoga a good option for low back pain relief.

Depending on the severity of the underlying source of your pain, do not perform more advanced and challenging forms of yoga without doctor approval. For some, a less strenuous plan of low back pain stretches may be preferred.

The benefits of restorative yoga

Restorative yoga is a modified and simplified version of yoga created specifically for stress reduction and injury rehabilitation. Instead of complex or intimidating physical poses, restorative yoga involves movements that are supported by pillows, blankets or blocks. The purpose is to place the body into comfortable positions that encourage healing, within a relaxed state, in order to achieve lasting lower back pain relief. Restorative yoga does this by:

  • Strengthening core muscles
  • Stretching muscles to help relieve tension
  • Encouraging good posture and body awareness
  • Promoting mental and physical relaxation

Exercise caution while practicing yoga

As with any exercise program, it is important to consult your doctor before beginning yoga. Additionally, seek a yoga trainer who is familiar with helping people recover from their injuries. If, while doing yoga, your low back pain increases or worsens, you should stop immediately and seek the advice of your doctor.

Additional treatment options for low back pain

Many patients are able to manage low back pain successfully long term by following a course of conservative treatment including physical therapy, exercise and anti-inflammatory or pain medication in addition to complementary treatments like yoga. However, surgery can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment does not improve pain enough to engage in everyday activity comfortably.

At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^ By using a muscle-sparing less than 1-inch incision to access the spine we can offer patients an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication than hospital-based traditional open back surgery.

For a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you are a candidate, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today.