Backache is one of the most common physical disorders by which many people suffer today. It is estimated that between 60% and 70% of the population will suffer from an incident of acute or long-term lower backache at some stage during their life. Most orthopedic doctors know that the effectively treatment and therapy of backache can be a long term and frustrating affair for the doctor and for the patient. For this reason, doctors mostly prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills or in excessive cases they put injections, which cover the problem instead of curing it. However, research has shown that yoga offers a simple, effective and permanent cure to many chronic lower backache sufferers. If it is so then why many new yoga practitioners complain about lower backache after their yoga classes?
The majority of backaches are caused mostly by the sedentary lifestyle characterized by lack of exercise and overweight. These factors apply an excessive strain in the lower back region causing muscular insufficiency, stiffness or inflexibility of lower back muscles. This will gradually lead to a state of tight painful spasm in the relevant region which initially becomes semi-permanent and if not cured will become chronic. Furthermore, backache is caused by slipped disc, arthritis or degenerative joint disease. However, an acute lower backache commonly arises after bending forward with the knees straight trying to lift a weight from the floor. Lower backache can also occur by a trivial jolt or insignificant movement such as cough or sneeze.
As yoga-asana is becoming more and more popular the last decades, the number of yoga practitioners has been notably increased in all the yoga studios and in all gym which include yoga classes in their schedule. Nevertheless, along with the increased number of yoga practitioners, a rise of lower backache complains has been aroused by the practitioners,especially beginners. But how can this be possible since a lot of researches have proved that yoga can lead as therapy to lower backache?
In ancient times, yogis used to practice yoga-asana with safety and awareness. They were able to maintain their body healthy by keeping their mind completely focused during their practice to absorb in detail the benefits of practice. This kind of practice approach is nowadays almost rare in a yoga studio and exceedingly unlikely to find in a vinyasa or power yoga class because of the yoga class structure’s fast flow.
In the current age of Kali Yuga, our minds are possessed with an intense passion of materialism. The time is limited and valuable, hence students prefer to attend 45’ to one-hour vinyasa or power yoga classes, to finish quickly because they have to return back to their office or to their chores. In such classes the time is limited and the flow is fast, so that they meet the demands of our daily busy lives. This means that there is not sufficient space to look right into the heart of asana and to establish the steadiness of mind so that it arrives at its deepest levels. Fast flow classes are composed by a lot of forward bending and this can be a reasonable cause of the lower backache, especially for the beginners. Many students do not have the relevant flexibility of the hamstrings which is prerequisite for the safety of the lower back. During a forward bend tight Hamstrings generate tension to the sitting bones (ischial tuberosity) and in combination with limited flexibility of hip joints, they prevent pelvis to rotate forward, hence bending does not happen from the hips (as it should have) but from the lower back and tension starts accumulating in the lumbar region. This repetitive tension along with weak lower back muscles and overweight create spasms in the lower back region, which in long-term will lead to lower backache. One very common example of tight hamstrings is the rounded back, like semicircle, in all the forward bends and in adhomukhasvanasana or downward facing dog – as well.
Hatha Yoga is also known as the science of body purification. Its main objective is to create an absolute balance and a healthy state between body and mind. In Hatha Yoga Classes there is a holistic approach of the student’s personality in all levels (physical, mental, spiritual), which is achieved through asana, pranayama and meditation. Asana class structure is basically focused on body’s stimulation and relaxation. The pace is slow and calm which gives time to the students to understand the asana and adjust safely and comfortably into it. There are certain asana which are designed to increase the functional efficiency of lower back muscles with safety. When the lower back muscles become strong and flexible the lower back is protected and the lower backache is vanished or decreased. There have been recorded many cases of lower backache sufferers who have found relief after adopting a simple daily hatha yoga program for a certain period of time. This requires time, patience from the student and guidance from an expert teacher.
Asana: Balasana, pavamukhtasana, ArdhaShalambasana, Bhunjangasana, Setubaddhasana, Sarpasana, Vakrasana, Shavasana or advasana.
All the above asana should be performed under the guidance of an expert teacher and when there is no agitation of the lower backache.
Pranayama: Nadi Shodhana, Bhramari
Diet: Simple diet especially for excess weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses. Avoid too much sugar and spices or any food that creates constipation to you.
Besides the yoga program apply of heat in the lower back region, massage and rest are recommended as a therapeutic approach to the problem.
Be happy and practice safely.