Wondering where your physical therapist gets their exercise inspiration? Surprise, one of them is yoga! Many times, when patients come in with lower back pain, we can help them with movement that can be done almost anywhere – even sitting at your desk at work! Check out these six yoga-inspired exercises to help with your lower back pain.
Back and Side Stretch
Hold your arms up with palms together, as if you are trying to touch the ceiling. Bend to one side for three breaths, then bend to the other side for three breaths. Once you’re back in your upward position, bring your arms back for a slight backbend if it is comfortable for you. If not, you can put your hands on the small of your back, engage your abdominal muscles, and lean back. You can do this every couple of hours if you have consistent lower back pain.
With wrists under shoulders and knees under hips, roll up and engage your core so your back is rounded. Then let your belly button sink down so the crown of your head and your tailbone is up towards the ceiling. Connect these movements with your breath by exhaling with a rounded back and inhaling with your belly towards the floor. These poses are great if you’re looking to prevent or treat back pain.
Kneel on the floor with your big toes together and your knees apart. Fold over and extend your arms before laying your hands down. If you want this pose to be relaxing, just simply let your arms lay on the ground in front of you. However, if you want to add a little more work to this pose, tent your fingers and lift your arms to make it active. This pose is great to stretch your back and rest.
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Did you know that hamstrings can cause issues that lead to low back pain? Sit down with your legs in front of you, then move one leg up until the bottom of your foot is resting up against your opposite thigh. Flex the foot that is outstretched in front of you. Sit up tall and engage your core muscles, then aim your forehead towards your knee and bend forward with your hands reaching to your flexed foot. You can do each side for 20 seconds. Depending on your flexibility, you can add on with a wide-legged forward fold, where both legs are as wide as is comfortable. This can be done before or after physical activity or at the end of the day.
Knee-to-Chest and Spinal Twist in a Chair
If you’re sitting in your chair at work, you can do a variety of chair yoga poses to help ease your lower back pain. Begin by placing your feet about the distance of your hips. Interlace your fingers and slowly bring each knee up towards your chest. Looking to take this a little further?
Sit up straight and engage your core muscles. Using the sides of your chair, rotate in one direction. When you are turning in either direction, make sure that you stay sitting upright and straight, as if someone is pulling you from a string attached to the crown of your head. Once you feel complete on one side, rotate to the other side.
When you’re doing any of these yoga-inspired exercises, remember that keeping the right form will help you from injuring yourself or causing any further lower back pain. A physical therapist can help you with your form and create a treatment plan to help you get better, faster. If you are looking for a physical therapist nearby, Performance Physical Therapy has 13 locations across Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts that can see you today!