My back pain is killing me and my doctor tells me to do yoga? Are you kidding me?
The estimated current population of the United States is 382 million people. Of those 382 million Americans, 65 million will report a recent episode of low back pain and 8 million will report chronic back pain lasting more than 3 months. Diagnosing and treating low back pain can be complicated. One type of low back pain is termed mechanical low back pain. It is described as a stiffness in the back, worse with extension of the low back, localized in the back with no radiation into the legs. It is worse with movement of the spine, twisting and standing from a seated position.
When this type of pain occurs, it is the natural reflex to be afraid of the pain and to avoid movement of the spine. However, the opposite is the reality. We know this based on sound clinical research dating back over the past 20 years. Movement of the spine is healing for most episodes of lower back pain. Classically patients have been referred to physical therapy, which indeed can be very beneficial. What yoga adds is teaching the patient awareness of his or her body in space, coupled with a matched restorative breathing pattern to help focus the mind, thereby creating other patterns in the brain for processing input different than the pain signals. Practicing yoga poses, called asanas, can help you regain your normal lumbar curves by understanding the pelvis alignment, can help you learn how to sit well, and learn to stand well ground in both feet.
To start a yoga practice is simple. It takes a body, which you have, and 20 minutes of your day. The key is a regular practice and a dedicated practice. If you have access to the internet, there are a wealth of yoga websites that are free. Just google “yoga for low back pain”. There are wonderful teachers who are available via zoom as well. If you can breathe, you can practice yoga.
I am happy to help you with finding resources if you are interested. Just call the clinic.