New Delhi: Back pain affects people of all age groups and is one of the world's leading causes of disability. Back pain can be divided into the areas of neck (cervical), mid-back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar) or coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain) regions.
Back pain can be caused by a bad posture, an injury, a muscle or ligament strain and even obesity. Safely lift heavy objects by bending your knees to avoid a strain on your back. Do not sit in uncomfortable postures for a long time.
Yoga as Therapy
Through specific poses, yoga builds strength and adds flexibility to your spine. You can also include activities such as walking and swimming along with a regular yoga practice. Pranayama techniques like Anulom Vilom, and Bhastrika are highly recommended. Lose any excess weight to avoid straining those back muscles.
These asanas are simple and easy to perform and even a beginner can practice these. A word of advice to beginners is to hold the pose for shorter durations initially and increase the duration gradually. Consult a physician or your physical therapist to tell you which exercises are right for you. Repeat each asana holding for 10 counts for up to 5 sets shared by Grand Master Akshar.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Lie on your stomach with palms placed under your shoulders. Keep your feet apart, with toes on the ground. Inhale and then lift your head, shoulders and torso up at a 30 degree angle. Keep your navel down, your shoulders broad and head slightly raised upwards. Slowly exhale ad bring your torso down.
Sarpasana (Snake Pose): Lie on your stomach and interlock your palms behind you. Inhale and then lift your torso, up to your navel. Keep your feet on the ground. Exhale breath to release from the pose.
Twisted Cobra Pose (Triyaka Bhujangasana): Lie on your stomach and bring palms placed under your shoulders. Keep your legs 2ft apart with outer toes on the ground. Inhale and hold your breath as you lift your torso and twist to look over your right shoulder at your left heel. Exhale and turn to the front and bring your torso down. Inhale and hold your breath as you lift your torso and twist to look over your left shoulder at your right heel. Exhale and release slowly.
Shalabasana (Locust Pose): Lie down flat on your stomach with your palms placed under your thighs. Slowly inhale completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) and then lift your right leg up. Place your chin or forehead on the ground. Exhale and slowly release to repeat with the left leg.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): Formation of the posture - Lie down on the floor, and bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. As you exhale push your tailbone upward and lift the buttocks off the floor. Interlock your fingers and place your hands below your pelvis extending the arms to align over your shoulders. Lift up until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Align your knees over the heels. To release, exhale and bring the spine slowly down onto the floor.
These are relatively easy asanas that can be done twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening. Set aside at least 10-15 minutes every day if you want to improve your spinal health and avoid back pain.