Better Your Back With Yoga
With most of us having a job that requires ample computer time, we are badly in need of exercises to keep us from bad posture. Here is yoga to the rescue. You don’t have to spend an hour on the mat each day to develop good posture and reap the benefits. There are ways to stretch your back throughout the day if you do not have an hour to spend on the mat each day. We love yoga as it refreshes our minds and boosts our energy. Medhatter blogger, Priscilla Peck, who suffers from scoliosis and slip disk started yoga as a means to realign her back. Here she shares with us 5 of her favourite yoga poses that helps better her back
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis derived from the Greek word, “skol” which means twists and turns. So what exactly is scoliosis and what can be observed? According to medical professionals, these are the few observations that can indicate you have scoliosis without an X-ray:
- One shoulder is higher than the other
- One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
- One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
- One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
- The waist appears uneven
- The body tilts to one side
- One leg may appear shorter than the other
Most back pains are usually not caused by scoliosis, but slip disk. This is a condition in which the spine is displaced from its normal position and presses on the spinal nerves, that usually causes the pain. Other than bad fall, other occasions in which a slip disk can develop is a sudden jerky movement or when one has weak spinal muscles. If your job is very physical and requires you to lift heavy materials, it increases your risk in getting slipped disk too.
Symptoms of slip disk includes:
- pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
- pain that extends to your arms and/or legs
- pain that worsens at night
- pain that worsens after standing or sitting
- pain when walking short distances
- unexplained muscle weakness
- tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area
- Pain in the lower back after standing for a period of time
MAGIC OF YOGA
Fret not, there’s a way to relieve those pain! Having scoliosis and slipped disk as a kid, pretty much doing things was a pain. Sitting for too long would result in both pain and numbness in the lower back, and standing for a period of time was really painful. I was in Girl Guides in my teen years, so during the march and ceremony, it mostly felt like someone just slapped my back with a hammer.
So, how does yoga help with relieving those pain? As you stretch those lower back muscles, they become less tense and overtime, will decrease the pain experienced and also realign that back because yoga pays its attention on the back posture.
Here, I’ll present to you 5 yoga poses that you can do at home everyday to make your back happy:
1. Child’s Pose
Always come into child’s pose first. Kneel and move your butt towards your heels and stretch the front by stretching your arms long along the mat. Stay in position, inhale and exhale slowly as you prepare your body for the other poses.
2. Cat-Cow Pose
Kneel with the hands below the shoulders and the knees below the hips. Inhaling, lift the head and tailbone, making the lower back concave. Slowly exhale and tuck the tailbone, rounding the back and releasing the neck.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
From your cow pose, move to an upside down V. Ensuring that weight is equally distributed on your hands and feet. Also ensure that your fingers are widely spread to give better upper body support. This classic pose give a great much-needed total body stretch that targets back extensors, or the large muscles that help form your lower back, support your spine, and help you stand and lift objects.
4. Upward-Facing Dog / Cobra Pose
This pose works to open up your chest, stretches your abdominal muscles, and engages your back. While lying flat on the mat, place your palms by the side of your ribs and feet together facing the floor. As you exhale, use the strength of your back muscles to lift your chest up, not your arms. Ensure your feet are still straightened out and together. Hold for about 5 breathes and go back down.
5. Triangle Pose
This pose is great for strengthening the back and legs, and can also help lengthen your muscles along the sides of your torso while stretching the muscle fibers along your outer hip. Open your legs slightly wider than your shoulders and ensure that the outer side of your feet is parallel to the mat. Turn your chest to the side and open up the pose by stretching your right arm toward the ground and the left arm toward the sky, keeping both your right and left legs straight. You may not be able to touch the ground with your right arm at first, so don’t over-stretch — only bend as far as you can while maintaining a straight back.
That’s all we have for this mini article about yoga! Stay tuned as we share more health bits each day!