Healing Back Pain-Yoga

Easy does it when healing back pain.

Back injuries and back pain can become a daunting task for recovery. Our spinal column is used in every movement of the body. The center of our core fitness is the back, especially the lower back.  This is why lower back pain is the leading cause of disability and why yoga is a good choice for recovery.

Back pain affects everything we do. Caring for the back requires a good attitude and a little understanding about the philosophy of healing.  With it, the recovery process will achieve maximum potential for healing and reducing back pain.

Common Back injuries and rehabilitation

My Personal experience with back pain and injury.

The strength of my teaching comes from my experience in healing injuries more than ability to perform advanced poses. Back injury is something I an very familiar with.

Early 2012  a mishap of coordination at a trampoline facility left me seriously injured. I was out of sync with the bounce and found myself with the force of my body weight on my spine without support.  Back rehabilitation is my career. Twenty years of practicing sports medicine myotherapy clearly defined the experience as not good.

I didn’t know how bad it actually was (it felt like a pulled muscle), so after a little stretching, I kept bouncing. Later that day I knew the injury was serious and was going to need long-term recovery.  Not the best scenario for someone about to leave for a year of travel.

Even more emotionally compelling for me is that my back-bends were strong and I was excited to begin practicing more advanced bends in my practice.

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Back bend in Thailand one year earlier
Strong flexible spine yoga
Bridge back-bend Thailand one year earlier

I left for Asia and began the process of healing.

Waking up with severe back pain for months was the norm. I didn’t say much about it to my love and kept a positive mind that pain is just part of the process of healing.  The recovery took over a year before I could even think about a back bend, and another six months before I could actually do one, a little one.

Taking it easy with back injuries. First few months of rest and easy movement.

Even today I can get sore and stiff in the area but within two years I was back to my yoga practice 80% and the best part…no surgery or drugs!

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Practicing yoga with back injury. Six months later. Keeping stress off the spine. Advanced practice

Most people get scared and wont attempt to heal themselves.

Injuring yourself can be scary, and if you don’t have a good understanding of how the body works, running to the doctor seems to be the only option. Most people wont attempt natural healing, this in part is due to the limited thinking of our western medical model of rehabilitation. The model hasn’t proven itself to be advocates of natural healing.

Yes, science believes a wound can heal, and  say the liver can heal, but unless it can be quantified, it doesn’t exist.  So other methods of treatment are recommended. It’s not wrong and it’s not right. Its simply the model of western thinking. Healing occurs naturally. We don’t have to think about, but we have to believe.

In this modern-day, we’ve discovered profound numbers of people who heal themselves in all areas of their body.  From heart malfunctions to bone structure, natural healing methods understood in many cultures around the planet such as Chilel Chi Gong, acupuncture and mind control are being used more and more. Yoga has been used as prevention and injury repair for thousands of years. In yoga we learn to be mindful and affirmative with our healing process.

Most people with sever back injury end up with surgery or long-term disability because the pain keeps them from doing what needs to be done, exercise. The problem then become worse and leads to other disabilities.

Since the back is the center of all movement, when the center of movement is in pain, all movement is compromised. Exercise is difficult if not impossible, especially the abdominal muscles, where it’s needed the most.

Here is a good process for strengthening the back,  with, or without surgery.

1. Rest.

After an injury, the body needs time to assess itself and get to work on the issue. Our body has a natural healing process and the initial resting phase is important for a good recovery. Rest may be lying flat for week or a few days. Either way your body will let you know what it can or cannot do. The determining factor is pain. Sharp pain is the no-can-do message. Discomfort and pain are normal but sharp pain is a clear signal to take it easy.

2. Diet.

Your body needs help. Certain nutrients help heal. Other eating behaviors hinder the process. There are some common healing herbs listen in my Health Insights page. Essentially, you need to offer all your energy to healing. Eating heavy, hard to digest meals, steals energy from the healing process. Alcohol, (although usually desired when in pain) can hinder healing as smoking, fried foods and sugar.

In natural healing we say “The prevention is the cure.” In other words,  the protocol to prevent disease is the same to heal disease. Fasting, juicing, vegan diet,  should all be considered for decreasing stress while increasing energy to heal.  However…

The determining factor in your fate is…

Attitude and belief.

When you’re waking up in pain everyday it’s hard to believe that pain is okay and things are getting better. The process of healing can be long, so get through it with this simple yet profound phrase:

” Whatever I am going through at this moment is part of the process for my healing and regeneration.”

It’s a good idea to believe in the natural and profound ability to heal. Visualize and feel yourself as whole and strong. With the power of vision, you create. Think of your most beautiful self. Affirm to yourself the fun things you enjoy. Find ways to be grateful.  Find ways to enjoy your human experience and drive from that power.

Here is a powerful audio meditation I created for my healing. Find time to relax and absorb the words in this Healing Affirmations Audio Meditation.

4. Ease into movement.

You must strengthen those abdominal muscles.

The ultimate strong core is being able to perform leg-lifts and navasana or boat pose fairly easily.  However, with an injured back, this is impossible because the spine must be firm and stable.

Leg-lifts for strong core and spine
Leg lifts for core strength and reduction of back pain

yoga posture strong core

In order to begin to support the spine we have to strengthen the abs, but abdominal strengthening exercise can be painful for the back. It’s a catch 22! Overall, you have to guide yourself and your body into what it is you want to do. If we limit our movements due to pain, then we limit our healing. We want to be easy, but we don’t want pain to control us. We must learn to work through it.

Healing Potential is unlimited

 

How to Exercise the Core when Injured

The action of the abdominal and back muscles is to keep the spine erect but also assist in movement, front, back and side to side.

A strong core is key to pain-free movement
How our spine moves

Depending on where and how severe the pain will determine your position for exercise. If you cannot make it to the floor, then you may have to start in a chair or in bed.

Recover from BACK PAIN
Simple movement to introduce core strength

Simply holding yourself upright and firming your abdominal muscles or bringing a knee to the chest is a good start. As you progress, you will be able to begin basic movements.

The key in all of this is to know what your spine is capable of and working to get as much potential out of your recovery without further injury.

Once you’re able to get to the floor, basic movement of core compression can be introduced. It can begin with basic knee bends and progress to knees-to-chest and eventually gentle leg-lifts and hip-lifts.

Yoga for reduction of back pain
Knees to chest can help alleviate back pain
Basic stabalizing exercise for low back pain
Basic exercise to begin core strength

Do enough exercise to program your recovery without stress. In other words, communicate with your spine and assist it through recovery but be gentle and don’t force it.  Allow your healing to happen naturally. Many times this means recovering from emotional issues as well.

As we know, the prevention is the cure. This goes for exercising as well. Here is a good list of back exercises. Once your strength improves and pain decreases you will find more and more ability.

Take it easy, but keep going. You are in control of your healing.

 

 

Yoga for spine strength and flexibility
Strong spine Maui 2016
Hip opening and good balance
Two years after injury Xcalak Mexico Caribbean

~YogaDoug

 

Yoga improves balance and coordination
Maui 2015 Baby Beach North Shore

 

 

 

One thought on “Healing Back Pain-Yoga”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.