Which type of yoga is best for lower back issues?

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
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isabel
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:19 pm

Which type of yoga is best for lower back issues?

Post by isabel »

Hi Bernie,

I have two students who have had back injuries from a long time ago (5-10 years). They both need to take it easy in stronger hip openers like dragon and swan (I normally get them to do these on their back) otherwise they experience tingling without the modification. I think they both have tightness in there lower back, glute and leg area.

One of them asked me which style of yoga might be best for this issue in the lower back other day and I was unsure.

I think any type of yoga would help, what do you think? :?

Thank you!
Issie
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Issie

Before you or I can answer your students' questions we have to know their intentions. They are asking "what type of yoga is best" to which I would answer with another question "best to do what?" Are they seeking greater mobility in their spine, or better stability? Are they trying to get out of pain, or simply to avoid future pain? Are they functional in daily life, and in any sports they like to do, or at work? And, finally, what does their doctor/PT recommend?

Tightness in the lower back can have many causes and may even be protective and thus not something to be gotten rid of, at least not until the underly reason for it has been dealt with. My own personal philosophy regarding the spine is to first develop stability and then work on mobility. Stability usually involves strong core muscles (not just stomach muscles!) and yang forms of exercises are great for this. Once stability is achieved, then maybe some Yin Yoga will help improve flexibility. Mobility is more than just flexibility, however, and includes coordination and proprioception. Endurance is another factor to consider, which includes the endurance of their back muscles, but also overall endurance (the heart etc.) This comes from other yang forms of exercises. But, what are they really seeking?

Once we know their intentions we can begin to narrow in on what type of yoga or exercises will help them achieve those goals.

Cheers
Bernie
isabel
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:19 pm

Thank you!

Post by isabel »

Thank you Bernie!

That's a great help and something I will definitely consider more when teaching will general injuries.

I really appreciate your time.

Thanks,
Issie :D
DonaldMDy
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:43 pm
Location: Philippines

Post by DonaldMDy »

Bernie is right, I think it depends on the person and what they wish to solve in terms of their back issues. Just listen to your body is what I say.

Did a quick google search for yoga for back pain, here's one post that might be helpful: http://ergonomictrends.com/beginner-yog ... then-back/
Being down is another excuse to stand up
GalebG4M
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:04 am

Post by GalebG4M »

I wanted to know, are these types of yoga appropriate for someone with a spinal disc herniation? It's really limitating in terms of what one can do with it, so I wanted to make sure my wife wouldn't hurt herself when doing this.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Galeb

Yin Yoga may be okay for your wife, but there is no way to know before hand. A herniated disc may respond well to Yin Yoga but it may be exactly the wrong thing for it. It depends upon what her condition is, what type of herniation and its location. Flexion may be okay but not twists, or vice versa. I would ask her doctor for advice first. Maybe back bends are best?

This article Yin Yoga for Low Back Pain may help you find the answers you seek.

Cheers
Bernie
ann-britt@sternfeldt.se
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:01 am

Disc compresson

Post by ann-britt@sternfeldt.se »

I read the different posts here and as Bernie stressed, it all depends what kind of LBP it is. And what I have understood if you got a bulging disc, flexions like forward bend, is not to recommend. The advice would be to work to strengthen the back and to do extensions - backbands. I hope I got it right... as I got a friend with disc compressions (not sure if the advice would be the same as for bulging discs) and he wants to start doing something to get bettter and I would like to give him some advice. The doctor didn't have very much to say, just told him that he will live with this his whole life and that he just need to exercise.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Again, whether backbends will help your friend depends upon the type of disc compression. It may make it worse or it may make it better. If his doctor won't tell him, he should either find a different doctor or experiment, very gently at first. I don't like the doctor's negative forecast, however, as that could create a nocebo.
ann-britt@sternfeldt.se
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:01 am

Disc compresson

Post by ann-britt@sternfeldt.se »

Thanks, I will ask my friend to check better with the doctor, or get another one to start with.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

I highly recommend Stuart McGill's book A Gift of Injury! I am sure your friend will get a lot of inspiration and knowledge from it that may help him too.
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