While essential workers continue to toil away, most of us are lucky enough to work from home. A year ago, this would have seemed like a sweet dream. However, we’re now learning that it isn’t so great for your back. Lower back pain was already a fairly common complaint among office workers who spend hours seated, but it seems to be even worse now that we’re all working from home. Unfortunately, remote work is here to stay and it’s going to be a while before most of us can get back to the office. Until then, it makes sense to look for holistic solutions to cope with the problem. No surprise, but Ayurveda offers us a wealth of information on the subject, recommending a variety of yoga asanas for back pain.
Although being seated for hours at office desks has taken a toll on our backs, most office chairs and desks are ergonomically designed to reduce discomfort and the risk of back pain. This is obviously not the case in most of our homes and we often work in far from ideal conditions. Some of us work while reclining in couches or while sprawled out in bed itself. This means that most of the day is spent without proper back support and with poor posture.
In addition to postural problems, the pandemic and WFH has also put a dent in our fitness routines. Most of us have become increasingly sedentary, spending our days slouched in front of laptops working, only to switch to Netflix later in the day. Pre-pandemic, even those of us who didn’t exercise got some form of activity through our commute or when moving around the office. In addition to the resultant muscle loss, reducing support for the spine, most of us have also gained weight, further increasing pressure on the spine.
The use of yoga for back pain is a common practice in physiotherapy and rehabilitation programs across the world. Although the idea of practicing yoga may seem ludicrous when you are in pain, it is widely regarded as one of the most effective strategies for relieving lower back pain as well as upper back pain. Studies show that the regular practice of yoga poses for back pain can improve mobility, reduce pain, and improve quality of life (1).
The efficacy of yoga for back pain relief can be explained through different mechanisms. Physically, yoga can stretch and strengthen various muscle groups like paraspinal muscles and multifidus muscles that increase back support and reduce stress on the spine. Additionally, yoga is also effective because of its relaxation benefits, with research showing that it improves serotonin levels, reducing depression and anxiety, which can exacerbate back pain (2).
Here are some of the best yoga poses for back pain, including yoga exercises for lower back pain, as well as yoga poses for upper back pain.
Include these yoga exercises for back pain in your daily routine to deal with the problem effectively.