Eighty percent of injuries treated by massage therapists, chiropractors and physio-therapists are back-related. The back is an important part of the core. It integrates muscles that stabilize the body throughout any movement, recovery of balance and posture. It is also a group of muscles that can force us into immobility when an injury occurs. A healthy back can mean the difference between a sedentary existence and a healthy, active lifestyle. We can still function with a broken arm supported in a sling or even with a fractured leg buttressed with a pair of crutches, but when the back is injured, we are rendered practically helpless. In spite of this, it is the muscle group we care for the least.
Some back injuries are caused by tension. Many of us clench our stress and compress it inside the upper back, neck and shoulders. Prolonged tightness and lack of stretching can manifest itself in deep tissue knots that become aggravated due to poor posture, scoliosis and muscle weakness. Excess flexibility, arching the lower back, hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the added weight of the baby can put pressure on the spine, pull the back muscles out of alignment and cause pain.
|We are completely dependent upon a healthy back to get us through the day.
The back is used more often in daily movements that most other muscle groups and is least likely to be the focus of an exercise routine.
Masking discomfort with medication does not solve the problem; in fact, numbing the pain is like putting a blindfold over the brain. Pain messages inform the brain when to cease movements the body is not ready to complete and protect the body from further injury. Complete bed rest often causes more harm than good because other healthy muscles begin to atrophy, lose tone and strength. They become less capable of taking on the extra weight the injured part of the body is not carrying. This cycle of rest and inactivity could result in a secondary injury.
Chronic pain and discomfort in your back should be respected. With any fitness-related program or exercise, your body is your most reliable guide. If your back feels tight, start your healing program slowly and keep an inward focus on any changes. Respond to all changes in your muscles and adjust your routine accordingly, decreasing the intensity if you feel tension and increasing the intensity if you feel you have mastered the pose. Yoga extends its focus to include the proper breathing. This assists the benefits of exercise by bringing extra oxygen to the body where it is needed allowing the muscles to alternatively contract and expand with each breath.
It is important to get professional advice for your back injury from a therapist. Not all exercises are appropriate for any back problem. Once you know what your back issue is and what the target areas for strengthening it are, you will be able to work with your yoga instructor to find the poses that will give you the most relief. Using props that are designed to boost the body in certain places or compensate for an injured muscle are available to use in your healing process. Gentle stretching keeps the joints lubricated and limber which also serves to prevent injuries and helps to recover lost balance.
Yoga postures strengthen individual muscles and align the spine for better posture in a safe and gentle way. Yogic exercise helps to alleviate back pain by improving circulation, delivering nutrients to the muscle fibers and removing toxins. Avoiding intense twists and impact while convalescing or beginning a yoga routine is a word to the wise especially if you have been inactive for an extended period of time.
Preventative measures are highly effective as a method of avoiding back pain. Yoga, stretching and strengthening exercises, massage and relaxation therapy heal without the use of drugs. Following yoga with a hot, relaxing bath scented with essential oils will reduce muscle tension. While finding a way of dealing with stress in a healthy manner is beneficial to your overall well-being, it does not replace the value of checking with your health care professional to make sure it is safe for you to begin a therapeutic healing program.
If you have not experienced an injury, Yoga will strengthen your back reducing the outcome that an injury will occur. Yoga movements prepare the back for exercise, apply exercises that strengthen it and care for it with stretches after working it.