Yoga for Your Work Related Back Pain
With driving to work and sitting in the office all day, a person can go through long periods of inactivity during the week. The same applies to a job that requires someone to be on their feet all day. Both lead to back pain and other ailments that can have serious health consequences.
Back pain from an inactive workweek can be even worse for people who suffer from a herniated disk. The condition is caused by a damaged intervertebral disk that leaks the gel-like material it contains. A herniated disk can happen at any part of the spine, and it often leads to pain that goes from light to an intense stabbing sensation. Thankfully, there are several yoga poses that can reduce the pain from a herniated disk and reverse the damaging effects of an inactive day.
Poses for Desk Jobs
Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to an early death. The reason being sitting puts people at risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. While those ailments may take a long time to manifest, the short-term problems from sitting include serious back pain. The Cat and Cow, Locust and Upward Bow are all yoga poses that help reduce the effects of a long day at the desk.
Cat and Cow Poses
The Cat and Cow are two different poses that work as a compliment to each other. This series of yoga poses start on a yoga mat on the hands and knees. Start by taking a deep inhale, and go into the cow pose by bending the spine slightly downward so the stomach is heading to the floor. Both the hips and chest should be heading upward toward the ceiling with eyes looking straight ahead. On the exhale, transition into the cat pose. This involves bending the spine upward toward the ceiling. The head should be facing downward, with the eyes at the floor.
The Locust pose also starts on the yoga mat with the arms on either side of the body. Begin the pose by taking a deep breath and lifting the arms and legs straight off the mat. Reach the arms backwards and leave the stomach and pelvis to absorb the weight of the body. Hold this pose for several seconds before relaxing back onto the mat. Repeat this routine for 4-5 times.
Upward Bow Pose
Upward Bow is a pose that focuses on strengthening the back more than stretching. This pose can be more difficult for yoga beginners, so it is ok if it takes a few tries before perfection. Start the pose by lying flat on the back on a yoga mat. Bend the knees and reach the arms overhead so they are bent at the elbow. Both hands should be on either side of the head. During an inhale of breath, lift the hips off the floor. The hips should be heading toward the ceiling, while the thigh and ab muscles support the lower back. Straighten the arms and make sure the head is completely off the floor. Keep the pose for a few seconds before slowly returning to the ground.
Poses for Standing All Day
Not to be to scaremongering, but standing all day can be just as bad as sitting. Studies show that standing all day leads to blood ending up all in the legs, pressure in the veins and chronic back pain. Yoga poses that help in this case include the Child’s Pose, Bridge and Tree.
The Child’s Pose works by relaxing back muscles and elongating the spine. This pose starts on the yoga mat in the sitting position. Sit on top of the heels with the knees wide apart. Inhale deeply and lean forward on the exhale. The chest should be either on top of the knees or on the floor with the head touching the mat. Outstretch the arms forward with the palms facing downward. Hold this pose and release all of the day’s stress.
Use the Bridge Pose as a way to stretch the back and neck. The pose begins by lying on the floor with the knees bent and the feet flat on the mat. On an exhale of breath, lift the hips off the floor with the feet and hands still on the mat. Those looking for extra support can add a folded towel underneath the neck. Take a few deep breaths before relaxing.
The Tree Pose is popular for its ability to relieve pain while helping with balance. Start the pose by standing with the feet close together. Find the body’s center of balance, and then shift the weight onto one foot. Bend the knee on the other leg and bring the foot up from the ground. Grab the ankle of the lifted foot and place the arch of the foot on the inner thigh of the planted foot. The hands can be either held in front with the palms touching or reaching toward the sky. Repeat the move with the other leg.
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