NHS explain the best ways to treat back pain
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Back pain impacts one in six people in England, but only about 20 percent of these people will consult their GP. The pain is so disabling that it can stop people from living their lives how they want to, and back pain accounts for 40 percent of sickness absence in the NHS alone, costing the UK economy £10 billion a year. Staying active is one of the most important things you can do to treat back pain, and this can include simple back exercises and stretches. Express.co.uk chatted to yoga teacher and owner of FLEX Chelsea, Chatty Dobson, to find out the best five yoga poses to instantly relieve your back pain.
Bed rest was prescribed to those with back pain for many years, but now it is known that a better option is to keep active through exercise and stretching,
You don’t need to join a gym or spend hundreds on a personal trainer, there are plenty of moves you can try at home that should ease the pain.
Research shows time and time again that yoga is an effective treatment for chronic back pain, so why not give it a go?
Express.co.uk spoke to yoga teacher Chatty Dobson to find out the best yoga poses for back pain.
The cat-cow pose is the perfect spot to get your spine moving and ward off back pain.
Bring yourself to all fours, with your hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips.
Chatty explained: “As you breathe in, lift your head, dip the belly, so your spine looks like the letter U.
“As you breathe out, lower your head and take your spine high to the sky (forming a lowercase letter N).
“As you get more used to it, see if you can ripple your spine into shape one vertebrae at a time, and make each shape more pronounced.”
Child’s pose is not only a really relaxing position to get into when you feel anxious or stressed, but it is also a great pose for relieving back pain.
To start, kneel down on the floor and rest your chest over your thighs.
Chatty said: “Arms can be outstretched in front of you or if your shoulders are tight, bring them alongside the legs.
“Your spin will slowly stretch as you breathe in, and relax as you breathe out.
“If your hips and legs are very tight and you find it too uncomfortable to lie in child’s pose, put a cushion or lots of cushions between your legs to raise your hips.”
When we forward fold we stimulate blood flow to our head and stretch out our lower backs.
You can do this in a basic forward fold or a headstand, depending on your yoga practice, but both are just as effective.
This pose is also brilliant for beating the negative mental side effects associated with back pain.
Chatty explained: “Being inverted detoxifies our adrenals, which has been found to decrease depression.”
So how do you do it? Well, stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees deeply.
The yoga teacher instructed: “Fold forward at the pelvis, then catch opposite elbows and sway yourself backwards and forwards and side to side.
“Don’t be tempted to try and straighten your legs as it’ll cause pain in the lower back and hamstrings and completely defeat the point of this pose making you feel better!
“Focus your attention on your breathing (something as simple as feeling how far up the nostrils you can feel cool air swoop in, and the difference in temperature of your exhale down the nostrils can be a great distraction).”
To complete the back-pain-busting supine twist, lay on the floor and bring both knees to your chest.
Chatty said: “With arms stretched out to the side, gently drop your knees to the left.
“If your right shoulder lifts off the ground you can put some books or cushions under your knees.
“Hold this pose for 10 breaths then repeat on the right side exactly the same.”
The yoga expert warned: “The closer your knees are to your chest the higher up your spine you’ll be twisting, so if it’s your lower back that’s the problem, take the knees further away.”
Don’t just focus on the back, opening up your chest can help to prevent upper back and shoulder pain.
Chatty explained: “As you sit – in a chair, on the floor, wherever you are – catch hold of opposite elbows behind your back (if you can’t, catch your forearms).
“When you have them, draw the forearms down towards the ground to open up the front of the chest and shoulders.
“Hold this for 10 breaths to get the benefits.”
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