When it comes to back pain, there’s no magic pill that can erase our pain and strengthen our spines. We’re told that exercise is often the best course of treatment, but swimming laps or lifting weights isn’t always fun, and that can make it hard to regularly partake in these activities. But what if there were activities that could strengthen and protect your back without feeling like a traditional workout? That’s where activities like yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates come in.
All three of these activities focus on specific movement patterns that are designed to help provide benefits for both your body and mind. In fact, we often recommend these activities to patients with mild to moderate back pain or for patients who are looking to ward off certain spinal conditions. But how exactly can yoga and similar activities help your spine? We explain in today’s blog.
Spine Benefits Of Yoga
Here’s a look at some of the ways in which yoga and other controlled-movement exercises can help prevent or treat certain spinal issues.
1. Spinal Strengthening – Yoga will test certain muscle groups in the spine, and as you hold these positions, you’re strengthening key muscles. Many yoga poses end up strengthening spinal muscles and core abdominal muscles, which provide support and stability to your spine.
2. Tension Release – Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates all incorporate stretching and muscle relaxation, which helps to reduce tension in areas that handle a lot of physical stress. The rhythm of flexing certain muscle groups and relaxing others helps to relax muscle tension that could be contributing to your back pain or spinal muscle spasms.
3. Posture and Balance – Controlled exercise routines can also help to give us a better sense of our posture throughout the day and allow us to make improvements to avoid overstressing certain areas of your back. It can also help to improve your balance, which can help prevent falls and injuries in older individuals who are more susceptible to balance issues.
4. Spatial Awareness – Yoga helps the individual understand their body movements in space and which actions can put undue stress on your spine. Many people find that they are more aware of their body in space after participating in yoga or Tai Chi, and this can help you avoid movements that could be painful.
5. Stress Release and Mental Benefits – Studies have shown that stress and anxiety can actually manifest into physical ailments like back pain, or they can affect your desire to be active, which hurts your back in other ways. These mindfulness-based activities can help you release stress and improve your mental health, which helps your physical body.
So if you are looking for a new way to protect and strengthen your spine, consider adding yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates to your regular exercise routine! Dr. Chang and his staff would be more than happy to talk with you about what options may be best given your specific situation. Contact our office today.