Does the Downward Dog Help Your Lower Back?

Although it has existed in North America since the 1970s, yoga truly surged in popularity in the past decade, with studios opening everywhere. Nearly 10 percent of the American population has tried at least one form of yoga, and nearly half intend to in the future, mainly for its health benefits. One of the best-known and scientifically proven benefits of yoga is the decrease of lower back pain.

 Does It Really Work?

According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga effectively reduces lower back pain both in the short term and long term. While yoga may not be superior to all other forms of exercise, experts now recommend the ancient form of meditation as part of back pain therapy programs. This is because yoga not only increases flexibility, but also strengthens the muscles around the back while relaxing the body. Many people avoid using parts of their bodies when they are in pain, but prolonged rest and lack of exercise can result in weakened muscles that are unable to support and move the body properly. Wide yoga headbands do wonders too.

 Who Should Try Yoga?

Anyone who suffers from chronic back pain can try yoga, although those with glaucoma and other long-term illnesses should first consult a physician. Studies also show yoga noticeably increases the flexibility of youth, seniors, and office workers who sit for long periods of time. Don’t know where to start? Viniyoga, in particular, is proven to alleviate back pain. Those who are inexperienced should feel free to skip the most difficult positions if needed, to avoid injury.

 Related Benefits

Although this is less commonly mentioned in the media, yoga along with green tea also helps with carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic neck pain. Poses such as the sun salutation and downward dog can even reduce inflammation that may cause other problems, especially in the joints. Although there have been fewer studies, some suggest yoga can help combat certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis of the hands, reports the National Institutes of Health.

Yoga is a popular form of exercise because it easily adapts to all body types and abilities. Those who suffer from back pain, neck pain, or similar issues should consider adding yoga into their self care routines for a healthier, happier life.