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4 Simple Yoga Poses that Ease Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain can bring even the healthiest lifestyle to a screeching, excruciating halt. It doesn’t matter whether you spend an extremely long portion of each day sitting or constantly on the move. Without a sound balance between activity and rest, either extreme especially taxes the ultra-sensitive lumbar region and can cost your lower back dearly in the long run. That is exactly why so many veteran yoga practitioners swear by these four poses as essential fortifiers of the body’s most vulnerable, vital support structure at any age.

Yoga Pose - 4 Simple Yoga Poses that Ease Chronic Back Pain

Cat and Cow

You won’t attend many yoga classes without encountering this basic, but beneficial pair of poses, and with good reason. Few movements elongate the entire spine and loosen up the hips quite as effectively. Starting on your hands and knees, lift your chest and tailbone upward while inhaling. As you exhale, arch your back and press through the shoulder blades as you drop your head. Continue cycling through these positions in rhythm with your breath. After a half-dozen slow cycles, the muscles throughout your back should feel noticeably more loose and pliable.

Downward Facing Dog

This pose doesn’t just decompress and lengthen every inch of the spine. It also relieves and prevents lower back problems by thoroughly stretching the hamstrings. Begin on your hands and knees. Your toes should be tucked under with a straight, long back and tailbone lifted toward the ceiling as you straighten your legs slowly and bring your heels closer toward the ground by stretching one leg at a time. Meanwhile, rotate your upper arms outward to draw your shoulder blades toward your spine and try to actively lower them. Hold this pose for five breaths.


Any time spent in sphinx alleviates the flattening pressure prolonged sitting inflicts on the lower back and restores the natural sacral-lumbar arch. Lay flat on your stomach with feet hip-width apart. Keep the pose simple by shifting the elbows toward the shoulders, but shifting them slightly forward modifies the pose effectively if you feel excess pressure on your lower back. For a deeper, more challenging bend, rest your elbows atop a block. After holding the pose for 1 to 3 minutes, exit by lowering your upper body to the floor, relaxing as long as necessary and moving to child’s pose for a few soothing breaths.

Supine Twist

Lumbar TLC doesn’t get much simpler. When you twist the spine carefully, you open a pressure-release valve from the bottom of your back up to your neck. Best of all, gravity does all the work. You get to lay down and chill. With your back flat on the floor and your arms outstretched in a “T” shape, raise your knees toward your chest. Begin twisting by lowering your knees gently to the left. Depending on which feels better, either maintain a neutral neck or turn your gaze over your right shoulder while trying to keep both shoulders flat on the floor. Place a block or bolster between your knees if the top one lifts too much. Savor this pose for up to 4 minutes and repeat on the opposite side.

Yes, all of these poses provide fantastic low-impact relief. However, do not take back pain lightly. Always consult your doctor and/or chiropractor before taking on a yoga regimen or any other consistent exercise program. Your discomfort may hint at a more significant condition better addressed by surgery, physical therapy or other extensive measures. When it comes to your neck and spine, you are always better off being safe than sorry.


Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends yoga classes for those that need help with chronic back pain. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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