As a child I had a poster in my room of a shepherd and sheep in an early morning field, with the text “It is not the great heroic acts that demand most of our courage, but the small tasks we have to perform every day”. Looking at the man in the freezing morning field, I saw the point. Thinking back at your New Year’s resolutions, you may agree that the daily disciplines, however promising the results, require most effort. The more regularly we stick to them, of course, the easier and more rewarding they become. It is probably most manageable to stick to one particular discipline for a few weeks, until it becomes a habit. For all of you with back pain, each of the next few blogs will give you a short yoga sequence to focus on for a couple of weeks. Today, we start with a morning routine for a healthier back.
I can’t really claim that my children are devoted yogis, but they have inevitably had to put up with yoga as a solution for all sorts of challenges, such as exam stress (“breathe!”), performance anxiety (“breathe! Connect with the feeling of your feet on the floor”), core strengthening (“this is a better way to do it”), and back pain… unfortunately also back pain. Over the years I have warned my children about the consequences of slouching until I myself slumped down in desperation. For young people the consequences of bad posture are not immediate, and all their friends slouch or practically lie at their desk… Unfortunately, at some point the chronically rounded spine has had enough, and the consequences are bound to be painful and limiting. My son had some back pain over Christmas, and so at the end of the holiday he begrudgingly took a yoga mat with some instructions. Below I explain the yoga poses my son took back to uni, as they are not only useful for students but for anyone who has to sit for many hours.
Quite exhausted from the autumn term, you have now arrived in the festive season, with rest and good times in store, but possibly also hours of cooking, entertaining, tidying and decorating the house, long car journeys, etc. We all take the required sitting, bending, twisting and lifting movements for granted … until our back starts to hurt. To prevent your back pain from getting worse over the holiday season, this back pain survival guide is a reminder of how to keep your back safe. The last thing you want is a relapse into an acute back-pain episode you so slowly recovered from. This blog aims to show you the safer ways of moving while doing daily tasks. My guess is that you know all this already, but the difficulty is to actually change the familiar ways of doing things and embrace better back-health habits.
Back pain is not just one symptom that can be cured by one particular remedy. It is a generic term for different kinds of pain in the upper, middle or lower back, which can have a variety of causes, and require radically different approaches to heal. For example, the dull ache in the lowest part of the back caused by sacroiliac joint derangement, demands a different yoga therapy intervention than the sharp, electrical pain shooting down the leg caused by a nerve impingement. Nevertheless, there are a few yoga poses that can benefit most causes of back pain. If you have back pain and you would like to try yoga therapy, practise the mini session below and let me know how you get on…