Twenty percent of all those who undergo surgery for lower back pain will get no relief. The remaining 80 percent will have problems ranging from mild to severe. All will have trouble with spinal flexion.
Yoga does not offer cures. It simply promises that if you faithfully practice these asanas every day, there will be no pain and you will build up a strong and supple spine, restructuring posture and body image. Once you have back problems you must remain conscious all through the day of how you stand, sit and lie down. Here are a few guidelines:
- Always sleep on a firm (not necessarily hard) bed, with a flat pillow under your head and a thicker one under your knees. This will help the spine to reposition and adjust itself.
- Do not wear high heels as this promotes lumbar lordosis and throws the spine out of balance.
- Do not go in for break-dancing, strenuous aerobics, jogging, running or anything where you need to bounce or jiggle. Guarded activity is the key here.
- For lower back pain, sitting is the most painful. Sit on a firm seat, not squashy cushions, and sit on your buttock bones. Do not loll back on the tailbone or lower spine. Wedge a rolled towel or small cushion behind your back to keep you upright. Sit as often as possible in The Diamond Posture (Figure 1) in order to benefit the sciatic nerve and to cure a convex or a lateral curvature of the spine.
- When the pain is acute and you can neither sit nor stand in comfort, rest in bed, take whatever anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications your physician prescribes, and wait until the pain is milder before starting on these postures.
All these asanas have healing and curative properties. They will act as a form of mild traction, gently stretching the spinal muscles in safe extension postures. Strength will be gradually built up in the paraspinal muscles and buttocks, abdominal organs will be toned and strengthened, and pressure points all along the spine will be stimulated. Practice each asana to the point where mild pain is felt.