The causes of lower back pain are varied and complex. Physiotherapy texts state that in most cases it is impossible to pinpoint the exact body tissue that causes the pain and because humans have an upright posture, it is virtually guaranteed that everyone will have an episode of lower back pain in their lives. Most treatment of lower back pain is focused on relieving symptoms.
Even hi-tech imagery is not a reliable indicator of the cause of pain- people are more complex than their X-rays or MRI-scans: some have excruciating pain, and are structurally normal while others have obvious defects and feel fine. This is no comfort to those who are physically active and fit and have no injury to their spines and yet suffer from chronic lower back pain.
The lower back is inseparable from the hips and legs and it is the complex interplay between them that we need to pay attention to: the hip area is the body’s centre of gravity and imbalances in this area affect all parts of the body.
A thorough professional assessment and treatment is always necessary in cases of lower back pain, but there are ways in which Yoga practice causes or contributes to these problems: I am going to break these up into separate posts to keep them shorter. These are:
- Overall posture or Pelvic Tilt
- The Lumbar Spine
- The Legs
- The Hips
- The Sacroiliac joint
- The Pelvic Floor
Lower back pain is a very complex problem and can be very difficult to resolve. When you begin to suffer from lower back pain, Yoga can help, or make pain worse – and sometimes – is the primary cause of pain, due to the muscle imbalances that an unsuitable practice creates.
Which yoga practice is suitable for a person depends entirely on their activities. Some Yogis play sports, whereas others only practise yoga and each of us responds differently to various elements of a yoga practice, according to our individual strengths and weaknesses.
Those who begin to suffer lower back pain from their practice need to have their bodies assessed and treated, and find the correct balance within themselves, bearing in mind that the muscular system is dynamic and constantly changing.
Setting your practice in stone will ensure that your body becomes just as rigid and painful, because there is no one yoga style or practice that works the same for everyone. Applying an open, listening mind to the body is a crucial aspect of yoga, one that extends beyond the purely physical.
Kendall, McCreary, Provance, 1993, Muscles, Testing and Function