How to Ease Back and Hip Pain
How do we ease back and hip pain with yoga? In my business as a yoga teacher and pain management coach, the biggest complaints I get are 1) lower back pain, 2) hip pain, and 3) hamstrings. It is no coincidence that all three are connected together and if one muscle group is sore, they may all be.
The mechanics of yoga poses work from the ground up. When doing a forward fold, we feel the hamstrings first. If the hamstrings are very tight, we may not be able to feel the stretch in the hips or the back. Therefore, it is important to learn how to stretch all three areas for maximum pain relief.
Top 10 Yoga Poses to Ease Back and Hip Pain
- Legs up the wall- This highly restorative pose is deeply relaxing and stress releasing. It allow the back to relax because the pelvis is tilted upward, taking pressure off the sacrum. With the back relaxed, the body can focus all the energy on the hamstrings so the backs of the legs softly open.
2. Supine Twist- Laying on the floor in yoga poses is a sure way to relax the back. We do not have to worry about balance and we can fully rotate the spine, from the neck to the base of the sacrum. This pose will target the upper back as it stretches the shoulders, twists the mid and low back, and stretches the outer hips. I especially love the pose with a bolster for greater hip relief.
3. Supta Baddha Konasana- This pose tilts the pelvis downward, allowing our back to follow the natural curve of the spine. The hips open at the internal rotators and this pose also benefits the knees as well.
4. Legs into the Chest- This pose called Apanasana in Sanskrit, presses the curve of the spine into the floor to release back pain. Curling into a ball can feel wonderful on the hips and sacrum as well.
5. Happy Baby- This pose is so natural, even a baby can do it. It tilts the pelvis upward to release low back and sacrum strain. By opening the legs, we can gently press into the internal rotators of the hips for hip pain relief.
6. Upavista Konasana- Finally a pose to ease back and hip pain that is not laying on the ground! With this pose, we sit on the ground and spread the legs wide. Like happy baby, this motion with stretch the internal rotators of the hips. It will lengthen the hamstrings if we work to keep the knees straight, and it will ease pressure on the sacrum. Forward folds over our middle also stimulate digestion.
7. Fire Log- This pose will stretch the outer rotators of the hips and glutes as you layer one leg on top of the other. Ankles and knees should align as you fold forward over the legs. If this is too intense, sit in simple crisscross and build up your hip flexibility as you practice. Make sure to practice both legs!
8. Pigeon pose- This pose focuses on opening your hips, which supports mobility and flexibility in that joint. Pigeon Pose also stretches your hip flexors and lower back, which are commonly tight due to prolonged sitting. Stretching these muscles regularly will ease back and hip pain.
9. Anjanyasana- The low lunge of anjanyasana deeply strengthens the hips as well as stretches the psoas, the front of the hip. This can ease in digestion and stretching of the abdomen. It is also beneficial for the chest and shoulders. As we reach up, the slight back bend will strengthen the back.
10. Child’s Pose- This pose stretches the entire spine for back relief, opens the hips at the sacrum, stretches the outer hip, and also as a side benefits, stretches the ankles. Child’s pose can calm the mind and reduce anxiety and fatigue. We can stretch the body deeper when we are relaxed in body and mind.
Practice more yoga to ease the three big aches, Back, Hips, and Hamstrings. Check out the Big 3!
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Quick Hip Fix
Focus on Twists
Ease the Back
Beginning Yoga: Focus on Forward Bends
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