Yoga for Back Pain: Types of Yoga

Yoga for Back Pain: Types of Yoga

Yoga is a combination of physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation. It may appeal to people as a way to stay fit and relax, but it also has practical applications for treating chronic back pain and neck pain from a herniated disc, arthritis and other conditions, as shown by several studies.1


Yoga is so popular now, there is a good chance you'll find a class that suits you in your neighborhood. If you are new to yoga, take a look at these different types, and pick one that appeals to you:

    Iyengar yoga. Iyengar yoga stresses proper alignment and precise movements, yet it incorporates modifications that often benefit back and neck pain patients whose mobility may be limited as a result of their symptoms.

    Ashtanga yoga. Emphasizing powerful flowing movements like push-ups and lunges, Ashtanga yoga is appropriately described as "power yoga," and it often appeals to patients who have previously rehabilitated from a back injury.

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    Bikram yoga. Also known as "hot yoga," Bikram yoga is especially popular in cold areas because it takes place in a hot room. The benefit of this type of yoga is that the heat helps increase stretching and flexibility, but you should be careful to stay hydrated and avoid over-stretching muscles that have become looser than normal in the warm environment. Bikram yoga should not be performed by patients with cardiovascular disease.

    Viniyoga. Breathing is the focus of viniyoga, with each movement coordinated with an inhale or exhale. Viniyoga is easily adaptable for each person, making it a good option for many types of back pain and neck pain patients, especially those who are just beginning to practice yoga.

Yoga can be an excellent way to ease into exercise after bouts of neck or back pain. As always, check with your physician before starting any exercise program.

Next week, we'll catch up with yoga instructor, Morgan Webert of Yoga with Morgan to ask her how yoga has helped her students with their back and neck pain.

We'd love to hear how yoga has helped Spine-health readers with their back or neck pain. Contact us with your success stories on Spine-health's Facebook page or on Twitter.

References

  1. Spine. p 1593–1601. 15 August 2012 . Volume 37, issue 18. Accessed 6 Mar 2014.
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