The Importance Of Backbends In Yoga For Lower Back Pain Relief

It might seem obvious that practicing backbends in yoga would help relieve back pain but unfortunately are commonly avoided due to the challenges they can present. If you are practicing yoga for lower back pain relief then your lower back muscles have most likely weakened from inactivity and are allowing stress on your lower lumbar vertebrae. Including backbends in your yoga practice will begin to loosen up your lower back muscles and allow for greater mobility in your spine while strengthening and working out the kinks in the joints of your lower back.

Why Practice Backbends In Yoga?

Backbends in YogaSince most jobs today require us to sit at a desk or hunched over a computer, backbends help restore the spine to its natural flexibility by opening up the chest and bending the spine forwards and backwards. This movement will help restore the lumbar vertebrae to its natural position and start to heal the connective tissue within the joints of the lower back, reliving chronic pains from conditions like sciatica.

Whether you are advanced or a beginner it is important that everything that you are doing when practicing backbends in yoga is done slowly and with intention so you avoid injuring yourself. It is especially important if you are a beginner to start small and not try to jump into more advanced backbends right away. The muscles in your lower back need to become stronger and more flexible in order to be able to support your body weight as your further your practice and are able to move into more advanced postures.

Build Strength Overtime

The more you practice a high-intensity yoga routine like vinyasa yoga the deeper you will find yourself being able to go into your backbends and the stronger your spinal muscles will become. Not only is your back going to feel great after stretching out from being hunched over all the time, the increased flexibility in your lower back and hips will help relieve tension that can cause chronic pain in your lower lumbar vertebrae.

Not until I regularly started practicing hot yoga was I able to fully understand the benefits of including backbends in my practice. The added heat of a hot yoga classroom seems to really allow my body to loosen up and feel the full effects that a backbend like Wheel Pose can have on my lower back. As my lower back muscles begin to get stronger the more I practice I can actually feel my lower back muscles getting stronger and can see the results in being able to do postures that I’ve never been able to do before.

Backbend Wheel Pose

Using backbends in yoga for lower back pain relief, like Wheel Pose, strengthen lower back muscles and releases tension in the shoulders and neck.

Benefits of Backbends In Yoga for Lower Back Pain Relief

Although you might first add a few backbends into your practice to help relieve lower back pain, the benefits of backbends go further than just building a stronger and more flexible lower back. Since you can’t do a backbend without also having to open up your chest and shoulders, backbends also help to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders which is where many people carry a lot of stress. Opening up your chest helps relieve stress caused from tension in your neck and shoulders and loosens the muscles down your spine to your lower back.

When performed on their own, backbends such as Cat-Cow Pose can provide immediate relief from lower back pain and start to strengthen weakened joints and muscles in your lower back. As you get stronger and are able to include backbends into your regular practice, the more you are able to stretch your spine and lumbar vertebrae out the more relief you are going to start to feel in your lower back.

Take It Slow At First

When you first start practicing backbends you might only be able to lean back a tiny bit until you feel pain in your lower back. If you are practicing yoga for lower back pain relief regularly then you will start to see and feel changes in your body overtime. As you twist and stretch yourself into postures that you never thought would be possible you’ll be able to go deeper and deeper into your backbends.

Healing your lower back pain is possible with yoga and backbends are an essential part to making it happen. As long as you are willing to stick with it it doesn’t matter how slow you have to go in the beginning. It’s a matter of consistently showing up to your mat, day after day, that will ultimately help you get the relief that you need.

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  1. Nathan

    I just did a yoga class today for the first time in a couple of years. I feel so much more relaxed now.

    I work in front of a computer for most of the day and I definitely sit hunched a lot of the time. After just one yoga session – including backbends – I feel sooo much better. My lower back in particular feels a lot looser.

    I really couldn’t bend that far back. Certainly nothing like the images in your post – but it was such a relief. I plan to take that class regularly now and hopefully I’ll see more and more back relief and more flexibility.

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Nathan!
      I started doing yoga when I was working a desk job as well and I really saw a difference in the way my body felt after a couple of classes. How far you bend doesn’t really matter as long as you are feeling a good stretch you’ll feel the benefits. I hope you continue to go back to more yoga classes soon!

  2. Rob

    I hurt my back a few years ago in a car accident. I’ve done some physical therapy and yoga in the past in order to alleviate the pain. It certainly helps a lot! I still find that if I get lazy and don’t do it for a month the pain starts to return after long days of sitting. Is yoga something you see yourself doing regularly for the rest of your life?

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Rob!
      I’m always surprised at how fast my body tightens up after not being able to practice for a week or two. Too many weeks of inactivity can easily start to bring back old pains in the body.
      I can definitely see myself doing yoga for the rest of my life. Aside from the physical benefits that yoga gives me, it has also given me a clearer mind and my emotional health is better than ever before as well.
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. emmanuel

    Hi there,

    I have been incorporating back bends when I do yoga. It has really helped me with my back pain and it feels amazing!

    I also do back bends to help me reduce the risk of me getting injured when I exercise. This really helps my back and protects it.

    1. yoga (Post author)

      I love the way backbends help my lower back pain, especially after being hunched over a computer or at a desk at work all day. Keeping your spine flexible is a great way to improve the mobility and range of motion during all the other things you do during the day.
      Thanks for the comment!

  4. laura summers

    I’ve been doing yoga for over 15 years. ABout 2 years ago i started practicing yoga everyday (primarily ashtanga and vinyasa flow). Backbending has been one of the poses that I’ve been focused on and have spent almost everyday moving towards dropping back on my own. I finally accomplished this feat but since then i’ve had horrible lower back pain. I went to a massage therapist that specializes in injuries from yoga. he has suggested that i have been using my glutes too much and because of that, my lower back is experiencing extreme pain. It hurts so much that i am now taking time off to recover:( i love my yoga practice and i’m really upset about how i feel. The therapist gave me excercises to do but i don’t think they are helping. any advices/suggestions would be welcome!!

    1. yoga (Post author)

      I’m sorry to hear about the lower back pain you’ve been experiencing. It’s important to listen to your body and prioritize your health and well-being, even if it means taking a break from your yoga practice.

      It’s possible that you may have been overusing your glutes in backbending poses, which can put excess strain on the lower back. It’s critical to work on balancing the engagement of all the muscles in the body, rather than relying on one muscle group to perform a pose.

      In addition to the exercises your massage therapist suggested, you may want to consider incorporating targeted stretches and strengthening exercises for the muscles in your lower back, hips, and glutes. It may also be helpful to work with a qualified yoga teacher who can provide modifications and adjustments to your practice to help prevent future injuries.

      Recovery and healing take time, I’ve been there many times myself, and it’s important to be patient and gentle with yourself as you work through this. Listen to your body, and when you feel ready to return to your practice, do so gradually and with caution.

  5. Painsense

    Yoga is very much helpful in today’s world.


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