If you’re experiencing minor pain or cricks in your neck and back, you may consider practicing yoga to ease symptoms. Originating in ancient India, Yoga has since spread across the globe and become a common form of exercise and relaxation. Often involving a series of poses, yoga employs a mix of stretching, balance, strength, and breathing techniques.
Practicing yoga promotes many benefits that are supported by science, such as decreasing stress, improved heart health, better sleep quality, and reducing chronic pain. The stretching exercises in yoga have shown to increase spinal flexibility and release tension in the neck and back.
There are many causes of neck pain, ranging from awkward positioning during sleep and poor posture to more serious diseases or conditions that require medical attention. While yoga is a good method for managing pain caused by minor instances, it may also be recommended by your doctor to alleviate pain caused by a more serious condition. If you do (or think you might) have an underlying condition that’s more severe than your common crick, consult a doctor before practicing yoga.
Try These 4 Yoga Poses to Alleviate Back and Neck Pain
1.Ear to Shoulder
Sitting comfortably in a chair or on the floor, straighten your spine and relax your shoulder. Tuck your chin to your chest and roll your left ear toward your left shoulder gently. Place your hand on the right side of your head and apply very light pressure to deepen the stretch. Take a deep breath. Draw your chin back to your chest and roll your right ear to your right shoulder and apply the same stretch as on the left. Repeat these stretches five times on each side, taking your time.
Beginning in a tabletop position, ensure your hands align with your shoulders and your hip are placed directly over your hips. Start with the cow position by inhaling, arching your back, and looking up toward the ceiling. Transition to the cat position by exhaling, tucking your chin to your chest, pulling your tailbone under, and rounding the back and shoulders. Transition between cow and cat post for at least 10 breaths.
3.Thread the Needle
Like Cat/Cow, start in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Take your right hand and slide it on the floor to the left side of your body with your palm facing the ceiling, lowering your body till your right ear touches the ground. As your right hand slides further, press your left hand into the floor for support. Stay in the position for 30 seconds. Find your way back to a tabletop position before repeating the stretch on the opposite side.
One of the most relaxing stretches, child pose is often used as a neutral position in yoga. Start in a kneeling position, sitting back on your heels. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen your spine as your walk your hands further in front of you. Hinge your hips as to fold forward. Resting your forehead on the ground is optional. Rest in the position for a few minutes, focusing on your breath and releasing and tension you may be holding onto.
When to Seek Medical Advice
If your pain worsens or is severe, consult a doctor. Other signs you should see a doctor include pain that’s accompanied by other symptoms like tingling, numbness, or shooting pain down your shoulders and arms.