Yoga Stretches, Diet, and Simple Solutions for a Healthy Spine

Are you one of many who suffer from back pain?

It’s estimated that 6 out of 10 people in the world will, at some point suffer from a spine or back ailment. In the United States, spinal surgery is one of the three most common surgeries performed. There are alternative solutions for a healthy spine, treatments and simple home remedies for back pain.

Practicing specific yoga positions regularly can help with good spine health. Yoga, apart from connecting you with your inner being, is also an excellent practice for relieving and preventing back and spinal injury.

Numerous studies have set out to test the benefits of yoga. One such study done by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, conducted at the National Institute of Health that tested individuals with chronic lower back pain. The individuals in this study had less lower back pain and improved mobility after 12 weeks of yoga. Even more impressive is that the same individuals in a follow up experiment twenty-six weeks later, had increased function and they experienced less pain. (ref. 1.)

Below are 3 different poses that can get you started.

A daily routine of these 3 poses will put you on the path toward a healthy spine.

  1. Child’s pose: Start on your knees, with your backside over your heels. Then slowly move your head to the floor until you make contact with it. It’s important to maintain your arms around your body so you can relax even more. This position stretches your spine and relieves all tension from your neck and your shoulders. Use a pillow, on which you can lay your head, for added comfort. For a modified version, you can place a pillow under your torso.
  2.  Cat pose: Starting from the child’s pose, get up. Stretch your arms and bend your spine upwards. Keep your head down, as if you were trying to touch your stomach with your forehead. Always keep your knees and ankles on the floor. From this position then straighten your spine, leaving it upright. At the same time, lift your head and look forward. Move from one position to another very slowly; it’s important that you accompany all of this with controlled breathing. Inhale for the first position and exhale for the second one.
  3. Knee to Chest Pose: Start by laying on your back on a flat surface. Bring your knees to your chest as you exhale. Wrap your arms around your legs holding the position as you use the appropriate breathing methods. This pose stretches the back muscles and relieves pain associated with what some refer to “knots” or tight muscles in their back.

There are many variations of the above-mentioned poses that are available with modifications, from beginner, advanced, to wheelchair bound individuals. A quick search on the internet will provide visual images to reference or videos to demonstrate the poses. It is always recommended that you speak with a health care professional before starting a new activity, especially if you are suffering from an injury.

Your diet can make a big difference.

We’ve all heard that the best treatment is prevention. It is important to have a proper diet, which can improve your spinal health considerably. Look for foods with anti-inflammatory effects.  Add Fish Oils, cooking oils, natural herbs and other vitamins to your diet:

3 Foods Groups That May Help

  • Oils.  A high Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio has been found to lower inflammation. Many cooking oils, including vegetable oils, are high in Omega-6. Fish Oils with EPA/DHS, Avocado Oil, and Olive Oils are all recommended.  Note that olive oil is good but is also sensitive to heat; cooking at high temperatures will decrease its effectiveness.
  • Herbs & Spices. Extracts of Boswellia can help reduce joint pain and chronic inflammatory ailments. (ref. 2.) Turmeric is a spice widely used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and has also been shown to also have anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to Turmeric.  It can help with osteoarthritis and other joint conditions; furthermore the ginger root has been called the ‘miracle healer’ and has numerous medicinal benefits.
  • Vitamins. Calcium is helpful in reducing joint pain and inflammation and is a good supplement.  Your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin D is essential to a strong skeletal system. Vitamin C protects connective tissues like the ligaments, tendons, the bones and joints.   Many of these vitamins are found in a good Metagenics supplement.

Easy to try solutions for a healthy spine.

Back pain can be a heavy burden to carry in your everyday life and can make every task you do feel like an uphill battle. That’s why a healthy spine is important. But there’s no need to break out the Tylenol whenever your back starts hurting. If you don’t feel you need Back Surgery for your pain then there are alternatives to medication, just try one of the many natural solutions for a healthy spine that are proven to be beneficial, both short and long term.

3 Simple Ways to Alleviate Back Pain 

  • Have a long, warm bath. The most common solution for spine and muscle pain is to take a warm bath or get in a hot tub, steam room, or jacuzzi. The water doesn’t need to be that hot, just around 104° Fahrenheit.
  • Heat or Cold therapy. If you want a more concentrated remedy that can cure your back pain faster, then a good option is heat or cold therapy. Apply Ice or a Heat Pack directly to the affected area. For heat you can also put a wet bath towel in the microwave for about two minutes. There are affordable products you can buy at any drug store, some are beaded and can provide either heat or cold.  Which is better for your ailment?
  • Rest. The solution which is most often overlooked is simply to rest. Rest doesn’t mean stay in bed all day; studies show that too much bed rest can even increase pain in your lower back and reduce circulation of blood flow. The best thing may be just some light walking to help loosen up your tendons, joints or spinal nerves.

Having good posture is also very important in your everyday life. Improper postural alignment can make you work less efficiently and fatigue much faster. Proper diet, regular exercise/stretching and maintaining that good posture are three of the best ways to keep a healthy spine throughout your life.

If you found these solutions for a healthy spine helpful, also read about these other Home Remedies that can help you with back and neck pain.

Reference (1):

Reference (2):