One yoga instructor who is helping her students to ‘listen to their own bodies’ as she puts it, is Linda Consalvo. She says that people have a pre-conceived idea of what they believe yoga is and they don’t think that they can do it because they believe it to involve positions such as standing on their head. Today however, it is Linda who is taking Stacy Rinz’s yoga therapy class to help her own back pain.
Yoga is a non-aggressive form of exercise, that can help strengthen core muscles and is excellent for many people who suffer from back pain. Linda explained that ‘I began having back problems 25 years ago after herniating a disk in my back. I received chiropractic care for many years and did ok with this, then ruptured a disc and was back in excruciating pain’. She then went on to explain how yoga saved her, and that she’s even got back to her active lifestyle doing cardio and working out with weights.
Dr Sara Rizk is a firm believer in the use of non-aggressive exercise such as Tai Chi and Yoga to work on the back and strengthen core muscles. Core muscles are the muscle groups that stabilise the spine and pelvis. And when you strengthen them, these muscles take the pressure off your spine reducing the pain. Research has shown that strengthening these core muscles is one of the best treatments for back pain. It also helps posture, balance and alignment, as well as helping with relaxation because it helps to alleviate stress too.
Dr Rizk believes so strongly in the use of Yoga and Tai Chi that she even writes her patients’ prescriptions for them, and has classes for them at her place of work. She explains that by monitoring patients they can see who is benefiting from these forms of exercise, and who would be better served by waiting until they have healed more first. She explains that patients are monitored to make sure that they do not deteriorate and are actually getting better.
Tai Chi and Yoga are widely available in many locations around the country, but before you attend a class, and especially if you suffer from back pain for any reason, you should make sure firstly that your instructor is fully trained and knows what they are doing. Secondly you should seek consultation with your doctor before you take the class to make sure that it is appropriate for you to be undertaking this form of exercise at this time.
In addition to trying Tai Chi or Yoga you could try the Dynaspine Back Support, which was created specifically to help keep the back muscles active as we lead sedentary lifestyles. The back support plates on Dynaspine are built on a special spring mechanism that allows the plates to provide the back with support throughout changes in posture such as whilst driving, at the office or even whilst eating lunch!