Typically, yoga is one of the better things we can do to open up the stiff parts of the body and alleviate pain. Much of the time, yoga poses loosen up knots and release stored tension. However, back pain can be particularly complicated, and sometimes, certain yoga poses can make back pain worse. Below are 5 poses that aren’t necessarily bad for everyone’s back, but they can definitely be problematic for those already dealing with serious back pain.
I wouldn’t say I have severe back pain, but I have some, and this pose definitely bothers my back. Camel is designed to stretch out the front side of the body, especially the abdominals and chest, but it also puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. This can cause problems if you have low back issues or disk issues. If you do attempt this pose, be sure to offer lower back support with your hands as you ease into it.
Full Wheel Pose
To be clear, you shouldn’t be attempting this pose at all unless you are an intermediate to advanced yogi. It demands a high level of flexibility and strength. However, even if you have the experience to pull it off, you should be wary if you suffer from back pain of any kind. Yes, this pose opens up the front side of the body, but it only does so by putting an extreme amount of pressure on the back and spine. For similar front side stretching, try a bridge pose or half wheel. These poses accomplish the same stretch, but they keep the spine more neutral.
This pose is much more moderate compared to the first two, and many people don’t have a problem doing it. However, it does require you to tilt your lumbar spine in a way that can cause flare ups for certain people. If you commonly experience back pain, use extra caution when going into boat pose. For a more comfortable version, try tucking the pelvis.
This pose is definitely to be avoided if you have back problems or neck issues. Although if done properly, this pose can help strengthen the core and upper body, it can put way too much pressure on the neck and spine if not. Those with tight shoulders or weak cores tend to compensate in ways that compress the low back or strain the cervical spine.
Seated Forward Fold
This one might seem like an unlikely candidate for this list, but it’s not. This pose can be especially problematic for people with disk issues, as it requires the rounding of the spine. This can accidentally pinch nerves as the vertebrae are tilted toward each other. Ouch. For the same hamstring stretch, you’re better off trying a standing forward fold, which allows you to keep the back flat.