Yoga Poses to Treat a Pinched Nerve

03 October 2017

Done slowly and through deep breaths, these poses can help relax and stretch the back to help those dealing with pinched nerves.

Yoga is known for its benefits such as increased flexibility, improved breathing and reduced levels of stress. The practice is easy to learn and there are nearly 100 different schools of yoga that can best suit the participant.

Yoga is great for those who suffer from a pinched nerve in the spine. A pinched nerve happens when part of the disc is displaced and puts pressure on the nerve or nerve root. This can lead to pain, tingling or numbness in the back, legs or feet. A study found yoga can significantly reduce back pain, and it can be as effective as physical therapy. Still, those with medical conditions such as a pinched nerve should get doctor’s approval before starting a new exercise regimen.

Like any new exercise, those who start yoga should go slow and steady with simpler poses before building up to something more difficult. With that in mind, there are several poses that can help target back pain.

Seated Twist

The seated twist is a yoga pose that helps improve flexibility in the spine. The move is great for beginners, and it is a good warm-up for those preparing to do a long yoga session. To do the seated twist, start in the seated position. Next, bring the right foot over the left knee and turn the body to the right. Use the left arm to hug the upright leg and take deep breaths. For a deeper twist, extend the left arm and gently press it on the outside of the upright leg. Repeat for the other side.

Standing Twist

Those looking to stretch in a smaller space can also try the standing twist. To perform the twist, stand with the left leg planted in the floor and the right leg on a chair. Turn the body so it is facing the right side of a wall and place the right hand against the wall for balance. Take deep breaths and relax through the stretch.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is another good option for beginners that helps stretch both the hips and thighs. The pose helps elongate and relax back muscles that can be compressed from sitting for long periods of time. To do the pose, sit with the knees wide apart while the larger toes are still touching. Take a deep inhale and lengthen the spine, and then lean forward while exhaling. The chest should be either between or on top of the legs with the forehead gently touching the floor. Bring the arms toward the front of the yoga mat with the palms facing downward, or rest the arms on the outside of each thigh.

Cat Pose

Next is the cat pose, which is also often paired with the cow pose. Both poses help stretch the back and neck and open the chest. Start either pose on the hands and knees with the wrists below the shoulders. Take a breath, push the stomach downward and lift up the chin while pulling the shoulder blades away from the ears. During the exhale, pull the stomach to the spine and make a rounded back like a cat. Both exercises can be repeated multiple times.

Downward Facing Dog

The downward facing dog and upward facing dog are two yoga poses often done together. The downward option is good for stretching the spine and strengthening the core, while the upward pose helps with opening the chest. To do these poses, start on the hands and knees with the toes tucked in. For the downward dog, lift the hips skyward and make sure the heels stay on the ground. After a few deep breaths, try the upward dog. This pose requires the user to pull the hips back toward the ground and use the hands to push the chest upwards. Stay in this position for a few breaths while looking skyward.

Locust Pose

Try the locust pose while lying on top of a yoga mat at home. Also known as the grasshopper, this pose helps strengthen the back of the body. Start the pose lying on the stomach with the arms on either side, palms up. Take a deep breath and lift the arms, legs, upper body and feet. With the chest off the floor, reach the arms backward and extend through the fingertips. The lower ribs, stomach and front pelvis should be absorbing the weight of the body.

Triangle Pose

The triangle pose is standing-based and helps stretch the legs and hips while strengthening the back. Start this pose with the feet hip-distance apart. Take another step so now the feet are about 4 feet apart. Now turn the left ankle outward while raising the arms. Inhale for a few seconds, and upon exhale bring an arm down so that the wrist is resting on the outside of the opposite ankle. Turn the head toward the hand facing the ceiling and hold the post for a few seconds. Then repeat with the opposite hand.

Done slowly and through deep breaths, these poses can help relax and stretch the back to help those dealing with pinched nerves.

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Profile image Written by Jayson Goetz

Jayson believes there are many solutions to your back pain. Having personally suffered from back pain he has tried them all. He started writing in hope of sharing his experiences with those who are looking for help.