As someone who prides herself on the level of strength and flexibility achieved as a result of my seven-plus-year yoga practice, I was both shocked and dismayed to wake up with extreme lower back pain last month. When I say extreme, it's no exaggeration. It literally took every ounce of energy I had just to stand up, sit down, or straighten my back in any capacity. By the second day, it was so bad that I could not stand upright without using a wall for support, feeling like my knees were going to buckle if I moved away from it. The pain was excruciating and debilitating.
As much as I love making meals in my Dutch oven, I am convinced that this awesome (but heavy!) invention was the source of my mysterious lower back pain. I tend to do things in a rush and failed to take the time to properly bend my knees while lifting it in and out of the oven. Well, I certainly paid the price. Lesson learned!
At the onset of the agony, my first instinct was to stretch my lower back out through gentle yoga postures. But after reading conflicting advice online, I eventually decided against it. So many articles tell you not to stretch or you will actually make the problem worse. By the end of the third day, I got to a point where I stopped taking the advice of 50 percent of the articles I read (because the other half tell you to stretch AND lie down), and I followed my initial instinct, which has rarely led me down the wrong road. I rolled out my yoga mat and proceeded to stretch out my lower back.
And let me tell you, it hurt like hell. But it was the smartest move I had made in days. Not only was I able to stand up straight after just 20 minutes of light stretching, I was able to walk around and sit comfortably again for the first time since the pain began. Really, is there anything yoga can't heal?
My tried and tested advice on how to heal lower back pain is this: Stretch the moment you wake up (using the simple postures below) and then repeat the same stretches again before you lie down for the night.
Give these poses a try: