Yoga for Back Pain Back pain is a symptom caused by numerous biopsychosocial conditions. If you are like me you are probably wondering what biopsychosocial means. Basically it means that your back pain is not just caused by spinal pathologies such as herniated discs, in fact they make up less than 1% of back pain. They are not even mostly caused by radicular syndromes such as sciatica, these only make up 5-10% of back pain. Non Specific Back Pain makes up 90-95% of all back pain, which means that most likely your back pain is a combination of what is going on in your physical body, your social circumstances including your work, social and family life as well as your psychological well being. All three of these areas of course overlap into each other and the tension you experience as pain in your back is the result. I think we can all relate to the biopsychosocial conditions that cause pain in our bodies or specifically our backs as we are talking about today. Perhaps we have work in conditions where our boss continuously demands more than we can humanly deliver. Many of us are doing the work of three or four people and in order to support our families we do everything we can to make sure we complete the work being asked of us so that we can keep our jobs and our income. Biopsychosocial conditions can hit much closer to home with strained family relationship and family circumstances. Any parent with a newborn will know the strain of sleepless nights and just hoping to get through that first year of sleep deprived life. Maybe you have a parents who are aging and experiencing declining health, caregiving is incredibly stressful physically and emotionally. And anybody who is going through a relationship that is ending can know how difficult divorce or breakups can be. Many of us are attending school and improving ourselves through education. School with its assignments and testing, has its own set of stresses that can add to the biopsychosocial conditions that contribute to back pain. We live in a culture that puts a lot of pressure on social appearances. Social media asks us to present polished versions of ourselves, our homes, our food and our vacations. Not only that but social media creates an environment where it is easy to compare ourselves to others and feel as though we are not measuring up. All of these psychosocial conditions create a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety that we experience as tension in our body. When our boss (our ourselves if we are self employed) places unrealistic demands on us and we feel ourselves bracing against those unworkable requests our body tenses in response. This tension becomes a habitual bracing against our experience, whether it is the children screaming at each other or our feelings of not being enough and then chronic back pain ensues. This is not a problem. Through practices like yin yoga, we can become aware of the tension in our body. When we practice yin yoga the sensations in the yin yoga poses for back pain can be quite intense. We can experience sensations of discomfort as we stay in the poses for 5 mins. This is why it is important to choose an appropriate edge, one that is free from anything sharp, electric or anything with nerve pain. When we learn to be with discomfort, soften into it and breathe into the pose with an attitude of tenderness, kindness and compassion we learn that we can do the same when we are experiencing the stress of taking an exam at school or feeling the guilt of not being able to buy our children the newest and latest ____ that all of their friends have. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu If you made it all the way to the end of the class put: ¨My back feels SO much better!¨ in the comments. Thank you for your donations: Laraine, with a message: for some sweet treats for over the hokidays. Blessings to you and your family x Relieving nonspecific back pain is not something you can do in just one video.