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What poses should I avoid?
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   Fitness -> Injuries and rehabMessage format
Posted 2009-10-23 11:55 AM (#119218)
Subject: What poses should I avoid?

Hi All

I am 36 years old and I have been suffering from back pain for about four years now.For the first three years, I was not able to walk more than 100 meters without being in pain.That was horrible; no doctors,quiropractic practisioners,swimming or anything would give me any relief.My diagnosis was:

"The CT scan shows degenerative change at L4-5 and L5-S1 particularly within the facet joints and a little hernia at L1-L2"

Last year, I started practising yoga,first Hatha and after Iyengar but the classes were far too strong for me.Anyway ,I did not give up and bought the "Rodney Yee back care" video and went to some foundation Iyengar yoga classes.After getting that foundation level,I started to practise yoga at home,40 minutes in the morning(wake up,have a shower and mild yoga) and 90 minutes of basic poses everynight.No exceptions,no excuses…After 3 months,I started Iyengar begginers clasess once a week and I have been "religiously" attending to classes for the last 6 months(plus my daily practice at home).

I would not say I am fully recovered since you will not see me running to catch a bus or lift a heavy load, but I feel much better.I still have pain episodes every month or two but they are not disabling and the pain goes away without tablets in a day or two.But what it is as important or more is that mentally I am out of the misery hole where I was(fingers cross).

At the moment ,I am doing Iyengar yoga at beginners level and I can do every pose(Basic twists,forward bends,back bends,standing poses) without pain.So far yoga (or a bit of discipline and positive thinking) has done the trick for me and I would like to take next step up "beginner-general" and start practising a bit stronger but I understand that if I am not careful I can re-injure myself.Also I know that I should listen to my body and that nobody better than myself know how my back feels; but based on my diagnosis(above) could anybody recommend me what poses not to do or what poses to be extra careful with?

Thank you
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Posted 2009-10-23 1:02 PM (#119222 - in reply to #119218)
Subject: Re: What poses should I avoid?

so do you want to step it up in your home practice or in classes?
given what you have said, i think you are on a great track and probably have a pretty good perception of what you need to do.
that said, what is it that you want to do? are you wanting to do poses like handstand, headstand, forearm balance? bigger backbends?
i would be very careful with anything outside of your comfort zone. go for depth. instead of seeing a strong practice as doing a lot of fancy poses, deepen your current criterion of poses. hold them longer. find new ways to prop them. this will be the key to healing you, rather than pushing yourself into new poses.
and then, over time, the new poses will come to you.
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Posted 2009-10-23 6:51 PM (#119227 - in reply to #119218)
Subject: RE: What poses should I avoid?

Expert Yogi

Posts: 8442
javi - I am so glad to hear that yoga is helping your back that much! It does not work for everyone, but for many people it is almost miraculous. Mr. Tourist is one of them.

Are you working with a certified Iyengar teacher? If so, and particularly if s/he has a higher certification, you should be able to get good guidance there. Between the solid knowledge of the teacher and what is probably getting to be a very good understanding of what works and doesn't work in your own body, you should be able to chart a safe path to higher ground, whatever that means to you.

I really can't think of any poses that should be strictly avoided. If you have the foundation and move consciously into the deeper aspects of, for example, twists and back bends, you should be fine. The degenerative stuff is just there and likely doesn't get better on its own (but never say never...) so the herniation is probably the thing to keep in mind. Putting yourself in positions to fall (headstand away from the wall) or having to move rapidly into a pose (some of the deeper back bends - (pushing up into urdhva dhanurasana) possibly create some room for injury, but those can be avoided.

Best of luck and do come back and tell us your progress!
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Posted 2009-12-22 2:20 AM (#120131 - in reply to #119218)
Subject: Re: What poses should I avoid?

There are two forms of damage we do to our bodies. The first occurs in the moment (ouch) the second occurs over time (i.e. hip replacement). So care must be used in ONLY using in-the-moment pain as a barometer of "good" and "bad".

I certainly would avoid forward bends with the sort of lumbar issue you outline. If for no other reason than to err on the side of caution. The potential for damage far outweighs the benefits.


Edited by purnayoga 2009-12-22 2:22 AM
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