Yoga is becoming a popular recreational activity for both men and women. Yoga, which has been around for thousands of years, is a form of exercise that involves holding various poses to develop core strength. To the casual observer yoga stretches look easy. Once you try them, you’ll find that a yoga workout can be demanding.

Many moves can actually be helpful to a bad back as they involve extension and flexion of the back muscles. In fact, many of the customized stretches used by spine therapists evolved from yoga poses.

For example the Sphinx or Cobra yoga pose is the common press up extension exercise. The “Cat” and “Cow” poses similarly create flexion and extension of the spine.

A yoga workout can aid in circulation and provide a natural way to bring oxygenated blood and nutrients to the intervertebral discs. Even for some minor disc herniations, certain flexion or extension movements may relieve some symptoms as well as improve the flexibility of the ligaments in the back. It is important to note that some disc herniation patients may find that spinal flexion worsens their symptoms, while extension movements offer relief. Those with  spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal typically associated with those over 60 — may find flexion exercises to be more comfortable.  If you have a back problem, it’s best to  consult a spine specialized therapist to evaluate your back problem and customize an exercise program for your particular back problem. The spine-specialized physical therapists at Centers for Artificial Disc can customize the best exercises for your particular back or neck problem.