Low Back Pain

The most important thing I learned working at the physiatrist office is that you cannot treat low back pain without knowing the source of the pain.  Below I will break down some of the most common sources of low back pain and give you an idea of how I can help you.  If you don’t know the nature of your back pain, schedule a free consultation and we can discuss next steps.

Herniated Disc

If a disc is herniated and pressing on a nerve, certain daily movements can cause the disc to push out further, creating more pain. I will show you some yoga poses informed by the McKenzie Method that can move the disc back to center and away from the nerve.

Sacroiliac Joint Derangement

This common but little understood issue can be very painful. Our first goal is to get you out of pain by creating space in the joint, making it easier to realign the sacrum and the pelvis. Once you are free from pain I will teach you how to stabilize the region to prevent this from happening again.

Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the spinal cord, is another condition where certain everyday movements can cause pain. I will educate you about what to do to avoid pain and teach you poses that can provide relief.

Piriformis Syndrome

Very often a cause of the dreaded sciatica, this is a pesky problem. I can show you yoga poses that stretch this muscle which will reduce the inflammation so the nerve is no longer aggravated.

Spondylolisthesis

This condition, when a vertebrae is slid in one direction (usually forward), can be very uncomfortable. I will show you some poses to relieve the pain, and then work to strengthen the muscles around the spine to help stabilize the area to reduce discomfort in your daily life.

Back Spasm

Strain of the Quadratus Lumborum (QL), a strong muscle that supports the stability and movement of the spine and pelvis, is a common cause of spasms. For relief I will give you poses to relax and gently stretch the QL, then we will work on strengthening other areas of the body to help prevent future strain and spasms.

 

Scoliosis

Based upon Dr. Loren Fishman’s non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and Buckminster Fuller’s idea of tensegrity, we use yoga poses to strengthen the muscles on the weak side of the curve. If done properly, strengthening these targeted muscles will pull on the spine and lessen the degree of the curve.

 
 

Balance

Yoga provides wonderful opportunities to address balance issues by increasing awareness in the body, especially the feet. We can also improve balance by focusing on strength, mobility and coordination.

Shoulder Health

Rotator cuff tear is a very common injury, partially because of the highly mobile nature of the shoulder joint. Whether you are looking to strengthen and mobilize the shoulder region as a preventative method or to heal the shoulder, there is a way to address this with yoga.

 

Imbalance: Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

The nervous system is a finicky thing. Most of us get stuck in the fight or flight response (sympathetic). We tend to address this with types of exercise that can sometimes exacerbate the issue. Specific yoga practices activate the rest and digest response (parasympathetic), resulting in better rest, cognitive function, and digestion. 

However, sometimes you need to upregulate the nervous system, which basically means you need to press on the gas pedal to increase the amount of energy available in the body.  The yoga tool kit is vast-- it contains dynamic practices that can rev you up, as well as restorative practices to calm you down.

 

Posture

Trouble with posture can come from unconscious habits in your daily routine, but it can also develop from long term patterns that started in childhood. Sometimes body pain can be addressed simply by changing your stance. This is one of my favorite things to work on.

 

Hip trouble

Hip flexor, adductor, and hamstring tears tend to stick around for a long time if not addressed.  Pain in the hip area can often lead to pain in the knee.  We can work on some fun and challenging yoga techniques to heal the tears, and ultimately get you moving with ease.

 

Bones and Joints

Osteoporosis

Frankly, the medications offered today for osteoporosis all have downsides. If possible we’d like to avoid taking them. Based on Wolff’s law, which states that bone in a healthy person will adapt to the loads under which it is placed, Dr. Loren Fishman has come up with a series of poses proven to build bone strength and density. The poses need to be done in a specific way, otherwise they won’t work.  I have years of experience teaching these poses and can serve as your guide and cheerleader.

Osteoarthritis

There was a time when doctors advised patients with pain from arthritis to move less. Now we know that movement can actually soothe pain from arthritis. Yoga offers a wide variety of movement patterns, mobilizing even the smaller joints that we often ignore.

© 2020 by Gabriella Barnstone. Photos by Anna Sirota