Certain yoga poses are as effective for relieving back pain as physical therapy and may reduce the need for pain medication.

Over 80% of the population will experience an episode of low back pain at some point during their life. According to a 2009 study, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in American and one of the most common reasons for absenteeism. Americans are expected to miss an estimated 149 million workdays each year at a cost of $100–200 billion in lost wages and productivity.

Most back pain suffers recover within a few months but may experience additional episodes either during the same year or at some other point in their life. Approximately 5% will experience chronic back pain which is pain lasting longer than 3 months.

Back pain is an injury to a muscle [strain] or ligament [sprain]. According to the Mayo Clinic, strains and sprains can occur for many reasons, including improper lifting, poor posture and lack of regular exercise. Excess body weight can increase the risk for strains and sprains.

Chronic back pain is more likely the result of a more-serious injury [vertebral fracture or ruptured disk], condition [arthritis] or an infection.

Recent studies have found certain yoga poses are as effective as physical therapy in easing pain. More and more physicians are prescribing yoga to patients rather than pain meds.

These 5 online videos will guide you through some of the stretches and strengthening exercises recommended for those suffering with back pain.

1/ Back Stretches by Fitness Blenders: Less than 10 minutes [Beginner]

2/ Yoga by Brett Larkin: Approximately 15 minutes [Beginner]

3/ Pilates for the back by Mari Windsor: Approximately 20 minutes [Beginner] 

4/ Yoga by Brett Larkin Yoga: Approximately 30 mins [Beginner]

5/ Yoga by Brett Larkin Yoga: Approximately 45 mins [Intermediate]

If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of yoga poses check out this post.

Five types of yoga poses that will enhance your health and life by opening your heart and mind to new possibilities, calming your nerves and reducing pain.