Avoid Injury: Get Free Hot Yoga Guides & Pose Photos. Feel Fantastic Every Class!

Enter your Name & Primary Email Address here:

Arrow enter email
 
   
 
acute lower back pain after 1 month of bikram
Hot Yoga MasterClass Package!

Transform Your Hot Yoga Practice!
Avoid Injuries and Make Breakthroughs!
Brand New Package with Free Shipping Worldwide!
Click Here to read more ...

Posted: 11 January 2011 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2011-01-10

Hi Gabrielle,

I am fairly new to Bikram and have been practicing for about a month and a half. Before I started practicing, I had no lower back pain. As a child I had been told that I have a slight scoliosis in the lower back but it had never bothered me or given me pain. About two weeks ago I did head to knee pose and felt almost like I stretched too much and my lower back hurt slightly afterwards. I took a week off yoga (because of the holidays) but my lower back was still hurting slightly. Last week I went back to yoga and for a few days there was no change - practice felt great but then the slight lower back pain would appear. Anyway, on the 4th day after I came back to Bikram, I did the head to knee pose (the one after half moon and the backbend) and again I felt stretching pain in my lower back but since the instructors always tell you to keep pulling and not to be scared of the pain I assumed it was normal… I got up and my back felt really stiff and painful at times which alarmed me but I was hopeful it would get better so I continued with the eagle and awkward poses. When we got to the next pose (the locked knee pose - sorry, I don’t remember the name) I realized something was terribly wrong - normally I can stand with both knees locked but this time I could not even bend over to pick up my foot and my back was killing me with the slightest attempt to bend forward. I stopped the series after balancing stick posture which gave me a shooting pain in my left back. I laid in savasana pretty much for the rest of the class with the exception of a few floor poses (like cobra, child and wind removing which my teacher said might be good for me). In wind removing I could not even attempt to grab my elbows (which before was very comfortable) and child pose was out of the question - I could not even get close to the floor. Somebody had to help me get up at the end of class and even rolling over was painful! Since then I have spent 3 days at home pretty much laying down with some walking around since both feel better than sitting. My back has gotten a little better (the pain is still there but less intense) - it still hurts when sitting, twisting or bending forward. It feels fine when I am laying down and even walking is not that bad (although I have a feeling I walk crooked and I have to move like a robot to avoid and twists/bends at the waist otherwise it hurts) but sitting is horrible - I cannot seem to find a comfortable position and have tried sitting straight, etc - the less painful position in to sit in the middle of my sit bones and then do a slight backbend and rest my back on the back of the chair but even that doesn’t get rid of the pain completely.

So now I am scared because I have never had any back problems before and it feels horrible. What should I do? Should I go to a chiropractor,etc? Am I supposed to go back to yoga or rest more? Any exercises that might help? How long is this pain going to last? My Bikram teacher told me to rest and come back in a few days but I don’t know how much I trust Bikram after what happened. He said it’s happened to him before and will pass and I will feel better at the end ...

Any advice would be much appreciated!
Namaste!

Profile
 
Posted: 12 January 2011 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  36
Joined  2008-05-13

This is why I stopped Bikram.  Extreme forward bends, despite what the instructors say, are not in the “natural range of motion” for our bodies. 

From what you describe, it sounds like you have a herniated disk in your lumbar spine.  The clincher was when you said you got a little relief from sitting on sit bones and slightly back bending.  That’s because the pressure on the disk is relieved in backbends, and greatly increased in forward bends.

Chiropractors and physical therapists will give you a series of exercises to do that will help over time.  It may take a long time.  The exercises usually involve lying on your stomach and lifting your legs one at a time and then both at a time, plus a number of others. You might have to avoid forward bends for a time until the disk begins to heal.

If you get temporary relief from such exercises, or from lying flat and letting your lower spine sag, as in lying between two pillows or draping yourself across a big chair with upholstered arms, and letting your lower spine sag toward the seat cushion, the diagnosis is pretty assured.

But of course I am not a doctor!  I only check back to this forum occasionally so that if I see things like “acute lower back pain,” I can chime in to keep people from panicking and going through lots of MRI’s, treatments and such needlessly. 

I have posted a number of times about this situation on this forum, so if you search “herniated disk” you will find more information.

Remember there is an industry out there that wants you to think you need to pay them a lot of money over this.  Stay calm.  REST, at the early point you’re at now, is incredibly important.  I didn’t rest, but kept going to yoga, doing yard work, etc. etc., hoping to work through it. Very stupid of me.

Be careful.  Do a little research online but do not panic!

 

Profile
 
Posted: 13 January 2011 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2011-01-10

Hi, thanks for the support!

I think I had a breakthrough!!! Yesterday I decided to sit and do some meditation (which I used to do every day but had stopped since i hurt my back cause it was painful to sit still). So I sat though the pain just observing it and not reacting and amazingly my body was able to exit panic mode and relax. So after one hour of meditation I still felt pain but was very clam about it and decided to do some stretches as I was still sitting on the floor. I basically just ALLOWED my body to stretch down naturally with gravity instead of FORCING it to stretch. It was absolutely amazing - i felt some stretching pain but I was just observing it and not reacting and slowly the muscles would release and I was able to get closer and closer to the floor. So finally in child’s pose I was able to touch my forehead to the floor like I used to be able to!!! Anyway, I feel a LOT BETTER now. There is still some pain and I still have to be very careful about how I do things but my mobility has increased to the point where I almost feel normal. But the most important thing is that I now see the light and know that I will be ok. I am thinking of going back to Bikram next week but definitely not pulling to stretch in any of the postures. I might just go and let my body do what it can. Looking back at it, I think one has to be very careful with the ego in Bikram - it can push us to do stupid things. At the end I will probably go back to Iyengar style yoga - I had a teacher who would look at you and if he thought you were trying too hard he would ask ‘Do you need a hammer?” . I think a lot of time we try to ‘hammer’ our body into a position we want it to go in instead of listening to it, respecting it and being patient.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the encouragement. I might go to the chiropractor anyway just in case to see what he/she says.

Profile
 
Posted: 13 January 2011 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  36
Joined  2008-05-13

Wonderful!  Mindfulness is always a good thing.  No two bodies are exactly alike, but in the Bikram studio there is a tendency to strive for a single ideal.

When you think about it, stretching is a good thing but EXTREME STRETCHING is not.  Muscles and tendons hold bones (including the lumbar spine) in place.  When we stretch them too much or too far, it makes perfect sense that the bones, disks, etc. are now in a more loose, or vulnerable, position, hence more likely to slip or otherwise move out of place, causing pain. 

What you don’t want to do, over time, is create an ever-looser situation where a more serious/permanent disk slippage occurs. 

You have received a warning with this pain ... heed it!

During my treatment I was told that some people are “loose” and some people are “tight;” those who are loose benefit more from postural yoga (like Iyengar) and those who are tight benefit more from stretching yoga (like Bikram).

Know which you are ... be careful ... good luck!

 

Profile
 
Posted: 14 January 2011 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2011-01-10

Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.

Profile
 
Posted: 14 January 2011 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  67
Joined  2010-12-21
m.voulova - 13 January 2011 01:06 PM

Hi, thanks for the support!

I think I had a breakthrough!!! Yesterday I decided to sit and do some meditation (which I used to do every day but had stopped since i hurt my back cause it was painful to sit still). So I sat though the pain just observing it and not reacting and amazingly my body was able to exit panic mode and relax. So after one hour of meditation I still felt pain but was very clam about it and decided to do some stretches as I was still sitting on the floor. I basically just ALLOWED my body to stretch down naturally with gravity instead of FORCING it to stretch. It was absolutely amazing - i felt some stretching pain but I was just observing it and not reacting and slowly the muscles would release and I was able to get closer and closer to the floor. So finally in child’s pose I was able to touch my forehead to the floor like I used to be able to!!! Anyway, I feel a LOT BETTER now. There is still some pain and I still have to be very careful about how I do things but my mobility has increased to the point where I almost feel normal. But the most important thing is that I now see the light and know that I will be ok. I am thinking of going back to Bikram next week but definitely not pulling to stretch in any of the postures. I might just go and let my body do what it can. Looking back at it, I think one has to be very careful with the ego in Bikram - it can push us to do stupid things. At the end I will probably go back to Iyengar style yoga - I had a teacher who would look at you and if he thought you were trying too hard he would ask ‘Do you need a hammer?” . I think a lot of time we try to ‘hammer’ our body into a position we want it to go in instead of listening to it, respecting it and being patient.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the encouragement. I might go to the chiropractor anyway just in case to see what he/she says.

That’s fabulous news!  I didn’t post any advice earlier because I’m fairly new to Bikram myself, but everything you wrote makes a lot of sense.  It’s always challenging to find that proper balance so you are trying but not pushing too hard.  And it is very hard to keep your ego out of it.  I think it’s easy to put pressure on yourself to keep improving, whether your body is ready for it or not.

I was going to say it’s probably good to work on the back strengthening and back bending postures(obviously still in an ego-free and mindful manner) and see how everything heals.  There is also a free video here on strengthening your core, and that might be useful as well as it seems very related to lower back pain in my experience. 

But congratulations on your progress and thank you for sharing!  I know I need to work on being more mindful sometimes and it’s good to hear how important it really is.

Profile
 
Hot Yoga MasterClass Package!

Transform Your Hot Yoga Practice!
Avoid Injuries and Make Breakthroughs!
Brand New Package with Free Shipping Worldwide!
Click Here to read more ...

Posted: 14 February 2011 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
The Hot Yoga Doctor
Member Photo
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2775
Joined  2008-03-05

Hi m.voulova

Thanks for posting. Apologies for the delay in response. You certainly made some breakthroughs which is great.

Many people are told to keep pulling into stretches. BUT what most don’t understand is the mechanism that should be involved and how it’s working your body. Force will never do it. However that’s often what’s being advised.

In the pose you initially talked about (after half moon backbend is called hands to feet pose) it is common for teachers to tell you to keep pulling. Unfortunately many make no distinction between pulling in the way that will NATURALLY and easily and SAFELY allow the opening up of the spine.

Instead the instructions make you believe that if you pull on your feet you will eventually get your spine lengthening towards the floor because of the strength of the pull.

THIS IS NOT RIGHT. So your ‘efforting’ in the beginning was probably your problem. The idea is to engage biceps and and pull up on the feet and move the shoulders up. Keep the chest on the legs and keep the legs bent if you must. You may say ‘I know that’ but I can tell you that from years of teaching most people are involving a range of shoulder involvement from tiny to a lot and then this sets of a cascade of other problems… including creating strain and pain in the back.

The other thing that I recommend you investigate is your own core strength.

I can’t say if you had a herniated disc, it’s possible but you definitely need advice. It’s possible you had a spasm. Rebecca has definitely given you the benefit of her experience and at least you have learned to stand back and be aware. ALL good stuff.

I would like to know what has happened in the interim if you’re willing to share!

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

 Signature 

Did you know that Hot Yoga MasterClass is the single most used reference manual for Hot Yoga Teacher Trainings in the world? Comes with a technique-based DVD and 90 min Audio Class on CD Ships FREE all over the world!
Click here: www.HotYogaMasterClass.com

Profile