Holistic approach to back pain relief

A combination of stretching, yoga, and isometric exercises can alleviate lower back pain and avoid a surgery down the road

Dr. Dwight Tyndall, Spine Surgeon and an expert in Outpatient Spine Surgery, is a member of the expert medical team at Orthopaedic Specialists of Northwest Indiana. His interest in preventative measures that focus on the spine led him to the advantages and benefits provided by yoga.

“Although I am a spine surgeon, the majority of my patients receive and benefit greatly from non-operative care,” Dr. Tyndall explains. “I am a strong believer in the use yoga as both a preventative and as a treatment for existing back issues. Many of my patients have experienced significant success through yoga exercises.”

Dr. Tyndall says that flexibility is critical for optimal spine health. “I see patients who complain of lower back pain, but tests reveal no structural damage,” he says. “What I find is a lack of flexibility in their back and lower extremities, especially hamstring muscles. That has a major impact on the weight-bearing lower back.” Tight hamstrings can strain the lower back and can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain.

Dr. Tyndall believes that yoga can be used to address many of these spine issues. “When a person builds their muscles through yoga, they build strength and flexibility,” Dr. Tyndall says. “Yoga will help build core strength, which greatly improves the functionality of back muscles. Yoga exercises and poses also stretch one’s muscles, which is very important to prevent further injuries and resolve back pain.”

Since many patients have a certain amount of lower back pain, they have to be cautious when they embark on an exercise program. “A major benefit of yoga is that you can begin regardless of your current physical condition,” Dr. Tyndall says. “You don’t have to be a marathon runner in order to practice stretching, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga poses.” He also continues to be amused by those who think yoga is not exercise but quickly change their minds after a few sessions.

The benefits of yoga steadily increase as intensity and length of holding a pose increase. As exercise increases, many of his patients report notable improvement with lower back issues. Dr. Tyndall believes that yoga not only strengthen back muscle but is also a great way to stretch and re-condition muscles. “Many injuries during exercise happen due to a lack of stretching,” he says. “Muscles that are properly stretched and loosened perform much better with less risk of injury.”

Dr. Tyndall suggests the following yoga poses to improve spine health:
1) bridge pose (great for core strengthening)
2) cat pose (great for back stretching)
3) cow pose (good if used gently)
4) downward facing dog (great for stretching the hamstring)
5) extended side angle pose
6) half lord of the fishes pose
7) locust pose
8) reclining hand to big toe pose (great for stretching the hamstring)
9) staff pose (great for posture)

Dr. Dwight Tyndall and the expert medical team at OSNI are ready to help new patients restore their quality of life by providing world class local Orthopedic care to Northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago area for over 20 years. OSNI was just named the Best of the Region for the eighth consecutive year. With six convenient locations and a provider on staff at every hospital in Northwest Indiana, OSNI is the only local Orthopedic group.

OSNI is the only Orthopaedic clinic in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago land area to offer Saturday clinic and open MRI. If you or someone you know would like to see one of our specialists, contact OSNI.

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