Back Pain Relief Through Yoga

yoga sphinx relieving back pain

If you are one of the ⅔ of Americans who suffer from low back pain, you understand how much of an effect it can have on your everyday life. Depending on the severity, even the most basic tasks can be a burden. Many of us spend much of the day sitting, and this can be a big factor in what’s causing your low back pain. We wake up and sit down to eat breakfast, or drink coffee. Depending on your job, you might spend most of your day sitting at your desk. The commute to and from work involves more sitting. Sitting For lunch. Sitting for dinner. You see where this is going. We spend much of the day in one position and our muscles do not get to move and stretch as often as they should, which shortens your hamstrings and iliopsoas muscles.

We’ve mentioned the benefits of yoga before, with our 5 Yoga Poses for Migraine Headaches. We’d like to tell you about 5 more yoga poses; these ones are geared toward low back pain relief. You can do all of these from home, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on a class. There are many benefits to yoga, including:

  • Improving posture
  • Eliminating muscle imbalances
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
  • Improving your physique

If you have a slipped disc, or severe back pain, be sure to consult your doctor before trying these moves or anything that involves deep forward bends.

  1. Supine Hamstring Stretch

While on your back, bend your right knee inward toward your chest, and place a strap or rolled-up towel around the ball of your foot. Straighten your leg skyward. Push both heels outward. If your lower back feels strained while doing this, place your left foot on the ground and bend the left knee. Hold this position for 3-5 minutes, then do the same with the left leg.

  1.        Two-Knee Twist

Again while on your back, bring both knees toward your chest, and extend your arms into a “T.” While exhaling, lower your knees to the ground, to your right side. Both shoulders should remain firmly pressed to the ground. If you are having trouble keeping your left shoulder down, lower knees away from your right arm. Hold this position on each side for 1-2 minutes.

  1.    Sphinx

For this move, lie flat on your stomach and prop yourself up on your forearms. Your elbows should be aligned directly under your shoulders. Push through both your palms and the top of your feet, while pushing your pelvis forward. Be sure to breathe through the sensations you feel in your back. This move will help with blood flow to your lower back. Hold pose for 1-3 minutes.

  1.     Thread the Needle

For this one, lay on your back and bend both knees, while keeping both feet on the ground. Pull your right knee toward you, lifting your foot off the ground. Cross your left leg on top of your right quad. Your left calf should be parallel to the ground. As the name suggests, thread your left arm between your legs, and with your right arm on the right side of your thigh, lock your fingers while pulling slightly toward your body. Your knee should be roughly at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 2-3 minutes, then repeat on the other side.

  1. Legs Up the Wall

While in a seated position, scoot your buttocks all the way against the wall, then bring your feet and legs up the wall. This move drains stagnant fluid from the feet while relaxing your lower back muscles. Hold for 5-10 minutes.

As you relax, focus on your breathing. Like working out, or getting a massage, breathing is key. After this beneficial stretching is completed, be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out any toxins. For best results, be sure to do these stretches regularly. We hope that these stretches aid in making your low back pain more manageable.

Learn more about low back pain clinical research at

3 Lesser Known Symptoms of Low Testosterone

depressed man The image of low testosterone evokes expected symptoms like sexual dysfunction, decreased strength and depression. However, low testosterone may also present with symptoms not normally associated with a hormonal imbalance.

Low T is exactly as the name describes – a lower than normal amount of testosterone is present in the body. It can happen for a variety of reasons including but not limited to obesity, diabetes and chronic medical conditions. Well-known symptoms of Low T are sexual dysfunction, libido decrease, hair loss and loss of muscle mass.

However, as researchers continue to explore the relationship between testosterone and male physiology, they are finding that the hormone plays a critical role in factors outside of sexual function. The following are lesser-known symptoms of low testosterone:

1. Disordered Sleeping – Low T is known to cause any number of sleep disturbances ranging from sleep apnea or insomnia. Research has shown that the majority of testosterone is produced during REM sleep. If the sleep cycle is interrupted, the testosterone production is also interrupted. The net result is the production of less testosterone. It’s not unusual for Low T sufferers to also suffer from sleep apnea.

2. Hot Flashes – . . . Aren’t just for women? Those nights of waking up with soaked sheets or fighting with a spouse because 75 degrees now feels inhumane are likely liked to Low T. A drop in testosterone can be linked to normal aging or receiving treatment for prostate cancer called Androgen Deprivation Therapy. Most men experience an extremely slow decline in testosterone after the age of 40 but men with more rapid decreases may experience symptoms akin to menopause.

3. Difficulty Concentrating Having trouble finishing that report? Is your memory slipping? Low T is linked to cognitive impairment. The exact relationship between Low T and cognitive ability hasn’t yet been determined but evidence is showing a positive correlation between the two. Hormones play an incredibly important role in cognition, memory and spatial relationships. As is the case with much of the human body, it’s a complicated process and if one of the pieces is deficient, function is impaired.
Physicians can determine if you’re (or someone you know) is suffering from Low T with a simple blood test. The most common form of treatment is testosterone replacement in the form of skin patches, gel or injections.


9 Tips For Talking About Low Testosterone With Your Doctor

testosterone doctor

It’s not the easiest subject to broach with your doctor. Sexual dysfunction issues are embarrassing but opting not to discuss it with your doctor just prolongs a possible diagnosis and treatment. Today’s social health culture is heavily reliant on social media and media awareness campaigns. While that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to discuss private issues, there is less of a stigma with such sensitive concerns.

A little planning and preparation can make the entire process a little easier. Keep the following tips in mind when you talk to your doctor about low testosterone:

  1. Write down your symptoms and concerns beforehand. Because your time is limited, it’s easier if you have the information readily available in front of you. When time is of the essence, memory often fails.
  2. Make sure your physician is comfortable treating Low T and if not, ask for a referral for a physician who specializes in sexual health.
  3. Take notes. It’s incredibly common to walk out of a patient room only to find that you’ve forgotten everything that was discussed by the time you reach your car.
  4. Take a list of current prescriptions with you for your doctor to review as possible contributors to your symptoms. Preparing a list beforehand eliminates having to remember dosages and drug strength.
  5. Ask your physician to explain the available treatments and associated risks for Low T.
  6. If you’re seeing your primary care physician, make a specific appointment to discuss your hormonal concerns. Typically, yearly physical appointments only allot so much time for a general overview. You’ll have more time to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a dedicated appointment.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Invariably, you’ll think of questions after your appointment. Ask your doctor during your appointment the best way to address those questions that crop up later.
  8. Remember that you don’t have to agree to treatment immediately. Take time to think about it, do your own research and/or consult with your partner.
  9. If your physician doesn’t already have your health history, bring it with you. There are a number of health issues (namely cardiovascular issues and Type II diabetes) that carry a higher risk of Low T.

If you think you might be suffering from low testosterone, don’t wait to address it. Testosterone affects mood, weight, energy levels and libido. All of these contribute to a higher quality of life and overall health.


Do You Need to Pick A Bone With Your Testosterone?

tired man

Commercials hint at it.  Doctor talk their way around it.  You’d rather draw pictures or gesture with your hands than say the words out loud – low testosterone.  It’s far more common than the media (or the men in our lives) would lead us to believe.  About 39% of men over the age of 45 have low testosterone.  Typically characterized by a low libido, low testosterone actually presents itself in a variety of non-sexual ways.  Men with low testosterone may experience depression, loss of muscle mass and unexplained fatigue.

Another unexpected “side effect” of low testosterone is increased abdominal fat.  Call it nature’s one-two punch – that all-important hormone affects things upstairs AND downstairs.  Researchers used to believe that obesity decreased testosterone levels but recent discoveries are proving otherwise.  In fact, there is new evidence suggesting that low testosterone might be a marker for metabolic syndrome.

The dreaded beer belly may not solely originate from too many Football Sundays.  In middle age, men enter “andropause”, or male equivalent of menopause.  Hormones naturally decrease during this stage of life and consequently, men may notice some changes.  Low testosterone can have a significant effect on metabolism, glucose, insulin and fat regulation.  In turn, losing weight is that much harder without adequate testosterone.

Body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase.  This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into estrogens.  Too much estrogen triggers the male body to reduce the production of testosterone.  Therein lies the vicious cycle.

Another incentive to get those levels checked is that normal levels of testosterone help to stave off the muscle loss that comes with aging.  Keep hormone levels stable with regular exercise, a healthy weight, regular sleep and good nutrition.  Healthy habits aside, doctors can monitor testosterone levels via blood tests.

Low testosterone IS treatable.  Men are seeing success with testosterone therapy in the form of transdermal patches, gels, injections or pellets implanted sub-dermally.  Testosterone therapy is not currently available as an oral supplement because it can cause liver damage.  The methods previously described deliver the hormone while also bypassing the liver.

However, there are risks involved with testosterone therapy.  Patients may experience prostate growth, local skin reactions, testicle shrinkage and a higher than normal production of red blood cells (which increases the risk for heart attacks).

Talk with your doctor to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for testosterone therapy.

Low T Primer