The parasympathetic nervous system is devoted to nourishing, healing and rebuilding the body. When actively dormant, it stimulates and enhances immune function, circulation, digestion and overall gastrointestinal function. It improves functioning of the liver, stomach, pancreas and intestines. It also lowers heart rate and blood pressure levels, while increasing production of endorphins, your body's "feel good" hormones. -Travis Elliot
Why chronic back pain is connected to “your head” - an article from Harvard Health on the Psychology of low back pain
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a firm believer in the mind body connection and I love decoding the emotional and psychological messages that underlie illness or pain.
When it comes to low back pain, it can 100% be linked to stress.
In this post i'm going to discuss the emotional correlation to low back pain, and then explain some Yin shapes to help relieve that pain over time with consistent practice and in co-ordination with you breath. I have a post dedicated directly to Sciatica which I will share soon. I always tell my clients Yin Yoga is expressed in "shapes" versus striving to achieve an asana or pose, avoiding the competitive urges we have to be like everyone else in our practice. A shape is simply the position that works for your body as you create tension and compression on the fascial tissues during your Yin.
I hear about alot of back and hip pain in my practice, and I usually hear its from sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, and or repetitive strain by manual labor, lifting heavy items or some other non specific back injury. Both extremes involve not practicing of counter balancing the strain to the fascia.
The more rest and restoration you experience, the more dominant the parasympathetic nervous system is and therefore,
the more effective you can manage stress
the better your sleep quality
less inflammation throughout the body
more efficient brain performance
There's a point to emphasizing the benefits of finding that rest and digest state of mind and body (parasympathetic), we access this state with breath and yin yoga.
If the lower back pain is related to stress and living in the constant fight or flight or freeze mind and body state, or the sympathetic survival mode, we can release and restore ourselves with consistent practice of relaxation and calmness through a gentle approach of yin yoga and an awareness of our individual center of balance.
To honor and respect our own signals, our body speaking loudly, telling us we are in need of a break, or change.
Dial it back, take control of our signs before it's too late and we are forced into a precarious position of needing surgery or worse.
There is new research to suggest that sympathetic living (stress living in a state of fear) is now known as a primary cause of the biggest diseases on the planet, from heart disease, stroke and cancer. How can we prevent this from continuing to dominate our lives, when we need to maintain a constant fast consistent pace to keep up with our demanding schedules and families?
We make a choice, either do it now while it's a preventative measure, to include self care as part of your routine on a consistent basis, or wait until we are unable to. Either way you are making a choice. Now, or later, you choose or your body will force you to.
Ok so back to hips and low back...
when it comes to the emotional side of things, this is a very real connection, the quote "issues in your tissues" isn't just a fun rhyme, but it hold deep meaning. We store memory in our cells, and even our heart has it's very own memory cells! Kinda cool..
The low back has an emotional connection related to support, the low back expresses all the weight and responsibility of being. Feeling as though there is no one to help with the weight of the world, no sense of feeling supported.
The most common cases of chronic back pain are usually due to muscle tension and spasms, and will continue if the underlying problem is not addressed.
The deeper emotional story is revealed and released. Its often anger, fear, exhaustion of trying to prove something to someone, whatever it is, it's well hidden, in the back (if you can't see them, no one else can)
During movement work with your back, you can allow deep layers of emotional stress to let go and let yourself feel them and move through them.
Some questions to ask yourself
Is there something you are pushing away?
Is something holding you back from moving forward?
Is there too much you are taking on without any support or help? Why aren't you able to ask for help?
Are you dealing with any feelings of being let down?
This is a very short basic post on a few things to barely scratch the surface on some pain and issues in the body.
Some questions and you know your answers... through a regular consistent lifestyle change, of adding some yoga into your daily rituals, you can begin a path of answering these yourself, we have everything we need deep within us. We just have to remember. We are the power and there is nothing outside of us that can help us more then our own utilization of the innate awareness of this understanding.
Here are some great low back Yin shapes to get you started
And I LOVE yin with Kassandra, she really takes her time in the shapes and it allows for a great energy in the class, enjoy!
I also of course fully agree with your seeking professional advising and your daily health care routine and I am merely sharing my personal tips and quotes and references to help in any way that I feel I can.