Yoga for Low Back Pain – Herniated Discs

Yoga for Low Back Pain – Herniated Discs

Hi friends in yoga!  This is one, big, Universal job posting from the medical community.  We need your help!  A very exciting article was published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Created by American College of Physicians, the new low back pain treatment recommendations for medical doctors affects the future, health, and safety of  millions of people.  Did you know that one out of every four Americans suffer from low back pain?  We’re talking an $80 billion industry (yes that billion with a B!)  That’s a lot of people, pain and unnecessary medical procedures.

We’ve known for a very long time that different asana sequences combined with meditation are not only a cure but also a prevention for many types of back pain.  Now it will be recommended literally to millions of patients by their medical doctors.

Why is this new medical article so important for people who suffer from low back pain?  Two words: opioid addiction.  We’ve hit crisis mode here in America. According to the CDC, there has been a 300% increase in opioid prescription sales since 1999 without an overall change in reported pain.  Opioid overdose deaths (deaths!!!) have quadrupled and opioid use disorder/addiction is at its peak.  Did I mention there is no overall change in reported pain?


What are opioids?  I’m so glad you asked.

Opioids are pain-relieving medications.    You may have heard of a few: hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin & Percocet), morphine, codeine, and many other related drugs.   For those who think their designer drugs are perfectly safe for regular use, heroin is also an opioid, for a little perspective. These drugs reduce the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain and turn down the effects of a painful stimulus.


Why are these new medical recommendations so important for yoga teachers?  If you ever wanted to make an impact in the lives of others through yoga AND develop a solid yoga business, now is the time!  I am not kidding when I say that the demand for qualified yoga teachers – those who have a strong knowledge of alignment and safety precautions as well as working with special populations – is going to explode in the coming years.  Your time has come to join us formally in the healthcare offices and help a LOT of people lead a better quality of life through yoga.

Whew.  Very exciting news.  That being said, here is an important piece of low back pain education to get you started.  While there are MANY flavors of lower back pain, today I’ll share some nuggets of knowledge to help you better understand herniated or bulging discs in the lower back.   

Vertebral discs are like the cushions, or shock absorbers, that pad in between every single stacking bone, or vertebra, of the spine.  We also know this area to be the path of Kundalini and our chakras.  That’s how important it is to become intimately familiar with the spine!

Due to poor biomechanics, prolonged sitting (hello yoga students!), repetitive lumbar flexion exercises, car accidents, sports injuries and too much physical and chemical stress over time, these delightful shock absorbers can break open and let out the cushy jelly center.  Think: stepping on a jelly donut.

While there is a library of additional information to learn about herniated discs, here are some important guidelines if your yoga student brings some *old, healed herniated lumbar discs onto their mat:

What makes lumbar herniated discs worse?  Lumbar Flexion.  It puts more pressure on the disc! 


What makes lumbar herniated discs feel better?  Lumbar Extension. It takes pressure off of the discs!



Like what you heard?  Want a copy of the medical article recommending yoga?  Feel free to reach out with questions and comments to

About Dr. Sandra Doman:

Dr. Sandra L. Doman is a chiropractor and registered yoga teacher. Her progressive approach to rehab led her to develop A Yoga Doc’s Guide to Working with Injuries©, a program to teach yoga teachers how to work with injuries. She is the orthopedic injuries educator for all Equinox gyms in South Florida. Dr. Doman is the on-site chiropractor for the Dwyane Wade, University of Miami, and Shaquille O’Neill basketball camps as well as at Gulfstream Park for the jockeys.  In 2010 Dr. Doman opened Miami Sports Chiropractic & Yoga Center in Aventura Florida, Miami’s first physician-supervised yoga therapy center.