Backbends involve arching your spine backward, creating a deep extension and opening in the front of your body. They’re called "backbends" because they primarily focus on bending your spine in the opposite direction of its natural curves. With this in mind we discuss the benefits and dangers of strong back bends.
So, are backbends of any benefit?
Backbends can increase flexibility by stretching the muscles, ligaments, and joints of the front of your body, and also improve strength, function, and posture. We spend so much time sitting and hunched forward, bending backwards reverses this position.
There may be other benefits too. In yoga practice it’s believed that poses that open up your body may increase self-confidence, positive emotion, and energy.
Are back bends safe to do?
Backbends involve moving your spine in ways that may be unfamiliar. To perform them safely requires awareness, caution, and proper technique. If you rush ahead without preparation and conditioning, you could damage your back, especially if you have existing spinal issues.
Also, backbends may not be suitable for everyone due to differences in body structure, or existing health conditions. Additionally, not being fit, strong or flexible can increase the potential risk of injury associated with deep backbends.
Guidance for safe stretching
With that being said, let’s look at some guidance to lower your risk of injuries when doing back bends of any degree.
Before you begin, warm up your body with gentle stretches and movements. Ensure your core muscles are engaged and start with slight backward bends. Listen to your body; if you’re ready you can slowly, cautiously work up to a deeper stretch. Use counter-postures like forward bends or gentle twists to balance your practice.
Keep in mind that advanced backbend postures are not necessary, you can stick with slight, gentle backward stretches. If you experience any pain or strain in your back, stop. Never force your body beyond its limits.
In summary: backbends can be safe and helpful for some people, however it’s important to seek advice before beginning. We can help determine if backbends are suitable for you, what intensity of stretch is best for your body, and advise you on correct technique.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.