NEW YORK, NY - We've heard about the health benefits of yoga. Now it may be able to help with back pain. The key to relief appears to be in doing yoga upside down.
It's called antigravity yoga. As you hang, swing, and flip around in a hammock, instructors say it helps decompress and realign the spine.
Joni Dropkin had back surgery in 2011 for a herniated disk and recently tried an antigravity yoga class.
"I always did yoga and I loved standing on my head and I wasn't allowed to do that anymore. So being upside down and having my whole spine decompress is just the best feeling," said Joni.
Sheryl Dluginsky had hip replacement.
"The decompression of the spine and joints creates space in that joint that used to be arthritic so that feels great," said Sheryl.
Dr. Eizabeth Manejias is a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. She warns against overextending or arching your back.
"When you're suspended it almost acts like a traction of the back which can be therapeutic. However, if you have an area of the spine that is inflamed, having traction at that segment can cause pain," said Dr. Manejias.
She also says those who have spinal stenosis or arthritis of small joints of the lower back can experience increased stress on the joints with particular maneuvers.
Upside down yoga classes are now offered across the country. Antigravity yoga can be used for all fitness levels, but it does take some getting used to. However, the head rush can be a problem. It's recommended you don't take the class if you have high blood pressure or glaucoma. And check with your doctor first before taking the class.