The 10 Best Yoga Poses For Upper Back Pain Relief

Yoga Poses Upper Back Pain Relief

The upper back, also called the thoracic spine, serves as the primary structural support for the torso. It keeps the body upright and maintains good posture. Since it supports so much weight and allows for many movements, it is prone to tightness and aches. Thankfully, there are yoga poses for upper back pain relief.

What Are The Common Causes Of Upper Back Pain?

Upper back pain is the burning or pulling sensation between the base of the neck and the bone just below the ribcage. 

This type of pain affects around 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men. Although it is less common than neck pain or lower back pain, it has to be taken seriously since it can cause discomfort and lifestyle changes.1,2

Addressing upper back pain, tightness, and stiffness starts with knowing the source. Its common causes include:

  • Poor posture
  • Improper lifting technique
  • Muscle overuse
  • Pinched nerve
  • Traumatic injuries 
  • Wear and tear of cushioning between the vertebrae due to aging
  • Degenerative bone disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Myofascial pain
  • Spinal infection
  • Lung cancer

Yoga To Relief Upper Back Pain

Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain Relief Shoulder

Popping pain relievers and applying ice to the painful areas on the back may provide temporary relief. However, keeping the spine healthy is key to addressing upper back pain, and one of the best ways to do this is to practice yoga. 

This ancient practice isn’t just about easing the mind. According to a study, it may treat chronic spinal pain. This can be especially effective if the yoga program is customized to unique needs.

Here are 10 yoga poses for upper back pain that are worth trying. 3

1. Cat-Cow

Cat Pose Yoga
Cat Pose

The combined cat and cow yoga poses can serve as a warm-up for the spine. They loosen up the tightness in the upper back by stretching the trapezius and rhomboids.

  • Start in a tabletop position
  • Inhale while tilting your pelvis upward, lowering your belly towards the floor, and bringing your head up
  • Exhale while arching your back and lowering your head and pelvis
  • Shift between these two poses for eight rounds of breath
Cow Pose Yoga
Cow Pose

2. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)

Thread the Needle Pose Yoga Parsva Balasana

This restorative pose relieves tension by loosening the upper back muscles. It targets the rhomboids, trapezius, and shoulders. 

  • Start in a tabletop position
  • Inhale while lifting your right arm towards the sky
  • Exhale while threading your right arm under your left arm
  • Twist your chest to the right and rest the back of your left hand on the mat
  • Hold for eight breaths, then repeat on your left arm

3. Hero Pose Eagle Arms

This warm-up yoga pose takes the stress away from the upper back, shoulders, and legs. It relieves the tension in the space between the rhomboids, traps, and rear delts.

  • Kneel with your legs together with hips resting on your heels
  • Wrap your right arm under your left
  • Bring both palms to touch
  • Align your elbows with your shoulders 
  • Press your forearms forwards
  • Hold for eight breaths

4. Child Pose

Child Pose Yoga

This position is one of the most popular Yoga pose as it will stretch the entire spine. It relieves upper back pain by loosening the frontal chest and shoulder muscles.

  • Start in a tabletop position
  • Bring your feet together and place your knees out wide
  • Rest your hips onto your heels
  • Walk your hands forwards while lowering your chest towards the floor
  • Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides

5. Double V Pose

This pose alleviates pain in the upper back and rear delts. It stretches the shoulders, neck, rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi.

  • Put a block at the top of your mat
  • Lie down on your belly
  • Prop yourself up
  • Cross your right arm underneath your collarbone, then repeat on your left arm
  • Walk your fingers forwards as far as they can go
  • Rest your forehead on the block
  • Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides

Read More: Best Home Remedies For Shoulder Pain Relief

6. Puppy Pose

Puppy Pose Yoga

This is a modified downward dog pose. It relieves pain in the shoulders, chest, trapezius, lats, and serratus anterior.

  • Start in a tabletop position
  • Walk your hands forwards to pull your chest down and elongate your spine
  • Rest your forehead on the mat
  • Hold for eight breaths

Read More: Best Yoga Poses For Beginners

7. Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

Shasangasana (Rabbit yoga pose)

This pose loosens the spine and stimulates the intervertebral disks. It eases shoulder and back tension.

  • Start in a tabletop position
  • Bring your legs together and rest your hips on your heels
  • Walk your hands forwards until you lower your chest onto your thighs
  • Reach your feet with your arms, then grab onto your heels
  • Place your chin towards your chest
  • Rest the top of your head on the mat
  • Inhale while lifting your hips up
  • Hold for eight breaths

8. Reclining Bound Angle Pose With a Bolster

Reclining Bound Angle Pose With a Bolster

This restorative position relaxes the abdominal muscles. When used with a bolster, it expands the upper chest.

  • Begin in a staff pose with your legs extended in front of you
  • Place a bolster beneath your spine
  • Bend your knees, pull your heels in toward your pelvis, and press the soles of your feet together
  • Bring your elbows to the mat and lower your back as far as you can
  • Adjust your position accordingly to elongate your spine along the floor
  • Bring your shoulder blades inward and relax your arms with palms facing up
  • Hold for 1-10 minutes

9. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Camel Pose Ustrasana Yoga

This energizing backbend counteracts the effects of slouching. It reduces back pain and improves posture by keeping the chest and shoulders open. 

  • Kneel down with your legs hip-width apart
  • Place your hands on your hips with your thumbs pressed against the base of your spine
  • Keep your hips aligned above your knees
  • Squeeze your inner thighs together
  • Inhale as you raise your torso and place your elbows together
  • Raise your head towards the ceiling
  • Hold for a breath

Read More: Best Acupressure Points For Shoulder Pain

10. Supine Twist

Supine Twist Yoga pose

This relaxing pose is the perfect yoga session ender. It improves spinal mobility and relieves tension along the spine, chest, and shoulders.

  • Lie down on your back with the feet flat and knees bent
  • Bring your knee into your chest
  • Stretch your arm out to the side with your palm facing down
  • Guide your leg across your body with your hand
  • Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides

In Short

Doing these yoga poses for upper back pain can effectively relieve the strain from poor posture or countless hours of sitting. But before practicing yoga, make sure to follow proper form and speed.

As with any physical activity, yoga may result in injuries if you’re not careful. Keep in mind that there are at least 1.18 injuries per 1000 yoga hours among yoga practitioners.4

To prevent over-stretching your muscles and joints, listen to your body to avoid overdoing the yoga poses. Consulting your doctor before starting the practice is also advisable.



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