9 Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain

Yoga can be an effective way to relieve upper back pain. Practicing yoga regularly can help stretch, strengthen and increase flexibility in the muscles of the back. Here are some yoga poses that can help relieve upper back pain.

9 Yoga Poses For Upper Back Pain:

9 Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain
9 Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain

1_Thread The Needle:

The term “thread the needle” can refer to a yoga pose or the act of passing a thread through the eye of a needle. In the context of yoga, “thread the needle” is a pose that helps relieve upper back pain by opening and stretching the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and spine. It also allows for a light twist in the spine and promotes a sense of calm in the body.

How to Practice Thread The Needle:
  • Start in a tabletop position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Inhale and reach your right arm up toward the ceiling.
  • Exhale and thread your right arm under your left arm by bringing your right shoulder and ear to the mat.
  • You can extend your left arm forward or wrap it around your back.
  • Hold the pose for several breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Benefits of Thread The Needle:
  • Opens up the chest and shoulders.
  • Releases tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
  • Increases spinal mobility primarily at the thoracic.
  • Relaxes the body and quiets the mind.
  • Can help to alleviate neck and upper back pain.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Provides a gentle twisting motion that helps stretch and loosen the muscles in the low back.

2_Hero Pose:

Hero Pose or Virasana is a yoga pose that involves kneeling with the buttocks resting on the floor between the feet. It is a gentle stretching pose that opens the hips and thighs. The pose is often used as a seated meditation posture and is a good alternative to Lotus Pose for those with tight hips. It is also very efficient in the relief of upper back pain.

How to Practice Hero Pose:
  • Begin in an all fours position and bring your knees closer together while separating your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart.
  • Slowly lower your hips back until you are sitting on the mat between your heels.
  • It is important to use props such as cushions or blocks to raise the hips up if there is any discomfort in the knees.
  • This can help reduce the pressure on knee flexion and internal hip rotation.
Benefits of Hero Pose:
  • Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles.
  • Strengthens the arches of the feet.
  • Improves digestion and relieves gas.
  • Improves posture and spinal alignment which can lead to better breathing and mental focus during meditation and pranayama (breath control) exercises.
  • Hero Pose is a great alternative to Lotus Pose for meditation and can be used to energize the legs when they are tired.

3_Puppy Pose:

Puppy Pose also known as Uttana Shishosana is a yoga pose that is a cross between Downward-Facing Dog and Child’s Pose. It is a relaxing backbend that stretches the spine, shoulders and upper back and can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. It is very efficient in the case of upper back pain.

How to Practice Puppy Pose:
  • Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
  • Walk your hands out in front of you by keeping your hips stacked over your knees.
  • Lower your chest toward the ground while keeping your arms extended.
  • Rest your forehead on the mat and keep your neck relaxed.
  • You can also extend your arms further to feel a stretch in your shoulders, spine and arms.
  • Hold the pose for a few minutes by breathing deeply.
Benefits of Puppy Pose:
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and upper back.
  • Relieves tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • Opens up the chest and lungs.
  • Helps to calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Prepares the body for deeper backbends.
  • Improves flexibility especially in the spine.
  • Strengthens and stretches the arms, hips and upper back.

4/5_Cat/Cow Pose:

Cat Cow Pose also known as Chakravakasana is a gentle yoga flow between two poses that warms the body and also brings the flexibility to the spine. It is often used as a warm-up sequence and is beneficial for stretching the back torso and neck by stimulating and strengthening the abdominal organs and opening the chest which is very useful in increasing height. It is very efficient in relieving upper back pain.

How to Practice Cat/Cow Pose:
  • Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Inhale and lift your tailbone and head towards the ceiling by arching your back and moving into Cow Pose.
  • Exhale and round your spine by tucking your chin to your chest and moving into Cat Pose.
  • Repeat the flow by moving between Cow and Cat Pose with each inhale and exhale.
Benefits of Cat/Cow Pose:
  • The synchronized breath movement of Cat-Cow Pose is said to improve posture and balance by making it ideal for those with back pain.
  • The pose strengthens and stretches the spine, neck, hips, abdomen and back by increasing coordination and flexibility.
  • Coordinating the movement with breathing relieves stress, calms the mind and increases emotional balance.
  • Cat-Cow Pose softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs by encouraging slow and deep breathing.
  • The pose is known to help relieve stress from the female reproductive system and menstrual cramp.
  • Synchronizing breathing with movement in this pose focuses the mind and increases emotional balance.

6_Camel Pose:

Camel Pose also known as the Ustrasana is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body. It is performed on the knees and is often used as preparation for deeper backbends and is very good for the knee pain and also very efficient in upper back pain.

How to Practice Camel Pose:
  • Kneel on the floor or a yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart and your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
  • Place your palms on your hips and keep your outer hips as soft as possible. Make sure your soles face upward and your toes are touching the floor. Your back should be straight, and you should feel a slight stretch in your back muscles.
  •  As you inhale engage your lower belly and lift your gaze by beginning to bend backward.
  •  Gently arch your back by lifting your chest and shoulders toward the ceiling. Keep your neck neutral or slightly bent and avoid straining your neck or tightening your throat.
  • Maintain the pose for 30 seconds to a minute by breathing deeply and calmly .
  • As you exhale slowly come out of the pose by lowering your chest and head back to the starting position.
Benefits of Camel Pose:
  • Camel Pose stretches the ankles, thighs, groins, abdomen, chest and throat
  • It can also stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas).
  • Camel Pose strengthens the back muscles, the back of the thighs and the buttocks (glutes).
  • Practicing Camel Pose can help improve posture by opening up the chest and shoulders.
  • Camel Pose stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck by improving digestion and respiration.
  • Practicing Camel Pose daily can be a great way to relieve neck and back pain caused by slouching in front of a computer or driving.

7_Bridge Pose:

Bridge Pose also known as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a yoga pose that involves lifting the hips and sternum while pressing the arms down into the mat to create a bridge-like effect. It is very useful in the relief of upper back pain.

How to Practice Bridge Pose:
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the mat, hip-distance apart.
  • Bring your arms alongside your body and palms down.
  • On an inhalation press down firmly through your feet and lift your hips by initiating the movement from the pubic bone rather than the navel.
  • Press your upper arms down and lift your chest slightly toward your chin.
  • You can interlace your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders under to lift your chest higher.
  • Hold the pose for 5 to 15 breaths then release your hands and slowly lower your spine back down on an exhalation.
Benefits of Bridge Pose:
  • Stretches the spine, chest and neck.
  • Strengthens the back, buttocks and hamstrings.
  • Improves circulation of blood.
  • Helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
  • Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands and abdominal organs.
  • Improves spinal mobility.

8_Lord Of The Fishes:

Lord of the Fishes Pose also known as Matsyendrasana is a seated yoga pose that involves a deep spinal twist. It is named after the legendary yogi Matsyendranath. The pose is known for its ability to increase spinal rotation and boost blood flow to the disks and build strength and flexibility in the erector spinae muscles which support the spine. It is a deep restorative twist that is both strengthening and rejuvenating. It is very useful for upper back pain.

How to Practice Lord Of The Fishes:
  • Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
  • Slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip.
  • Cross your right foot over your left leg and place it on the floor next to your left knee, with your right knee pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Inhale and lengthen your spine and then exhale and twist to the right by placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.
  • Hold the twist for several breaths and then inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale to deepen the twist.
  • To release the pose inhale and lengthen your spine and then exhale and unwind the twist.
Benefits of Lord Of The Fishes:
  • Improved digestion.
  • Increased spinal rotation.
  • Boosted blood flow to the disks.
  • Strengthened erector spinae muscles.
  • Stretched hips, shoulders and neck.

9_Reclined Bound Angle:

Reclined Bound Angle Pose also known as the Supta Baddha Konasana is a restorative yoga pose that is deeply relaxing and recommended for practitioners of all levels. It is a hip-opening asana that instills a sense of deep relaxation. It is very efficient for upper back pain.

How to Practice Reclined Bound Angle Pose:
  • Lie straight and flat on the ground.
  • Bend your knees to bring the soles of your feet together to touch.
  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Stay in the pose for up to a minute, breathing deeply and slowly.
Benefits of Reclined Bound Angle Pose:
  • Lowered blood pressure.
  • Decreased heart rate.
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Relief from fatigue and insomnia.
  • Reduce nervous tension and stress.


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