6 Yoga Exercises for Upper Back Pain

Yoga exercises can help relieve upper back pain. (Photo via Pexels/ Marcus Aurelius)
Yoga exercises can help relieve upper back pain. (Photo via Pexels/ Marcus Aurelius)

If you're dealing with upper back pain, consider incorporating yoga exercises into your daily routine.

Practicing a few yoga exercises every day can help release tension from the back muscles, keeping them strengthened and mobilized. Additionally, yoga can also ease tightness and pain in the upper back while building your core muscles, which can lead to improved posture.

Yoga poses can improve your overall body awareness, increase strength in your muscles, and work as an excellent preventive therapy.

Yoga Exercises for Upper Back Pain

Try the following six yoga exercises every day to ease the back pain and the discomfort that accompanies it:

1) Downward-facing Dog

The downward-facing dog is a classic yoga exercise that includes a forward bend and helps relieve upper back pain. This yoga pose helps correct imbalances in the body and works on several muscles, including your hamstrings, quads, triceps, and glutes.

To do this pose:

  • Take a position on all fours, with your hands and knees on the mat or floor.
  • Press firmly into your hands; lift your knees, and tuck your toes as you lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling.
  • Make sure to lengthen your tailbone and spine, and keep a bend in your knees.
  • Press down through your hands, and shift your weight evenly between both sides of your body.
  • Hold this pose for up to a minute, and release. Repeat.

2) Thread the Needle Pose

The thread the needle pose in yoga helps stretch and open your upper body muscles. This is a restorative pose that opens the upper back muscles and gives the shoulders the space they need.

To do this pose:

  • Start in a tabletop position, and move your hands out in the front till they get below your shoulders.
  • Keep your arms straight and body stable.
  • Bring your right arm under your left arm while rotating your chest towards the left. Keep the back of your right hand on the floor with your palm facing up.
  • Lower your right shoulder while placing the right side of your head on the floor.
  • Stay in this posture for a few seconds, and push up through your left arm to get back to the start.
  • Repeat on the other side.

3) Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

The half lord of the fishes is a twisting pose that provides energy to your back and spine. It also allows a gentle stretch for your shoulders, neck, and hips.

To do this pose:

  • Sit straight, and bring your left foot in towards your body.
  • Bring your right foot outside of your left leg, and stretch your back as you rotate your body towards your right.
  • You may put your right hand behind you for extra support.
  • Hold the posture for a few seconds, and release..
  • Switch sides, and repeat.

4) Sphinx Pose

The sphinx pose is a gentle backbend that strengthens your butt and spine. This yoga exercise helps stretch your abdomen, shoulders and chest, and relieves stress.

To do this pose:

  • Lie face down with your legs behind you. Engage your lower back, butts, and thigh muscles throughout the move.
  • Move your elbows under your shoulders, and keep your forearms on the floor with your palms facing down.
  • Lift your head and upper torso followed by your lower abdominal muscles to support your back.
  • Make sure you're lifting through your head and spine and not bending into your lower back.
  • Keep your gaze forward, and relax.
  • Stay in the pose for a few minutes, and release.

5) Locust Pose

The locust pose is a calming backbend in yoga that eases upper back pain and also stretches your legs, torso, and arms.

To do this pose:

  • Lie down comfortably on your belly with your arms on your sides and palms facing up.
  • Position your feet at a hip distance and place your head on the floor.
  • Slowly lift your head, arms and chest as far as you can.
  • For a deeper stretch, lift your legs simultaneously as you raise your upper body.
  • Stay in this posture for a minute, and release.

6) Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend is a classic pose that helps relieve upper back pain and also offers a gentle stretch to your hamstrings.

To do this pose:

  • Sit with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Reach your arms to your sides overhead, and bring them towards the ceiling.
  • Stretch your spine, and move forward into a bend. Make sure to keep your spine lengthened as you bend forward.
  • Stay in this posture for a few seconds, and keep your feet flexed throughout the exercise.
  • You can also hold onto your ankles for a deeper stretch.

Bottom Line

While the aforementioned yoga exercises work wonders when it comes to easing upper back pain, do not attempt them if the pain is severe.

Consult your doctor or physical therapist to determine if the poses are safe for you. Moreover, if you're pregnant, avoid forward-bending yoga poses, and talk to your doctor for safer exercise options.

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Edited by Bhargav