Yoga Poses For Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can be extremely frustrating and discomforting. It not only affects your ability to carry out day-to-day activities, but it also can make participating in any sort of physical activity or exercise difficult. Thankfully, yoga provides some relief! Yoga is an incredibly versatile form of exercise and techniques can vary from gentle stretching exercises to more rigorous poses. Practising specific yoga poses can help to alleviate upper back pain. Here are some of the poses which are best for upper back pain.

Cat and cow pose

Woman in a cat and cow pose, lightly stretching in a forward position.
The cat and cow pose is a gentle yoga pose that’s great for relieving tension and tightness in the body. To move into the pose, begin by dropping to all fours. Place your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Inhale and arch your back, moving the spine between your shoulder blades and look up. This is the cow pose. Then exhale and round the back, curling the spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin towards your chest and pushing the navel towards the floor. This is the cat pose. The cat and cow pose helps to stretch the spine and can help restore mobility and reduce pain in the upper back.

Seated spinal twist

The seated spinal twist is another yoga pose that can be beneficial for relieving tension in the upper back. Start by sitting on the floor with both feet stretched out and together. Then bend your right knee and place it on the floor as close to your stomach as possible. Place your left hand on the floor beside you and your right hand on your right knee. Slowly twist your upper body to the right, using your left arm to support your upper body as you turn. When the twist is complete, look over your right shoulder and inhale deeply, stretching your chest and arms. Hold the pose for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side. The seated spinal twist can help to stretch the upper back, release muscle tension and improve mobility.

Locust pose

Woman in a locust pose, lifting her chest off the ground.
The locust pose is a more active pose that can help strengthen the back muscles and reduce pain. Begin by lying on your stomach, with your arms at your sides and the forehead resting on the floor. Then inhale and lift your arms, legs and chest off the floor. When all the body parts are raised, hold the pose for a few breaths, focusing on keeping your back muscles firm. Then, slowly exhale and release your body back to the floor. The locust pose strengthens the all the muscles in the back without putting too much strain, making it perfect for those suffering from upper back pain.

Yoga poses can bring relief from upper back pain, whether you’ve been suffering from it for a long time or you’re dealing with a more recent onset. Practising these simple poses, alongside other exercises and lifestyle changes, can help to reduce pain, restore mobility and relax the body. Always, it’s important to listen to your body while practising yoga and if your pain worsens, it’s best to take a break or go back to the simpler poses.

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