4 Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain

yoga poses for upper back pain

You must be in pain, hence you were browsing Doctor Google looking for yoga poses for upper back pain. We hope you landed here before the pain took an excruciating turn. 

Now that you are here, we will discuss some basic yoga poses for upper back pain. If you practice these yoga poses for upper back pain at your pace, you will soon find relief. Before we proceed to postures, understand the reasons that could be causing pain in the upper back. 

Upper back pain is caused by poor posture, stress, or tension in the upper back muscles. Yoga has proven to be a great way to relieve this pain and improve overall posture and flexibility. We advise you to discuss this with your physician before you begin.

Always remember to start slow. Look for the poses that are targeted at beginners. Ease yourself into a yoga routine, and gradually work on the intensity. Some yoga poses look tempting but don’t exert yourself, only stretch as much as you can, tomorrow is another day. Slowly and surely you will reach the poses that would help elevate the pain.

How to Prepare for Yoga 

mat for yoga

Here are some preparations to begin yoga poses for upper back pain:

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Try to have a light stomach before the session. Early morning is the best time, but you do you.
  • Have a yoga mat ready. You will find tons of yoga mats online. If you don’t have one, use a blanket until you develop a routine and order a mat.
  • Don’t drink a lot of water before the session.

Most important: Don’t stress yourself. Take some time to learn the poses. A yoga instructor on YouTube is an expert and can stretch because of years of practice. Slowly learn your way to do a pose.  

4 Yoga Poses for Upper Back Pain


The asana combines two essentials flexing and breathing. While you shift from cow pose to cat pose, the upper back arches gently, easing the muscle tension.

Spread the mat, or use a blanket to attempt the yoga poses for upper back pain comfortably. 

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. 
  • Now, inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (Cow Pose). 
  • Exhale and round your spine, bringing your chin to your chest and your tailbone towards your knees (Cat Pose). 
  • Repeat several times, moving between Cow and Cat Pose with your breath.

Remember, sometimes unintentionally; you can stretch your neck far too much when attempting cat pose or straining too much to tuck the neck in. Be mindful and keep your neck relaxed. Also, keeping your hands straight will attain the best focus and stretch on the spine.   

Child’s Pose

child pose yoga

This asana is known as a pause between the difficult asana sequences. But the underrated pose has several benefits besides the cool down between poses.   

As you stretch your arms straight on your mat, you stretch the back muscles, gluteal, thighs, shins, and quadriceps. Moreover, it is a great stretch to alleviate the symptoms of PMS, migraines, and headaches. It is one of the top picks for yoga poses for upper back pain.    

  • Begin with your hands and knees on the mat. 
  • Spread the knees a little while the top of your toes touches the mat. 
  • Now rest the belly between the thighs and the root of your forehead on the mat. 
  • Stretch your arms in front of you whilst your palms are facing toward the mat. 

Since you will stay in this position for sixty seconds or more, try to be comfortable. If needed, you can place a towel under your forehead or knees. Don’t try to exert your muscles by doing a full arm stretch. Keep breathing steady breathes.  

Thread the Needle

This posture is best known for upper back and shoulder pain. A slight twist-of-the-spine reduces the tension in the upper back muscles. The posture is one of the beginner poses; hence anyone can attempt it after a complete understanding of the pose.

  • Begin with all fours on the mat.
  • Your palms should be right under the shoulder. Meanwhile, the knees should be right under the hips.
  • Place your knees wide apart while your fingertips touch the mat. In yoga, we call it the Table Pose.
  • As you exhale, bring your right arm underneath the left arm with your palm facing upward.
  • Gradually bring your right shoulder to touch the mat in a way your right ear and cheek would be touching the mat.
  • Stay in this pose for sixty seconds and breathe slowly. You will feel the muscle tension easing gradually.https://youtu.be/hdAKRgtCrlY
  • As you release, bring the right arm back slightly, returning to the table pose.
  • Now do the pose on the other side.

You can use the support of a wall or blanket to create a comfortable position. Remember, do not stretch a lot. You are attempting these yoga poses for upper back pain, so tread with care and stay comfortable at all times. Perfection will come gradually.

Sphinx Pose

sphinx pose

It is one of the beginners poses that prepare you to do elaborate poses with continual practice. It stretches and opens the chest, lung, and back muscles.

Also, this pose is great for those who suffer from wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. In general, it has various invigorating benefits to the back, shoulder muscles, digestive, and nervous systems.

  • Start from the floor by lying face down with legs extended and hips wide apart. Keep the arms on the sides and the chin on the mat.
  • Gently press the tops of the feet on the mat and spread the toes. Relax the spine.
  • Now bring the arms up while resting elbows under the shoulder, keeping forearms parallel. Meanwhile, the fingers would be pointing forward.
  • As you inhale, press the forearms on the floor, lifting your chest and head off the floor.
  • Meanwhile, press the pubic bone on the floor, engaging your legs. To attain a better position, roll the outer thighs towards the floor to lengthen the lower back.
  • Make sure the elbows are tucked on the sides.
  • To attain the perfect sphinx pose, drop the shoulder blades slightly and draw the chest forward. Lengthen the tailbone towards the heels.
  • Draw the chin towards the back of the neck; meanwhile, soften the gaze.
  • Take a couple of breaths in this pose.
  • As you release from the pose, exhale and lower the torso, chest, and head to the floor. Bring the arms to the sides, rest the hide on the side, and relax.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have a yoga mat, is it necessary to buy a mat?

No, You can use an old blanket and fold it to create a makeshift mat.

Which yoga asana is best for upper back pain?

Child Pose
Downward-Facing Dog
Extended Triangle
Thread the Needle
Sphinx Pose
Cobra Pose
Locust Pose
Bridge Pose

How to strengthen upper back with yoga?

Child Pose
Thread the Needle
Downward- Facing Dog

Parting Wisdom

If you are trying to address upper back and shoulder pain, yoga is a great help. It is advised to consult your physician and rule out any complications before you attempt yoga poses for upper back pain.

If you have had any accidental injuries, procedures, or other conditions, ask your physician before you attempt these yoga poses for upper back pain.

To see the visible effects of yoga, you need to add yoga to your routine. If you consistently attempt for a week, you will start noticing the difference. When you progress in your yoga routine, consider hatha yoga as it has amazing health benefits.

To work in an elaborate program, follow Yoga With Adrienne as she takes you through the daily journey of integrating yoga for well-being.

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Heidi Lane
Heidi Lane is the lead writer at Dwell HQ. She cannot help herself and continues enrolling in new courses. Being curious and unsatiated comes with its set of adavantages. Her recent obsession is SEO. Besides providing SEO services to businesses, writing, and her day job as an editor for online editorials, she loves to read in spare time. A nomad by heart, enjoying the digital nomad life in various countries. 12 destinations explored, more to go. A foodie at heart, now very hurt with recent life changes that comes with gluten allergy.