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Yoga for Upper Back Pain: Five Poses to Relieve a Stiff, Sore Back

A Widespread American Problem

Over 31 million Americans suffer from low back pain at any given time, making it the second most common reason for doctor visits. Luckily, there are simple things patients can do to prevent this pain and to keep their bodies healthy, including practicing yoga.

The health benefits of yoga are vast. While most people participate in yoga for fitness, stress relief, and overall wellness, researchers are discovering other advantages. There is improvement in cardio health, fatigue, obesity, and even asthma. The benefit that our affiliated providers at National Spine & Pain Centers are most pleased to see is yoga providing relief for patients with upper back pain.

​​Why Stretching Helps

Most of us can benefit from stretching the sensitive soft tissues — the muscles, ligaments, and tendons — in the back, legs, buttocks, and around the spine. Limitations in motion can make our pain worse. Our bodies respond to gentle stretching, and staying limber can help with our long-term quality of life and our general health for the whole body.

If you have ongoing pain, it might take many weeks or months of regular stretching or other back exercises to loosen the spine and soft tissues. You will find that this can increase your range of motion as well as prove helpful in the long term. Before starting any exercise routine, it is always advisable to speak with a pain management physician.

Yoga for Upper Back Pain

Yoga for upper back pain not only alleviates mild pain or discomfort but when used on a regular basis, is a great preventative therapy. Let’s look at ways you can stretch your back to relieve strain on those affected muscles.

First, understand that the benefits of yoga are not just the controlled movements but also breathing through the movements on the inhale or exhale as directed. The movement, combined with the oxygen transfer, provides the biggest benefit.

Consider the following yoga poses for upper back pain relief:


This movement makes you look like a cat when they round their back. You are on all fours, balancing your weight, and stretching the upper back by curving it.

Extended Triangle

This is a classic standing pose, accentuating good posture. It is very good for neck pain as you extend your arms and achieve a relieving stretch.

Cobra Pose

Lying down on your stomach, use your arms to slowly raise your upper body. This provides great shoulder relief and builds strength.

Half Lord of The Fishes

Performed while seated, this pose involves a twisting motion to energize the spine, shoulders, and neck. It almost looks like a pretzel pose.

Child’s Pose

Kneel and allow your arms to extend in front of you. From that position, you bow. The movement relieves stress and tension in the neck and back.

By consistently practicing these and other yoga poses, many people are able to find relief for their upper back pain. Give it a try today!

Remember, if your pain persists or intensifies, it’s always best to reach out to an affiliated pain management specialist at National Spine & Pain Centers to find the best treatment plan for you.

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