How To Stretch Your Upper Back

A stiff and sore back can really drag you down to the point where your everyday activities may prove difficult.

Upper back pain is coming to the fore as more individuals work in front of various screens like their computers or cell phones.

How To Stretch Your Upper Back

This position of being hunched over in a poor position for an extended period of time can cause a nagging pain in various places. If you suffer from upper back pain then certain yoga poses can help.

In this guide, we will look at how to stretch your upper back with some yoga poses and why yoga can help with upper back pain.

How To Stretch Your Upper Back

To stretch your upper back, you need to look at the surrounding muscles in your body. These include your shoulders, upper chest, and your spine in general.

Various poses can open these areas out and help stretch your upper back so you should try one.

Warm Up With The Cat-Cow

The Cat-Cow is made up of the Marjaryasana and Bitilasana which combine to help an individual wake up and stimulate their upper back and spine.

These are two postures you can slowly flow in and out of to really introduce some movement. This is why the Cat-Cow works as a warm-up as you can perform it in the Tabletop position or in an easy pose which is Sukhasana. 

Move Into The Thread The Needle Pose

A pose that can really stretch your upper back muscles and open them up is the Thread The Needle pose.

Also known as the Urdhva Mukha Pasasana, the posture works by opening up the upper back and then allowing the shoulders a bit more room.

When performed from the Tabletop position, the posture can fortify an individual’s shoulder blades and create length to draw the rhomboids away from the spine.

Take Away The Stress With The Hero And Eagle Pose

Like the combination of Cat-Cow, the Hero and Eagle pose can really remove the strain from your upper back and your legs.

The Hero Pose (Virasana) works with the arms of the Eagle Pose (Garudasana) to open up the upper back area. The muscles are stretched which should help pain relief while the positioning of your arms can help stretch the shoulders out too. 

Stretch Out Your Spine With The Extended Puppy Pose

The Uttana Shishosana can be described as a combination of the Child’s Pose (Balasana) and the Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

While both of those postures help, the Extended Puppy Pose definitely helps extend an individual’s whole spine. The posture works for the upper back area by opening up the shoulders and frontal chest. Try it with a wall to really feel the benefit.

Remove The Pressure With The Reclining Bound Angle

A restorative posture for the upper back, the Reclining Bound Angle (also known as Supta Baddha Konasana) can really offer some relief.

Use a bolster right in line with your spine to help open up and expand your upper chest. Sit down at the top of your mat then raise the soles of your feet, allow your knees to spread then lay down on the bolster.

With your arms opened horizontally, and your palms turned up, the posture can help relieve your upper back. 

Create Space With The Camel Pose

The Ustrasana is another posture that opens up the chest and assists with stretching out the upper back. This is a backbend that introduces room to breathe for the chest, heart, and shoulders.

The full posture can be a little tricky so you can do a variant by having your hands on your lower back. You can even use a set of blocks as a helpful prop to ease into the pose.

How To Stretch Your Upper Back (1)

Why Yoga Can Help With Upper Back Pain?

As well as helping an individual with their stretching, balance, and muscle control, yoga can also provide mental health benefits. The overall wellness and fitness help yet practicing yoga also proves useful for pain relief.

The thoracic spine is made up of the middle part of the vertebral column which is attached to the ribs and it is already less mobile than the lumbar spine underneath and the cervical spine above.

Certain yoga poses can help reverse the effects of poor posture by releasing those tight muscles in the upper back, as well as the chest and shoulders. 

By focusing on that one part of the body, not only can you get through the upper back pain, but you can also strengthen your muscles and use yoga as a preventative therapy.

A lot of yoga is based on controlled movements where the body moves and holds various poses. That movement is important but so is the breathing through them when you inhale and then exhale when directed.

The oxygen transfer, combined with the movement, helps to fortify your muscles and thus prevents the injury and pain from reoccurring. 

Final Thoughts

The positions that a lot of us take in the modern age are likely individual causes for why so many of us suffer from upper back pain.

Being hunched over a computer, driving a car, or when looking down at a cell phone can all pose trouble for your upper back.

That area of the body is prone to tightness and restricted movement so you should practice yoga to stretch out that discomfort and prevent it from happening. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Other Methods Of Relieving Upper Back Pain?

If yoga is not the best means of relieving upper back pain, there are other ways. You can use over-the-counter pain medications, deep heat can be applied and even ice might help ease the pain.

If the discomfort continues and prevents you from doing your daily activities then get in touch with a doctor or physiotherapist. 

Can I Crack My Back Without Any Assistance?

Yes, you can crack your back without needing anyone to help you. Stand up and extend your arms until they are in front of you. Gradually turn just your upper body out to the right while keeping your feet and hips facing straight ahead.

Shift your upper body back to the center then slowly twist to the left and after a few movements, your back should crack and feel looser.

Angela Frederik
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