7 Yoga Poses For Lower, Middle, And Upper Back Pain Relief

Chiroflexion | Blog

Apart from those related to injuries, most types of back pain are a result of badposture and a stationary position. This is probably unavoidable, what with lifestyles involving sitting in one place for hours together. While taking breaks in between is a good idea to stretch your body, it won’t be enough. And one of the best solutions for this is yoga!

Are you saying you don’t have enough time for an entire yoga routine for your back? No need to worry. Here we give you specific yoga poses that treat back pain, be it of the entire back or the lower, middle, or upper back and elaborate on what you need to do. Choose what your body needs and what you can do.

Expert Opinion
Many physical and emotional ailments may arise if we don’t take care of our spine. Practice these poses even if you don’t have any back problems; they’re great for maintaining a healthy spine and preventing injuries.

1. Single And Double Leg Raises

Single And Double Leg Raises_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief

Single Leg Raises

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs placed together.
  2. Take a deep breath and relax.
  3. Place your arms to the sides of your body with downward-facing palms. If you need more support, place them beneath your back with your hands in a fist.
  4. As you inhale again, lift your left leg up without bending the knee. Try to keep the left foot parallel to the body so that the leg muscles stretch as much as possible.
  5. The resting right leg should also be straight.
  6. Exhale and bring the left leg down without bending the knees.
  7. With the next inhale, lift your right leg up and bring it down in the same manner.
  8. Do a minimum of 5 reps without resting in between.

Double Leg Raises

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs placed together.
  2. Take a deep breath and relax.
  3. As you inhale again, lift both the legs up without bending the knees. Also, your buttocks should be on the floor.
  4. Exhale and bring your legs down while your back lies flat on the floor.
  5. Do a minimum of 5 reps without resting in between. In the last rep, lower the legs as slowly as possible.

In both types of leg raises, the pressure should be on your legs, hands, and abdomen. To ensure the correct posture, always keep your entire back on the floor and let the neck muscles relax all through the asana. This pose strengthens your lower back and abdomen.
Note: If done incorrectly, you might exert more pressure on your lower back and neck, which might be harmful and cause further injury. If you’re new to yoga, remember that you should neither arch your lower back nor use your neck and shoulder muscles.

2. The Plow (Halasana)

The Plow (Halasana)_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief

  1. Place a folded blanket or towel under your shoulder and upper arm.
  2. Lie flat on your back with your hands beside your body. Your palms should face downward.
  3. As much as possible, do not bend the legs (like in the leg raises). Lift up your hips and lower back.
  4. Place your hands at your lower back (in the same way you would hold a bowl) and provide support.
  5. Bring the legs toward your head and try to touch the floor with your toes. If this isn’t possible, place a chair behind you to rest the feet on. Keep your knees straight.
  6. If you think your body can do without the support, lower your hands under your back and clasp them.
  7. Slowly move your feet apart in this pose and remain there as long as possible.
  8. Replace the hands on your back and roll back on the floor (from the neck and shoulder to the feet).
  9. Do 3–6 reps.

Alternatively, if you cannot lift the legs while keeping them straight, bend your knees and bring them down toward your face. Then, extend your legs behind your head and retain the pose for as long as possible. This pose strengthens the lower back and improves the flexibility of your spine.
Note: Do not do this pose if you’ve menstrual cramps, glaucoma, hypertension, diarrhea, asthma, or a neck or shoulder injury. Ensure you do not hurt your lower back or neck while lifting your legs.

3. The Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief
To begin with:

  1. Relax on your back and bend the knees such that the feet are flat. The thighs and feet should be parallel. Keep your hands on the sides at this stage.
  2. Lift up your hips and support your back with hands (like in step 4 of the plow).
  3. Retain the head and shoulders on the floor and lift the hips up as much as possible; ensure you get a nice arch of the upper back as well. You can use a rolled up blanket or block as support beneath your hips, if required.
  4. Hold for about 30 seconds.
  5. Release the hands, lower your back, and relax in the corpse pose.

If you can do these steps easily, do the following:

  1. Relax on your back and bend the knees such that the feet are flat. The thighs and feet should be parallel. Keep your hands on the sides at this stage.
  2. Lift up your hips by pushing with your hands against the floor and your feet. Pull the tailbone toward the pubic bone with the buttocks off of the floor
  3. Clasp your hands and straighten them toward your feet.
  4. If possible, you can also hold on to the ankles.
  5. Hold for about 30 seconds.
  6. Release the hands, lower your back, and relax in the corpse pose.

This pose enhances the flexibility of the spine and strengthens the entire back.
Note: Avoid if you’ve any severe neck, lower back, or shoulder issues. Do not lower the hips in this pose; keep it such that the torso is aligned.

4. The Fish (Matsyasana)

The Fish (Matsyasana)_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief

  1. Lie flat on your back with the legs placed together.
  2. Place your hands, palms down, beneath your thighs.
  3. Raise your chest using your elbows.
  4. Simultaneously, bend your head backward and try to rest on top of your head.
  5. Hold the pose for about 2–3 minutes.

Most of us have a stooped posture with shoulders bent downward. And tight clothing results in inadequate blood circulation, clumsy movements, and interrupted breathing, which can cause headaches. The fish pose helps by relieving the shoulder muscles of the stiffness and also stimulates better circulation. It also works on the shoulder muscles and upper back.
Note: Avoid this pose if you suffer from insomnia, migraines, high or low blood pressure, and any neck or shoulder injury. Do not keep the hands too high near the shoulder, keep the feet and the elbows apart, raise the buttocks, tense the legs, bend the knees, leave the head hanging and not touching the floor, and breathe quickly and noisily.

5. The Inclined Plane (Purvottasana)

The Inclined Plane (Purvottanasana)_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief

  1. Sit down with your legs stretched in front of you.
  2. Place your hands about 30 cm behind your back with the fingers pointing backward.
  3. Lean on your hands in this position and take a few deep breaths. Do not keep your mouth open at any point of time.
  4. Drop your head back and bring your shoulder blades as close as possible.
  5. Inhale, lift your hips up so as to try to place your feet flat on the floor.
  6. Keep the legs close together, do not let the feet turn outward, do not bend your knees, and keep the body in a straight line.
  7. Start by holding the pose for about 10 seconds. As you practice, you will be able to hold it for about a minute.
  8. Sit back down and shake your wrists to relieve any stiffness.
  9. Get into the corpse pose on your back and relax.

This asana gives a slight, gentle backward bend to your entire body. It strengthens the lower back, hips, shoulders, and arms, also expands the chest. It helps improve your muscular coordination and body balance.

Note: Anybody can practice this pose, but you may experience foot cramps if you’re new to this. In such cases, sit up, take deep breaths, and gently massage your foot; give it time to subside. Do not keep your head forward, tense the neck and shoulder, drop the hips low, bend the knees, point the fingers inward instead of outward, and face the feet to the sides.

6. The Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

The Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief
To begin with:

  1. Sit down with legs stretched out straight in front of you and placed together. Keep the spine straight.
  2. Place your left foot on the outside of the right calf. The foot should be flat on the ground.
  3. Keep the left arm on the floor behind your back, raise the right arm up, and bring it down outside of your left leg.
  4. Depending on your flexibility, hold on to the calf, ankle, or foot.
  5. Turn your chest and head to the left.
  6. Pull with the left arm and use your right arm to push the body into a twist much as possible and turn the chest farther.
  7. Hold for a minimum for 30 seconds.
  8. Release and repeat on the other side.
 

If you can manage the above steps easily:

  1. Sit down with your legs stretched out straight in front of you and placed together. Keep the spine straight.
  2. Bend the right leg and place the right heel next to the left hip. Ensure you don’t sit on the foot but it’s just next to you.
  3. Bend the left leg, raise it over the right leg, Place the left foot on the outside of the right knee or in front of the knee, if required.
  4. Place your left arm on the floor behind your back (not too far), raise your right arm up to stretch your spine, and bring it down on the left side of your left knee.
  5. Try to hold on to the left ankle. If not possible, hold on to the right knee.
  6. Stretch, look over your left shoulder, and breathe slowly at a pace.
  7. Place your left arm a little further around. Inhale and straighten the spine. As you exhale, apply more pressure using your right arm.
  8. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  9. Release and repeat on the other side.
 

This pose rotates the vertebrae in both directions and makes the spine flexible. It increases the blood supply to your back, relieves lower back pain and muscle pains in the back and hips, and strengthens the spinal nerves.
Note: Avoid exerting excess pressure if you’ve severe back injury or if any part of the back hurts. Do not lift the hips and buttocks off of the floor, lean the body instead of twisting, compress the spine rather than twist, drop one shoulder, and hang the arm free instead of holding onto the ankle or knee.

7. The Crab

The Crab_Yoga Asanas For Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain Relief

  1. Sit down with your legs stretched in front of you.
  2. Bend your knees such that the feet are flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
  3. Place your hands behind your back with the fingers pointing toward you.
  4. Lean back on your arms and take a few deep breaths.
  5. Inhale and slowly lift up your hips so that you look like a crab or a table, with the torso in a straight line.
  6. Ensure that the feet are pointing straight.
  7. Slowly drop your head back.
  8. Use your hands and feet and squeeze your thighs and buttocks to keep the hip in place. Pull the shoulder blades together for more support.
  9. Breathe slowly and deeply and hold for about 20–30 seconds.
  10. Exhale and place the hips back on the floor.
 

The crab pose strengthens the upper, middle, and lower back as it gives the body a backward bend. It also strengthens the arms and shoulder and opens up the chest. This helps with respiratory issues.
Note: Avoid if you’ve had any severe back, knee, arm, or shoulder injury. Do not lower the hips in this pose; keep it such that the torso is aligned.