HS23 Upper Back Pain


Many people have tension and sometimes pain in their upper back area. This is a natural consequence of our way of life as will be seen by the possible causes mentioned below. Many times this pain, however, is the result of some other problem, such as with the liver, stomach, duodenum, gall bladder or pancreas. In such cases we must look to curing those organs simultaneously with our effort to remove the pain in our upper back.


1. Follow the guidelines for a healthy diet. If you believe that your problem is connected with your digestive system, then abide by the guidelines for proper food combining.

2. An occasional two or three day fast may help considerably. If you see improvement, then you will know that your eating habits have something to do with the problem.

3. Watch your posture. Stand and sit as straight as possible. Be conscious of your self when you are driving, sitting at your desk, at the dinner table, watching TV with friends, walking. Keep your spine straight and relaxed.

4. Make sure that your bed is firm and does not sag. If it does, change the mattress or place a wooden board underneath it, or sleep on a thin mattress on the floor.

5. Hot bath will increase the circulation and remove the tension in the muscles. This is beneficial just before sleep in the evening. You will sleep more deeply and peacefully too.

6. All exercises are beneficial; walking, running, dancing, swimming and of course the exercises and breathing techniques given below.

7. Shiatsu massage is perhaps the most effective form of massage for this area. One should concentrate on the area of the upper back, but do all the spine, the abdomen and the neck and head.

8. Reflexology can also be useful, especially if the problem has to do with the build up of toxins or the digestive system. When the problem is causes by nervous tension, then the shiatsu massage and spiritual healing are more effective.

9. Spiritual healing along all the spine, the abdomen and head.

10. Be regular in the practice of the exercises and breathing techniques and relaxation presented below. The upper back is very sensitive to our general level of energy and tension. Pains can simply be the reflection of a general build up of tension or a drop in energy.


The following techniques serve to bring better blood flow to the area of the upper back, lungs and abdomen. They also correct the position of the vertebrae in that area and help them to stay in the correct alignment. They strengthen and relax the muscles in that area.



1. Hang from a bar (No. 26)

2. Upward Stretch (5T) No. 39

3. Back & Forth St. (5T) No. 20

4. Swing (20 to 60 T) No. 1

5. Prayer position (5L) No. 37 (20L) No. 29

6. Complete Breathing (1:2:1:1) No. 53

7. Deep relaxation


8. Cat (7) No. 8

9. Salutation to Earth (5T) No. 43

10. 1/2 Fish (3T) No. 15

11. 1/2 Shoulder Stand (with series 3 & 4)

12. Deep relaxation



1. Hang from bar (No. 26)

2. Upward Stretch (5T) No. 39 3. Back & Forth St. (5T) No. 20

4 Sideward Bend (3R, 3L) No. 19

5.Swing (20 to 60T) No. 1

6. Cat (7T) No. 8

7. Cobra with turn (3R, 3L) No. 23 (20L) No. 29

8. Prayer position (5L) No. 37 16. Deep relaxation

9. Deep relaxation


10. Cat (7T) No. 8

11. Salutation to Earth (5T) No. 43

12. Wind Rel. Pos. (3R, 3L, 3B) No.4

13. 1/2 Fish (3T) No. 15

14. Fish (1/2 to 2 L) No. 47

15. 1/2 Shoulder Stand (with series 3 & 4)


1. Be careful in hanging from the bar. The purpose is not to do gymnastics. It is to gradually let the weight off the feet so that the body pulls down on the spine increasing the distance between the vertebrae. Concentrate on the vertebrae of the upper back while hanging gently. Imagine them relaxing and opening. Do this only for about 10 seconds in the beginning and increase the time slowly, about 10 seconds each week until you arrive at 1 minute. If you have any doubts or problems, consult your doctor.

2. If you cannot do so many repetitions of each exercise, do less in the beginning and then gradually increase the repetitions or the length of time. Do not in any case force any movement.

3. The ratio 1:2:1:1 given for breathing is the ratio you will work towards gradually. Start out with simple equal inhalation and exhalation (1:1) and gradually work uptoratios such as the triangle breath and eventually the square breathing. When you feel comfortable with the square breath, then go on to the double retention suggested here.

4. The 1/2 shoulder stand is very important and deep relaxation can be done in this position or in the ordinary position.

5. The following position is effective in correcting the position of the vertebrae and relieving tension and pain from the upper back. Lie down on your back near the wall so that when your legs are outstretched, your feet are flush with the wall, at a 90 degree angle with the floor. With your feet flat against the wall in this way, place your hands behind your head and lift your head, neck and upper back slowly as if you are looking at the wall. Then slowly let your body come back into the spine position ensuring that each vertebrae makes contact with the mat and stays there as you are aware of your spine becoming very straight. The last part to come into contact with the mat is your neck and head. Try to keep the chin forward so that the curvature in the back of the neck is not exaggerated (do not over do this, there should be some curvature, but most of us have too much). Stay in this position in which you will become aware of various tensions and perhaps pains in various parts of your upper back, neck and even perhaps in the abdomen. Breath slowly and deeply, trying to relax your muscles as much as possible without changing your position. Relax your thighs, buttocks, abdominal muscles. Try to relax without moving. At first this will seem impossible. Gradually you will relax. Go into deep relaxation and concentrate in the muscles which are expressing tension. Relax them even more deeply. Stay about 20 minutes in this position doing deep relaxation. You will find your upper back and neck much freer from tension or pain.

6. If you feel that your back problem has to do with the fact that you are bent over much of the day due to work or other activities, then you may want to try lying on your back for about 10 or 20 minutes with a pillow placed under your upper back. It will in this way, be thrust forward and the position of the vertebrae will be reversed and the muscles released and relaxed.

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