Upper back pain can cause discomfort and may have an effect on your mood and overall health. It can stem from different causes, such as poor posture, improper lifting technique or overuse. To release the buildup of tension in the upper back, you need to stretch and loosen it. Try the exercises below to address upper back pain.
9 Stretching exercises that can ease upper back pain
One way of effectively relieving or preventing back pain is by doing stretching exercises. Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your spine can help reduce the strain on your back which causes painful spasms. For your comfort, use a yoga mat when performing the following exercises: (Related: 3 Health benefits of strength training that have nothing to do with strength.)
- Begin with the table pose. Go down on all fours with your hands parallel to your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.
- Pull your chin toward your chest and slowly arch your back upward. This is the cat pose.
- Hold it for a few seconds before going back to the table pose.
- To do the cow pose, slowly tilt your head back and arch your back downward.
- Hold this position for a few seconds then go back to the table pose.
- Repeat this sequence several times to help loosen your upper back muscles.
- Start with the table pose and place your feet together.
- Slowly lower your hips toward the floor and let your buttocks rest on top your feet.
- Stretch out your arms and rest your palms against the mat.
- Hold this position for as long as feels comfortable.
- Return to a sitting position.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees.
- Slowly lift your legs and pull your knees toward your chest.
- Hug your knees for a breath then relax and let your feet return to the floor.
- Repeat this sequence a few times.
- Stand or sit up straight.
- Drop your chin to your chest and slowly roll your head toward your left or right shoulder.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds then, with your chin still down, roll your head toward the opposite direction
- If you feel tension in your muscles, pause and deepen the stretch.
- Repeat several times, in both directions.
Overhead arm reach
- Start in a standing or sitting position.
- Place your hands together and stretch your arms upward.
- With your arms still stretched upward, slowly lean your torso to the right. You can deepen the stretch as long as it feels comfortable.
- Go back to the starting position then lean to the opposite side.
- Repeat this stretching exercise several times.
- Begin in a standing or sitting position.
- With your arms relaxed, lift your shoulders up and down in a continuous circular motion.
- Roll them in one direction for 30 seconds then switch to the opposite direction.
You’ll need a yoga block or foam roller for this exercise.
- Sit on the floor and place the block or roller behind you.
- Slowly lie back and let the roller support your upper back area or thoracic spine.
- Place your hands behind your head for support. You can bend your knees as needed.
- To deepen the stretch, extend your arms above your head as you bend your body backward.
- Take deep breaths and let your back and shoulder muscles relax.
- Repeat this exercise several times.
- Lie on your back and spread your arms sideways.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly twist your hips and legs to one side as you keep your shoulders flat on the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds then return to your original position.
- Do the stretch on the other side. Repeat several times.
- Stand with your right side facing the wall.
- Place your right forearm against the wall. Your arm should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Take a step forward with your right foot and twist to the left. You should feel your right shoulder and upper back stretch.
- Hold this position for a few seconds then return to the starting position.
- Do this on the opposite side. Repeat this exercise several times on both sides.
If the upper back pain you’re feeling doesn’t subside with regular stretching, consult your healthcare provider. Serious conditions like arthritis, disc problems or compression fractures can also cause back pain. To prevent back pain, practice proper posture, adopt a healthy diet and do stretching exercises regularly.
Learn about other exercises and natural remedies for back pain at BackPain.news.