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Upper back pain can be uncomfortable, making it hard for you to sit, stand and sleep without pain. One of the best ways to build up your back is to create a morning stretching routine. Today, we’ll show you some of the best stretches to incorporate into your daily routine so that your upper back pain goes away for good.
14 Effective Stretches for Upper Back Pain Relief
You don’t have to live with upper back pain. Incorporating some simple stretches into your daily routine can do wonders to reduce or eliminate your pain and improve your overall posture for optimal body alignment. Here are fourteen stretches that I highly recommend.
#1. Standing wall stretch
Stand about an arm’s length from a wall. Then place your palms on it and lean against it, holding this position. You can repeat this stretch 15 times.
#2. Scapular squeeze
To do this stretch, stand tall and push your shoulders down and back. Your elbows should be tucked down as well. Then, press your shoulder blades together and hold for 5-10 seconds. This should give you a deep stretch in your upper back muscles.
#3. Arm and leg raise
Place yourself on your hands and knees. Make sure your body is aligned with your hands and knees directly below your shoulders and hips. Then extend one leg up and back and the opposite arm up and forward. Return to the neutral position, then repeat on the other side.
#4. Cobra pose
Cobra pose is a yoga position that works your entire upper back system. To do it, start by lying on your stomach. Try to keep your feet close together, almost touching. Then place your hands under your shoulders to prepare to lift up. Slowly, bring up your entire upper body, with your hips staying on the floor. Arch your back and look up.
#5. Arm slide on wall
You can do this stretch by sitting or standing. Place your back against a wall with your hands in an open position. Your elbows and wrists should stay against the wall at all times. Then slowly slide your arms upwards, and then back down. Repeat 10 times.
#6. Mid-trap exercise
Start by lying on your stomach and placing a pillow under your chest. Then, extend your arms straight to the sides with your thumbs pointed up. Lift your arms up and squeeze your shoulders, then lower them. You can make this stretch more difficult by holding small dumbells.
#7. Cat-cow stretch
This yoga pose is great for stretching your entire back. To do it, start on your hands and knees with your body perfectly aligned. You will first arch your back down and push your chest down towards the floor with your eyes up. From this “cow” position, you’ll then move to “cat” by arching your back up and pushing your shoulders as far as you can with your head looking down. Repeat 10 times.
#8. Windmill rotation
To stretch your upper back muscles, try the windmill rotation. Start by lying down on one side, with your knees tucked at 90 knees and your arms on top of each other to the side. Then, keeping it straight, lift your top arm and keep it extended as you reach across the other side of your body for a deep stretch. Repeat on the other side as well.
#9. Thoracic extension
To do this stretch, sit in a chair and gently take your head between your hands with your fingers interlocked. Then, lean backwards over the back of the chair. Make sure you’re not in pain when doing this stretch. Move slowly so you’re not bending too forcefully. Then, lean forward once again.
#10. Butterfly wings
This is a great exercise to try at the office in your chair. Start by sitting up straight and placing your fingertips on your shoulders and your elbows pointed out. Then slowly bring together your elbows in front of your body so they briefly touch. Repeat 10 times.
#11. Seated twist
The seated twist is another easy stretch to do at the office. Sit straight up in a chair ad place your right hand on outer part of your left knee. Then twist to the side to stretch your back. Hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
#12. Child’s pose
To do child’s pose, start on your hands and knees, then sit back on your feet and extend your arms over your head. Your forehead should touch the floor and your body should lower into a comfortable position. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
The bridge stretch can be done by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Then, raise your core up and keep your torso off the ground as your hold the stretch with an aligned spine. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your body back done slowly. Repeat 10 times.
To do this stretch, start by lying down on your stomach with your arms and legs extended out. Then, at the same time, lift your arms and legs by engaging your butt, abs and back. Hold and repeat 10 times.
The Bottom Line
We hope you’ll incorporate these 14 stretches into your routine for back pain relief. Looking for more exercises? Check out these back strengthening exercises here. If you’re having trouble with your lower back, you can also incorporate some lower back exercises too. In addition, to keep your back in shape, you should also:
- Watch your posture: Check your posture daily by making sure you’re not slouching or supporting your back in unnatural positions. You should stand and sit up straight.
- Sign up for a yoga class: Plenty of yoga poses are great for your back. We’ve mentioned the cobra pose, cow-cat pose and child’s pose in this article, which are just some of the stretches you’ll see in a yoga class.
- See a chiropractor: Finally, you can visit a professional chiropractic clinic – such as our clinic in Juneau – to get an expert opinion on your upper back pain. A chiropractor will suggest adjustments, therapies, diet, exercise and supplements to get your pain straightened out.
Stay back-pain free with these great stretches and tips!
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.