The 10 best Stretches and Easy Exercises For Upper Back Pain and Tightness
Do you get upper back pain and tightness? Here are 10 easy steps to get rid of that nagging pain.
Upper back pain and tightness has a way of creeping up on you. Maybe you play a sport that requires repetitive shoulder and thoracic movements, maybe you did something to aggravate it while working out, or maybe you just have been working at your desk for a while with not your best posture (it happens to all of us). Whatever it is, upper back pain or tightness can be nagging and frustrating and not to mention can cause further injury in different body parts.
Thoracic Spine Pain
So how do we get rid of this nasty pain?
We want to attack it by hitting these three components, flexibility, mobility, and strength. Our spine is composed of sections; cervical, thoracic, lumbar, then your sacrum and coccyx. We will be specifically speaking on thoracic pain, usually felt between the shoulder blades.
Sections of the Spine
If the thoracic spine is immobile or not as flexible, the lumbar (lower) spine will pick up the slack and compensate for the lack of movement in the thoracic spine. This can lead to low back pain and injury. On the opposite end of the thoracic spine are the shoulders and neck. A lack of mobility in the thoracic spine can also cause problems in the shoulder and neck. Once we gain mobility we want to strengthen the muscles that support the thoracic spine to build endurance which helps us stay in good posture for longer periods.
Below is a program of exercises and stretches that should only take 15 minutes to complete. They should be done every day or at least 3 times a week. All of these exercises can be done with no experience or equipment and can be done anywhere! So get up out of your desk chair and crack these out. If you feel any severe pain doing them, please stop and consult an expert.
Upper Back Flexibility
1. Cat Camels - slowly arching and rounding your back. Think about trying to move each spine segment on its own. Perform 8 repetitions.
2. Latissimus Stretch Using a Chair. Perform 8 repetitions.
3. Child’s Pose - 3 ways. Feel and breathe into the stretch in your lats and back. Hold for 20 seconds in each position.
4. Side lying windmills - Keep your knees and shoulders stacked on one side, rotate your top arm around the body opening up your chest to the other side. You should feel a nice stretch through your upper back. Perform 8 repetitions on each side.
Upper Back Mobility
5. Quadruped Thoracic Rotations - In a tabletop position, you are going to sit back onto your feet and place one arm out in front of you to support yourself. Place the hand of the other arm behind your head. Rotate your elbow of that arm towards the elbow of the arm touching the floor, then rotate all the way up to reach your elbow to the ceiling. Perform 6 repetitions on each side.
6. Rotations sitting in chair - Squeeze something between your legs and turn your upper body as far as you can one way. Reach for your chair and pull yourself to turn a little more. Perform 5 on each side.
7. Wall rotations - In a half kneeling position with your leg closest to the wall up, bring both arms in front of you pressed again the wall. Slide the inside arm around your head creating a semi circle, keeping your hand on the wall. Slide it back. Perform 5 on each side.
Upper Back Strength
8. Face down T’s - Laying facedown bring your arms into a T position. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your arms off the ground. Hold for a second and bring back down. Repeat 10 - 20 times.
9. Face Down Swimmers - Laying facedown bring your arms to rest on top of your glutes palms facing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your arms off of your glutes and as if performing the butterfly stroke you sweep your arms overhead turning your palms to be facedown halfway. Slowly sweep up and back down. Repeat 10 times.
10. Wall Angels - Start by standing against a wall, slide your feet alittle forward so you can press your entire back against the wall. Make sure your lower and upper back and your head are touching the wall. Bring your arms against the wall with your elbows bent. You will slowly slide your arms up trying to fully extend your arms overhead while maintaining contact with the wall at all times. If you cannot keep contact go as far as you can and then bring back down. Repeat 10 times.
What else can you do?
For an added benefit while working or driving using Mobility Tape can help keep that tightness and pain away as well as relieve it. Mobility Tape heats up using menthol and borneol to provide pain relief. Applying it like the below photo can provide amazing relief to pain in that area as well as serve as a physical reminder to keep those shoulders back! You can find it here - Mobility Tape
Taping for Upper Back Pain
That’s it! Good luck creating a healthier and happier spine!