How to Stretch Upper Back & Do Other Exercises In Very Simple Ways?
You’re reading this because you’re probably experiencing pain just below the neck and between the shoulders, right? That’s upper back pain.
Upper back pain can be mild, but it can go as far as limiting your movements making it difficult to perform your day to day work. If the pain you’re feeling becomes severe and you can’t just take it anymore, then you must learn how to stretch upper back muscles. These exercises will help you get rid of back pain without having to spend money on expensive treatments.
Pain Beyond the Back and Shoulders
The thing about upper back pain is that it takes a while before it becomes noticeable. Perhaps you’re always carrying a backpack or maybe you’ve been sitting for so long your shoulders start to get hurt. And then it happens: you feel the strain on your shoulders that creeps all the way to your neck and your muscles start to feel uncomfortably tight.
To be free of pain, the joints of your shoulders must always be functional and in motion. It needs to be properly worked out in order to avoid getting it stiff.
To avoid having to deal with back pain, you should know its causes.
Why Your Upper Back Hurts?
1. Bad Posture: One of the common causes for upper back pain is bad posture, both when standing up and sitting down. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention to your posture at all, but improving it means you get to prevent back pain early on.
2. Back Muscle Sprain: Carrying something heavy or sudden movement can cause back muscle strain, which develops into upper left back pain. This is because the muscles are torn apart and take time to heal.
3. Improper Exercises: Not a lot of people know but your back pain may be due to the improper execution of certain exercises. When you exercise wrongly, your muscles are strained causing pain in the back and other parts of the body.
4. Slipped Disc: This is a term used when one of the spine’s disc happens to press on the nerves due to damage. This is another common cause for upper back pain should the location of the slipped disc happen to just below the neck.
5. Over-Exercising: Too much of something is never a good thing. The same holds true when exercising. If you use your muscles excessively, they will get pulled a lot and get strained. This is why it is important to take breaks in between each exercise to allow the muscles to recuperate.
Keep Your Back Straight When Sitting Down
Before we head on to upper back stretches, let us first stress the importance of sitting up straight. This is the very first thing you need to practice if you want to prevent upper back pain. Sitting with a proper posture not only improves form and postural position, but it also encourages proper blood flow and increases circulation.
To make sure your upper back muscles are properly stretched, try slouching slightly forward while you’re standing. Now, try to correct your posture that your back slightly bends to a comfortable angle. Repeat the slouch-straight movement three to five times. This should help stretch your upper back muscles.
This exercise should be easy to perform. While standing up with arms at your side, slowly move your shoulder blades up, out, then down. Moving your shoulders about 1 cm is enough. While doing this isolation movement, make sure your back is straight. Each position should be maintained for about ten to fifteen seconds.
How to Stretch Upper Back in 14 Ways?
1. Chin Retractions
This move can be done regardless if you're sitting down or standing up. Move your chin forward, then pull it back slowly. Your chin should be tucked in your throat. Make sure your chin is aligned with the floor and straight, not tipping it up or down. Repeat ten times each hour, especially if your work mostly requires you to hold your neck in the same position for hours.
2. Neck Rolls
Start with the right side, start tilting your neck then roll it down so that your chin almost reaches your chest. Continue rolling to the left side then stop. Reverse to the right side again. You can do this 5 times in each direction. Make sure your head doesn’t roll backward, only from one side to the other.
3. Shoulder Rolls
Roll your shoulders up, forward, then down. This should create a circular motion. Do this for about ten times before reversing, this time rolling up, back, then down. Do ten for each side.
4. Neck Stretches
Bend your neck to the right so that your ear nearly touches your shoulder. With your right hand, reach for your left temple and add pressure by pulling your head gently to the right. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, then rest. Repeat the same procedure on the left side.
5. Cow-Face Position
Extend your right arm straight up, bend your elbow, and let your hand fall behind your head. Move your left arm to your back, bend it so that the back of your left hand rest against near your right shoulder blade. Now stretch so that fingertips from both hands meet. If you can’t use a towel to create a mild tension. Gently pull on the towel in opposite directions.
6. Basic Cross Body Arm Exercise
Cross your right arm against your chest. Use your left hand to pull the upper portion of your arm as close as you can to your body. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
7. Shoulder Rotation
This stretching can be done with your back against a wall. In this position, let your scapula rest normally but bring both your elbows out to a 90-degree position. Your biceps should be in contact with the wall. While maintaining the position of your elbows, turn your right arm up. Make sure it’s the back of the hand that touches the wall. Turn your left arm downward with your palm touching the wall, or close. Now start switching the positions of the arms for about 60 seconds while making sure your arms are still at a 90-degree angle.
8. Standing Wall Stretch
Let your hands touch a wall to a position that it creates a 90-degree angle to your body. Slowly walk back until your arms are straight, still keeping your hands on the wall. Once your arms are straight, bow with shoulder blades set back. Hold this position for about fifteen to thirty seconds.
9. Low-Back Hand Clasp
Bring your behind your back and clasp them together, facing palm to palm. Bring clasped hands to your lower back, then slowly arch your lower back so that your shoulder blades gently come together, chest wide open. Hold this position for about ten to fifteen seconds. Rest and repeat three to five times.
10. Arm Circles
Stand close to a wall sideways. Then slowly, make big circles with your arm. Repeat the circular motion ten times, then turn to the other side and repeat the procedure. Make sure to keep your back straight while circling your arms. Do not overarch your back or slouch forward.
11. Reverse Prayer Position
Bring your hands to your back so that your palms touch, like in a reverse prayer pose. Your shoulder blades should be opened while keeping your back straight. Hold this position for ten seconds, making sure that your upper back gets enough stretches.
12. Thread the Needle
On all fours, lift your left hand off the ground and “thread” it so that your arm goes through between your right leg and right arm. Your upper body should rotate toward the right, but make sure your hips remain in the same position. Hold this position for about ten seconds before reverting to your starting position. Do the same procedure on the other side, with your right hand threading between your left leg and left arm.
13. Sphinx Stretch
While lying face down on the floor, bend your arms at your sides so that your palms are also facing the floor. Make sure your hands are at chest level. Slowly push up so that your chest elevates and your back arches, but not all the way to the lower back. Hold for five seconds, rest, then repeat the procedure to ease the strain off your upper back.
14. Sideline Thoracic Rotational Stretch
Lie on your right side and bend your legs in the most comfortable position while making sure your spine straight and your arm is straight to the body. With the left arm on top of the right arm, start to pushing your left arm forward first, let it rise and rotate it back so that it makes a big arch in the air. Allow your left arm to fall as far as possible to the left side, but make sure your hips maintain the same position. Follow your left arm with your gaze, slowly turning the neck to the left side. Hold for a few seconds before reverting back to starting position. Repeat five times before switching to the other side.
It’s easy to learn how to stretch upper back, but make sure to perform these stretches properly to ease you off of upper back pain. Doing this will help you avoid expensive back pain treatments and will potentially correct your posture in the long run. At the same time, you’re also ensuring that your muscles are kept strong and less susceptible to wear and tear.