Modern life can really take its toll on our backs.

Many of us suffer from back pain and neck pain.  Aches in the upper back can stem from injury, poor posture, or just sitting at a desk for long periods. Not paying attention to the causes of back pain can lead to long term issues.

Fortunately, you can ease back pain and even prevent back pain with stretching. 

Stretching can work out some of that tension, promote good posture, help you to de-stress, and get you back to living pain-free.

Here are 5 of the best stretches for upper back pain that can get your spine back on track!

1. Thoracic Extension

The thoracic spine refers to the upper back – exactly the point we want to target.

To give it a gentle but effective stretch, try sitting upright in a chair and placing your hands behind your head.

Gently move your head back until you’re looking at the ceiling. If you can see the floor, you’ve gone too far.

Bring your head forward again. Repeat this ten times. You can repeat these sets several times a day.

There are many variations of this, including floor exercises with a foam roller. However, for a beginner, this is a great place to start.

2. Stretches For Upper Back Pain

Another one of the simplest, but most effective, stretches for upper back pain is done sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out. For comfort and safety, it’s good to do this on a gym mat.

With your arms by your sides, simply contract your neck and back forward. Curve your neck and back so that you’re looking at your lower stomach. Hold this position for about ten seconds.

Gently sit back up and repeat three times for a great upper back stretch.

3. Shoulder Squeeze

Although this temporarily contracts the muscles, it can help to bring you relief from upper back pain.

While sitting or standing, set your forearms at 90 degrees to your body and relax your shoulder blades.

Now squeeze your shoulder blades by bringing them together, bringing your chest forward. Hold this position for a few seconds, then release. Perform two sets of 15 repetitions to get the best results.

4. Upper Trapezius Stretch

This one basically consists of moving your head from side to side – but there are a few points to remember.

First, begin looking straight ahead and focus on your chin. As you bring your head to the side, your chin must not drop, or pull towards your chest.

Bring your ear down towards your shoulder and hold the position for up to thirty seconds. Repeat on the other side.

5. Whole Back Exercises

Although your pain may be focused in the upper back, performing back stretches for lower back pain and stretches for middle back pain will stretch your entire back and can help to reduce upper back pain as well.

These include kneeling on a gym mat and going into a praying position with your arms fully extended, and lying face down with your palms flat on the floor and bringing your torso off the floor to extend your back.

Working Out the Kinks: The Best Stretches for Upper Back Pain

When done carefully, these stretches for upper back pain can be safe and very effective. You don’t need any special equipment and they can be done at home each day. Start with gentle stretches and remember to take deep breaths.

Sometimes, a home stretch just doesn’t go far enough. If you’d like a helping hand with your upper back stretches, our stretchologists are here for you.

Click here to book an appointment to get stretched today!