Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain is less common than lower back pain, and a lot of the back pain treatments to relieve upper back pain are similar to the lower back. But there are some stretches and upper back exercises are different.
If you suffer upper back pain, you either have under-developed upper body muscles or you have damaged your thoracic spine, or neck in some way.
The vast majority of injuries to the neck or upper back are temporary. Even if your doctor has told you that you have degeneration in your thoracic spine, millions of people have degeneration in their spines as they get older, who do not have pain.
Upper back injuries and neck injuries can make a full recovery in a matter of days if you follow these helpful tips.
You might want to check out the neck pain article I wrote at HealthierTalk.com: Neck Pain Gone in 3 Days.
The way to effectively treat upper back pain is to start with the same exercises as any other type of back pain; and that is to gently exercise the whole body. Again, walking is the absolute best exercise for this.
But you do not have to do a lot of walking. That is a complete myth. You do however need to remain consistent, in that you should go walking every day. They say quality is better than quantity. Well here, “consistency is better than quantity”.
As with the walking for lower back exercises, try to avoid carrying stuff while walking, unless it is very light. No matter how fit you think you are, if you are in pain, there is a reason and adding unnecessary pressure to the back will not help.
Walking without bags in a relaxed way will get your back moving how it was intended to move. They say quality is better than quantity. Well here; that is correct!
If you have a dog – that’s perfect. You can walk the dog for 30 minutes+ twice a day or more, and as long as you continue each day and do not indulge in any activities that will be detrimental for your upper back, you will produce enough movement in your body to be able to do more localized stretches.
As with the lower back pain exercises, I strongly recommend that you walk every day for at least a week, before doing any typical upper back pain exercises.
If you are of a higher level of fitness, and already do plenty of walking and other exercise, then increase the amount of walking by 30-60 minutes every day for a week.
If you still have upper back pain after the recommended amount of walking, then there are a variety of back stretches you can do to eliminate pain in your upper back.
Everyone’s upper back pain will be different, so it is likely not all the following back exercises will be for you. Try them all and just stick with the ones that you can do easily.
And again, you must always have a decent warm-up before attempting any of the stretches. And yes, that includes you fitter ones too! A 20 – 30 minute walk would be a sufficient warm-up.
Upper Back Pain Stretches
Upper Back Pain Stretch 1
In the photo the girl has her knees slightly bent (but you can bend yours more), and has her feet together. But it is a good idea to have your feet a foot apart simply for balance.
If your hands or fingers touch the floor without pain or discomfort, that is great.
If you have slight pain or discomfort, you should do more warm-ups before attempting this stretch again, but it does not mean that you cannot do this exercise. There are plenty of exercises that I am unable to do half way through a workout, but can do with ease at the end; – only 10 or 15 minutes later! It really does work that quickly!
Bend your knees further and round your back to come back up slowly. Keep your chin tucked in the whole way until you are standing.
Upper Back Pain Stretch 2
An alternative way of doing Upper Back Stretch 1 is to rest your elbows on your thighs just above your knees. Still relax you head and neck. You are now taking pressure off your back, while still allowing the upper back to decompress.
It is normal to feel the several vertebrae in the upper back click in quick succession.
Upper Back Pain Stretch 3
This one is even easier. But you might not be able to do it if you have hurt your neck. Just stand up straight, and slowly rest your chin on your chest for a count of 5 seconds. Slowly come back up.
So those are some gentle upper back stretches to decompress the upper back. Next we will strengthen the back by doing more intensive upper back exercises.
More Upper Back Exercises –>