Sore and Tight Upper Back? My Favorite Stretches and Exercises To Find Relief
As someone who sits at a desk for work, I often experience tightness and discomfort in my upper back. The tension builds up in my shoulders, upper back, and neck, leading to poor posture, limited mobility, and plain old soreness. After dealing with this for years, I finally found stretches and exercises that provide true relief for my achy upper back.
Tyler shared his "favorite stretches for opening up the thoracic spine creating more extension through it and making your posture better and your upper back feels significantly looser and even stronger". Try his suggestions and you'll be thrilled with how good they make your upper back feel!
The first stretch Tyler recommended was perfect for the tight spots between my shoulder blades: "I'm going to take my hand I'm going to cross it over my knee I'm going to turn to the side I'm going to see if I can grab onto the chair or the back of the chair like this...now in this position if I can I can use this chair for a little bit of Leverage I'm going to drop my elbow down so that my shoulder's in a safe spot." Twisting slowly while exhaling in this position will release tension you didn't even know you were holding.
Next a "quadruped position this kneeling position" to open up the chest. With one hand behind the head, gently open the elbow up towards the sky. "Look toward the Sky Lift the elbow make sure to externally rotate that bottom shoulder and still feel the lat muscle." Doing reps of this motion recruits those tight muscles between the shoulder blades that contribute to poor posture.
In addition to stretches, Tyler recommended two strengthening moves. The first is shoulder external rotations - squeezing the muscles between the shoulder blades while keeping the neck and traps relaxed. Just a minute or so of these made my upper back feel more supported. The second exercise was a simple "tummy time" position.
"I come down into my tummy like this in this position and I come down to my elbows and I try to make sure I'm not shrugging my shoulders like this I bring my shoulders back and I bring my head back like I'm closing a drawer." Working on a laptop or reading a book while prone helps counteract all the rounding forward I do all day. "It's one of my favorite ways for us to get that extension throughout the day while we're working while we're reading and something that anybody can do."
If you still felt knots, take his advice on using a massage ball to target tight spots. "Stay away from the spine you're going to roll ideally here so here's the spine here's all the muscles that we want to relax all the way around the shoulder blade and back down." When I found a tender point, relaxing my arm in different positions helped release the tension. A few minutes a day made a big difference!
You'll be pleased that learning just a few simple stretches and exercises will help relieve your upper back pain. By adding these to your daily routine, you'll move and sit taller with less tension and discomfort. Your posture at your desk will even improved. "I highly recommend trying these yourself if you suffer from tight upper back muscles and rounded shoulders like I used to!"