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Back Pain Center

Stretches for Back Pain Relief

author image Keith Strange
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
Stretches for Back Pain Relief
A woman has a sore upper back. Photo Credit: 9nong/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re suffering from upper back and neck pain, the chances are that the pain has been caused by tight muscles. Sitting too long in one spot -- or sitting or standing hunched forward -- even some forms of exercise, can cause your muscles to ache. If you’re experiencing upper back pain, stretching your upper back muscles will help.

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The Cheer

Sit in a comfortable chair with your arms hanging down by your side. You should be sitting up straight with your shoulders positioned directly over your hips. Lift both arms over your head simultaneously while keeping your elbows straight. Hold this stretch for 10 to 20 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions one to three times a day.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Sit or stand with your shoulders directly over your hips and your spine straight. Apply pressure by pushing your elbows behind your body to bring your shoulder blades as close together as possible. Hold for five seconds and release. Repeat 10 times. You should feel a pull in the muscles of your upper back while trying to bring your shoulder blades together during this exercise.

The Butterfly

This exercise can be performed while sitting or standing. Place your left hand on your left shoulder and your right hand on your right shoulder. Both of your palms should be facing down and resting on your shoulders. Leave your hands in place and try to bring both elbows together in front of your body. You will feel a pull in your upper back. Hold this stretch for several seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times and perform one to three sets daily.

Trunk Rotation

Sit on the bed, a table or a chair with your back straight and your legs positioned directly in front of your hips with both feet flat on the floor. Place your left hand on your right shoulder and your right hand on your left shoulder. Begin to twist your upper body first to the left and then to the right. Begin with slight rotations at first and perform bigger rotations as the muscles of your upper back loosen up. Repeat 10 times on each side.

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