Upper back pain has always been the scourge of office and remote workers, but with the changing landscape of work, it’s becoming a problem for more of us than ever. You’re likely well aware that prolonged sitting often leads to back pain, but the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to address the root causes without taking medication—or switching jobs.
A physical therapist can provide helpful insight into your situation, and suggest the best stretches for your upper back pain and shoulder pain. You can also equip your workspace with equipment like standing desks and ergonomic office chairs.
But before you take those actions, it’s a great idea to learn how to stretch for upper back pain on your own! These four stretches for upper back pain take just a few minutes to complete, and most can be done without leaving your seat.
Even if you haven’t thought much about how to stretch for upper back pain, you probably remember these from gym class. Here’s how to perform a neck roll:
For best results, be sure to pair multiple stretches for upper back pain together! Butterfly wings help back pain by strengthening your rhomboid and pectoral muscles. This is another exercise that you can easily do from an office chair:
Shoulder shrugs are one of the best stretches for upper back pain not so much because they stretch your muscles, but because they build strength in your trapezius muscles. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing your neck and upper back, and when they’re strong, it reduces strain on your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Here’s how they work:
If this feels too easy, add light dumbbells for a challenge!
As with shoulder shrugs, you’ll begin a shoulder roll by pulling your shoulders tight up to your ears. After this, bring them back down in a circular motion. Repeat this movement in both forward and backward directions, five times each.
If you’d like expert guidance on your journey to a pain-free life, a licensed physical therapist can help you to reduce back pain through improved core strength and mobility, provide manual therapy, and suggest personalized strength-building exercises and stretches for your upper back pain.
Find out how you can start the healing process today at IMPACT Physical Therapy! We’re easy to reach from downtown Chicago and the southwest suburbs, and you’ll also find us in Champaign Urbana.