Physiotherapist Upper and Middle Back Stretches – Video Part 2

Do you suffer ongoing discomfort in your upper middle back?

Does massage provide only temporary relief?

This exercise video shows you two upper middle back stretches for relieving back stiffness, improving spinal flexibility and promoting good upright posture.

Your upright posture effects your pelvic floor – these exercises can help promote good upright posture.

Video duration: 5 minutes

Suitability: This exercise video is designed for individuals who are prone to upper/middle back stiffness and/or discomfort with everyday activity. These middle back stretches are pelvic floor friendly.

Avoid: With severe spinal osteoporosis and/or high risk of spinal fracture

Please scroll down below this exercise video for written guidelines and tips to assist with these two middle back stretches.

Equipment for Upper & Middle Back Stretches

  • 1 bath towel or thick hand towel
  • 1 pillow or cushion
  • Firm support surface e.g. exercise mat

Set Up For Middle Back Stretches

The set up for these middle back stretches is very similar to that used in upper back stretching video 1 in this stretching series.

  • Choose a firm supportive surface for your back stretches (a mattress is too soft)
  • Position your rolled towel horizontally (rather than length ways) across your mat
  • Use a pillow or cushion to support your head and neck
  • Lie down so the towel roll is positioned horizontally across your middle back almost in line with your bra strap
  • Keep your knees bent and feet flat throughout these stretches.

This towel roll stretching technique is not appropriate for the neck and or lower back. Choose alternative neck stretches or lower back stretches for these regions of the body.

Both of these middle back stretches should feel pain free and within your comfortable range of movement.

If you feel middle back discomfort associated with these stretches reduce the size of your towel roll. If discomfort persists stop the exercises.

Middle Back Stretch 1

This middle back stretch can help to release specific areas of stiffness in the upper and/or middle back

  • Start with your arms by your sides
  • Inhale deeply
  • Exhale slowly as raise both extended arms, palms facing off the mat and overhead
  • Reach your arms above your head taking them as far back as feels comfortable for your body
  • Inhale and lower both arms back down to your starting position
  • Perform this middle back stretch as many times as feels comfortable for your body, usually up to approximately 10 times in a row
  • Move the towel roll up or down the back to release the areas of tension required

Stretching Tips

1. Exhaling while moving into the stretch (i.e. raising your arms overhead) is important for getting the most benefit from these middle back stretches.
2. Adjust the size of the towel roll to keep these exercises comfortable for your body
3. Keep the towel roll in the upper middle back rather than the neck or lower back.

Middle Back Stretch 2

Middle back stretch 2 incorporates chest stretching to promote long-term relief and improved posture.

  • Use the same starting position described for stretch 1 with the towel roll positioned horizontally across your trunk under the middle back
  • Place your elbows, forearms and palms together above your chest
  • Inhale deeply
  • Exhale and lower your bent arms either side of your body towards the ground away from your trunk
  • Try to touch the back of your arms, forearms and hands to the ground
  • Ideally your upper arms will form right angles to your trunk
  • Maintain this chest and middle back stretch for a couple of breaths
  • Inhale and return your bent elbows back to starting position
  • Repeat this exercise as many times as you like – on average approximately 10 times in a row

Stretching Tips

  • Read more about how to stretch with Physiotherapy stretching guidelines
  • Move the rolled towel up or down your middle back to stretch specific areas of the middle back
  • If your shoulders feel sore doing this stretch with bent elbows, modified this exercise with the arms straight and lowering the arms just away from the sides of the body (rather than right angles)

Key Points for Middle Back Stretches

These middle back stretches aim to relieve spinal stiffness in the upper/middle back and promote good upright posture for long-term benefit.

Perform these stretches to prevent and/or ease your middle back e.g. after prolonged keyboard work, at the start or end of your day.

These middle back stretches should always feel comfortable and pain free.

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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. My tummy and right side, and pelvic region strain and hurt when I raise my arms or twist, I have a mild/moderate prolapse,front and back, but I want to do stretches so badly, feel like I’m pulling or twisting my intestines to a crimp or hurting my pelvic region? Am I just being a baby or scared? Will I make something worse? I can’t lift arms for morning yawnstretch! Ps.. you changed my life with your bowel movement help video! What a difference!! Thank you Michelle, you’re just amazing ☺

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Chris
      I’m not aware of your full history however raising your arms won’t hurt your pelvic floor or worsen your prolapse. I’m so glad the bowel movement video has helped you! It’s a good technique to know and use routinely with a prolapse

  2. These stretches look like they help you feel grea5t! I struggle with tightness in my back. Often my muscles there are sore. I will try these stretches to see how they feel! Thanks for the advice!!