Physiotherapist Upper Back Stretches to Relieve Stiffness & Pain – Part 1

Do you suffer from upper back stiffness or discomfort?

Are you seeking some simple upper back stretches that provide quick relief?

This short exercise video shows you 2 simple and effective middle and upper back stretches using a rolled towel to help you stretch.

Posture and pelvic floor function go hand in hand – good upright posture contributes towards optimal pelvic floor muscle support.

Video duration: 5 minutes

Suitability: This video will suit you if you’re prone to upper/middle  back stiffness and/or discomfort with prolonged leaning forwards activity (e.g. poor posture, computer work, nursing mothers). These stretches are pelvic floor friendly for women.

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

Please scroll below this video for stretching guidelines and variations for these upper back stretches.

Equipment for Upper Back Stretches

  • 1 bath towel or thick hand towel
  • 1 pillow or cushion
  • Exercise mat (optional)

Setting Up for Your Upper Back Stretches

  • Choose a firm supportive surface for your back stretches (a mattress is too soft)
  • Fold a bath towel in half along the longest edge
  • Roll the towel up to approximately thumb to third finger in diameter (you may need to adjust this according back stiffness or hardness of the supporting surface)
  • Position the towel roll length ways on your mat and cushion at the head of the mat
  • Lie down on the towel roll so that it’s positioned directly under your upper middle spine
  • Support your head and neck with the cushion or pillow
  • Bend both knees and position your feet flat on the ground.

 

These two upper back stretches should feel pain-free and within your comfortable range of movement.

Upper Back Stretch 1

This stretch can help to relieve discomfort and/or stiffness in the upper middle back.

  • Position your body in the stretching set up position described above
  • Start with your arms by your sides
  • Keep your arms approximately shoulder width apart throughout
  • Raise both of your arms reaching them towards the ceiling with your palms facing each other
  • Take a deep breath in
  • Breathe out slowly as you reach your arms overhead towards the ground above your body as far as comfortable for your shoulders and spine – avoid stretching into a position of discomfort
  • Breathe in again and return your arms to your sides
  • Repeat this upper back stretch as many times as feels comfortable for your body – on average approximately 10 times in a row

Stretching Variations:

  1. Maintain the arms overhead stretching position for a number of breaths
  2. Facing your palms towards your thighs as you reach overhead
  3. Holding onto a length of wooden dowel as you raise and lower your arms (especially useful if your shoulders are prone to soreness)

Upper Back Stretch 2

This upper back stretch helps relieve spinal stiffness and stretch the chest muscles promoting good upright posture.

  • Position your body in the stretching set up position described above
  • Start with your arms raised towards the ceiling and your palms facing your feet
  • Take a deep breath in
  • Breathe out slowly as you lower your elbows out either side of your body towards the mat
  • Breathe in and return your arms to reach towards the ceiling
  • Repeat this upper back stretch as many times as feels comfortable for your body – on average approximately 10 times in a row

Stretching Variations

  1. Maintain the stretch position with your elbows touching the mat for a number of breaths
  2. Rotate your forearms backwards towards the mat when in the outstretched position to increase the stretch in your chest muscles

When to Stretch?

These upper back stretches can be performed when you first wake up to relieve spinal stiffness. This is also an ideal time to perform lower back stretches.

Alternatively you may choose to do them at regular intervals throughout the day to help you prevent or relieve upper back discomfort during your regular activities.

Learn how to stretch safely with these Physiotherapy stretching guidelines

Key Points for Upper Back Stretches

These upper back stretches can help provide quick and effective relief for spinal stiffness and back discomfort.

Your deep breathing is important during these exercises – always breathe out as you move into the stretch and breath in returning your arms to starting position.

Perform these stretches slowly and keep them within your comfortable pain-free range of movement.

Choose either or both of the upper back stretches demonstrated and repeat them up to 10 times in a row.


Physiotherapist Guided Stretching DVD

Physiotherapist Stretching DVD
‘Roll Up To Unwind’ is a complete guided stretching DVD for improving whole body joint and muscle flexibility.

Multi-award winning Physiotherapist Lisa Westlake incorporates exercise ball flexibility exercises in this easy to follow stretching DVD.

READ MORE ABOUT STRETCHING DVD


Comments

  1. I need lower back ones for stenios and disc bulging.