7 Stretches For Upper Back Pain Relief

Say goodbye to that pesky tension.

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Upper back stiffness can happen for several reasons, including but not limited to typing, texting, and playing sports, says Austin Martinez, a certified athletic trainer and director of education for StretchLab. That’s where these stretches for upper back pain come in handy.

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Cat Cow

This staple yoga move can help ease upper back pain, says Ellen Thompson, a certified trainer at Blink Fitness. Perform 10 cat cows from quadruped position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Round your back up for cat, then press the belly button down in cow.

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Chest Stretch

Stretching your chest in this pose — also called cow face — can also ease backaches. “Bring your arms behind your back and clasp your fingers with your pinky facing up," Martinez says. "Raise your arms slowly towards the ceiling.” Breathe and hold for 30 seconds.

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Traps Lacrosse Ball

Thompson’s tip? Grab a lacrosse ball to roll out tightness. “Stand about six inches away from a wall with your back to it,” Thompson says. Sandwich the ball on one side of your upper back and use your weight to give yourself a massage for a minute per side.

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Chest Lacrosse Ball

Thompson also suggests using a lacrosse ball to massage your pecs. If facing a wall isn’t comfortable or doesn’t give you the angle you need to hit your chest muscles, you can sit with your back against a wall or couch and use your hand for assistance.

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Lateral Neck Stretch

A tense upper back often means a tense neck. “Let your head drop to the left side — left ear to left shoulder — to generate a stretch sensation on the right side of your shoulder,” Martinez advises. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side.

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Lateral Rotation Neck Stretch

This one’s like the lateral neck stretch, but when your left ear’s near your left shoulder, bring your nose toward your chest. Martinez says this will help stretch your shoulder blades — and giving relief to your shoulder blades can soothe your back.

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Wall Glides

“Sit on the floor with your back and head against a wall,” Thompson says. “Reach the arms overhead while keeping your shoulders and arms in contact with the wall.” This will improve your shoulder mobility, which can ease backaches.