Upper back pain exercises build muscle strength in patients who have chronic pain originating in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (upper and middle back) regions. If you have been diagnosed with this spine condition, it is important to consult your physician before undertaking an exercise program.
Not all upper back pain is caused by a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. In fact, most back pain is associated with a strained muscle, usually caused by repetitive activity or poor posture. Even this kind of pain should be evaluated by a physician if it persists for longer than a few weeks. After a physician consultation, preventive upper back pain exercises can be performed, even as you sit at your desk.
Exercising while at work
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses recommends taking a “wellness microbreak” at work. That is, a quick stoppage of work activity every 30 to 60 minutes, during which you can perform one or more of the following exercises to avoid upper back pain symptoms:
- Upper back movement – reach over your shoulders and place your hands flat against your upper back; bend forward, elbows toward the floor; unwind gradually, lower back to head
- High-reach stretch – raise your arms above your head; spread your fingers; reach as high as possible; hold for five seconds, relax, then repeat five times
- Shoulder rolls – sit comfortably, back upright and relaxed, feet flat on the floor; gently roll shoulders back; relax, then repeat five times
- Shoulder squeeze – sit upright with the spine relaxed; bend your arms at a 90 degree angle and raise them to the side so that your elbows are pointing outward at shoulder height; move arms back, squeezing shoulder blades together; slide head back over shoulders
- Shoulder shrug – sit upright with spine relaxed; shrug shoulders upward and hold; relax, then repeat five times
Minimally invasive treatment
If chronic discomfort persists despite weeks or months of upper back pain exercises or other conservative upper back pain treatment, contact Laser Spine Instituteto learn how a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed using advanced techniques may help you recover your spine health.