Upper back pain exercises

Upper back pain in the thoracic spine can be caused by a degenerative spine condition, an injury or simply muscle sprain. Because these causes are so vastly different, you should always consult your physician or spine care specialist before beginning any treatment for back pain. For example, exercises and muscle strengthening may help relieve upper back pain caused by a spine condition, but it will aggravate back pain caused by muscle strain.

If you have already seen a physician for your back pain and you have been diagnosed with a spine condition, you may want to try a few simple back strengthening exercises that may help reduce your pain and symptoms. Often, back pain occurs because a component of the spine has shifted out of alignment and impacted a nerve root in the spinal canal. By strengthening the muscles immediately surrounding the spine, the components of the spine are held in proper alignment and the spine has additional support for the weight of the body.

Try some of these simple exercises after consulting your physician about appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Strengthening exercises at work

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses recommends taking a “wellness micro break” 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 Institute to learn how a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed using advanced techniques may help you recover your spine health.