Types of exercises for upper back pain

Upper back pain in the thoracic spine can be caused by a degenerative spine condition, an injury or simply as a result of muscle strain. Because these causes are so vastly different, you should always consult your doctor 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. Upper back pain exercises are a good way to build muscle strength for patients who suffer from chronic pain centered in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (upper and middle back) regions of the spine.

If you have already seen a doctor for your upper 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. Be sure to consult your doctor to see if the simple exercises outlined below are appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Upper back pain exercises for work

It is important to take a wellness micro-break at work, which entails a quick stoppage of work activity every 30 to 60 minutes. During this time period, 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 on your upper back, then bend forward with your elbows toward the floor. Be sure to unwind gradually, from your lower back to your head.
  • High-reach stretch. Raise your arms as high as possible above your head and spread your fingers. Hold this position for five seconds, relax, then repeat this stretch five times.
  • Shoulder rolls. Sit comfortably and relaxed with your back upright. Keep your feet flat on the floor and gently roll your shoulders back, relax, then repeat this stretch five times.
  • Shoulder shrug. Sit upright with your spine relaxed. Shrug your shoulders upward and hold this position, relax, then repeat this stretch five times.
  • Shoulder squeeze. Sit upright with your 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 your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then turn your head left and right.

Minimally invasive alternatives to upper back pain exercises

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 our outpatient procedures, which are performed using advanced techniques, may help you recover your spine health. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive procedures use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate upper back pain, resulting in a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^

To make a confident decision about your spine care, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. We have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their chronic back pain.