Exercises for Relieving Upper Back Pain

by Gary Watts

Exercises for Relieving Upper Back Pain - Eastnole

Pain in your upper or middle back can disrupt your day-to-day activities. When such pain becomes chronic, it not only affects us physically but also emotionally. From physical discomfort to impacting our temper and frame of mind, middle back, upper back and shoulder pain can have a great impact on your life. 

There are different reasons for upper back pain and most of them are associated with the strain of your spine and back muscles. Poor posture, overdoing of activity or lifting of heavy objects can put a strain on your spine and back muscles, causing injury and upper back pain.

Regardless of the reasons for your upper back pain – over-sitting at a desk, bending over looking at your phone or even injury specific exercises like stretching and strengthening ones may help you with your recovery process. In this article, we have compiled a list of exercises that support your thoracic spine to alleviate such pains. These exercises can go a long way to relieving your upper back pain.


  • Press-Up Exercise

  • To practise this exercise, you first need to lie on your stomach. While lying, ensure to keep your hands under your shoulders. Now, with the support of your elbow, gradually raise your upper body. Here, you must keep your hips and forearms relaxed on the ground. Onto this position, slowly breathe out and let your chest go down toward the ground. Hold into this position for 5 seconds and you will feel a stretch in your mid-back. Slowly return to the ground. Repeat it asd manay times as needed before your form becomes affected.


  • Rotating Chair Twists
  • Sit on the edge of a chair. Keeping your spine and shoulder straight, put your hands to the back of your head. Keeping your feet on the ground, twist your torso towards the right. Hold onto this position for 5 seconds. Ensure that your body above the waist is facing your right. Now, gradually twist your body forward and then repeat the exercise to the left. This is one of the best stretches for the upper back


  • Cat-Cow Pose
  • The cat-cow pose is a great exercise to ease your upper and middle back pain. To do this exercise, get down on all fours. Ensure that your knees and hands are on the ground. To begin with, keep both your back and neck in a straight and neutral position. Now, slowly tighten your core (lower abdomen) and round your back towards the ceiling. While doing so, tuck your chin. You will experience a comfortable stretch along your spine. Hold onto this position for 5 seconds. Slowly return to the straight position. Next, lift your head along with your tailbone and chest slowly toward the sky. Ensure that your spine and stomach sink toward the ground. Again hold onto this position for 5 seconds. Gradually return to the straight position. 

  • Thoracic Extension

  • The thoracic extension is a great exercise for relieving your upper back pain. For best results, practise this exercise on a chair or the YoBack. If you are using the Yoback as your prop, place it under your neck or upper spine (thoracic spine). Now let your head and back fall on either side. Open your hands above your head and stretch deeply. However, if you are practising this exercise on a chair, sit straight on it and let your body fall over your chair's back. Open your hands above your head and deepen the stretch. Hold onto the position for at least 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise 3 -5 times for the best results.

    • Rowing 

    Rowing is great for strengthening your upper back muscles. To make this exercise effective and impactful, either use a resistance band or a dumbbell. If you are using a band, affix it to a pole or a stable object. Now, grab the handles by extending your arms. Slowly pull the handles, bending your elbows. Ensure to keep your abdomen tight and your elbows close to your body. While practising this exercise, you must feel the stretch in your lats. However, if you are practising with a dumbbell, hold it tight in your left hand. Take support on a wall with your right hand. Hinge at the waist and let the dumbbell hang down. Keeping your neck straight and elbow tucked, pull the dumbbell up. Repeat it with your right hand. To make it more effective, perform at least 3–4 sets. 

  • Face Pull 

  • Upper back and shoulder pain can be bothersome and affect the quality of your life. To avoid such pain, strengthen your shoulder and upper back muscles with face pull exercise. To practise this exercise using a resistance band. Affix the band to a pole. Ensure that it is above your eye level. Now, grab the handles of this band with an overhand grip. Pull the band slowly toward your face. While pulling, flair your upper arms out to the sides. Also, ensure that the pull is squeezing your shoulders together. Repeat the exercise 10–12 times for better results. 


  • Use the YoBack 


    The YoBack has been specifically designed to help reduce upper back and shoulder pain quickly and easily. Use the full wheel in child's pose to open your shoulders or place the one YoBlock on your cervical spine to release pressure in your chest, neck and shoulders. Use our free ebook with links to plenty of tutorial videos to reduce your upper back and shoulder pain in just 30 days! 

    The severity and duration of the upper back pain depend upon the underlying cause. If you are experiencing mild aches and pains, these exercises might help your condition within a few weeks or a month. Remember, these exercises strengthen and relax your muscles so that your injury heals. However, if you are experiencing severe discomfort, consider consulting your physician to relieve your upper back pain

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