Relieve Upper Back Tension Through Stretching
Let’s face it: we all deal with tightness in our upper back at some point in our lives. Whether sitting at a desk or going for long road trips, the shoulders and neck are bound to stiffen up. If not handled with care in time, this could lead to debilitating conditions such as thoracic kyphosis — basically a hunchback in the upper spine!
Take charge of your body and incorporate stretching into your daily life to prevent pain and postural imbalances. Opening the chest, shoulders, neck, and upper back will greatly help keep the spine healthy and happy. Next time your upper back feels tight, try to stretch it out.
Start by warming up your neck first. Take your right hand over your head and drop the ear down toward the shoulder. Hold for a few breaths, and then change to the other side. Lift the head back up and interlace both hands behind your head. From here, tuck your chin to your chest and let the elbows drop gently downward with you, so you get some gentle traction through your neck. Keep the spine tall, so the shoulders do not round forward. Hold for a few moments, and then lift your head back up. Keep your hands behind your head. Begin to press the back of your head into your hands and look upward to the sky. Doing this will open the chest and shoulders in the opposite direction.
Another great way to stretch the upper back is to bring the elbows together in front of you. Keeping the elbows glued together is important here to really target the space between your shoulder blades. Once they are together, try to lift them up as high as you can without letting them separate. You can also try twisting to one side and then the other to target deeper in the shoulder blades.
This next stretch is ideal for tight shoulders. From a seated or standing position, interlace your hands behind your hips. If your shoulders are very tight, use a strap instead. Bend forward at the waist and bring your hands overhead.
If you have ever dealt with a tight upper back, your body will surely thank you after these stretches. The great thing is you can do them anywhere, too!