The following post introduces 3 stretches for upper back pain.

It’s the holidays and that means carrying packages, food for gatherings, and putting toys together.  This can place a lot of pressure at the base of your neck and down the upper back due to the weight being out in front or holding the neck in an awkward position. Today, I will discuss 3 very effective stretches for upper back pain and stiffness.

Stretch One for the chest below the collar bone

Stand in a doorway with one arm against the door frame. Make sure the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Using your feet only, rotate away from the arm on the door frame and hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Feel the stretch in the larger section of the chest as you stretch. This is the area below the collarbone and can become tight by carrying things or bench pressing in the gym. Make sure to do both sides.

Stretch Two for the outer section of the chest

Remain standing in the doorway, bend the elbow so the hand rests on the back of the head, keeping the elbow on the door frame. Using the feet only, rotate away from the elbow on the door frame, hold for 5 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Feel this stretch on the outside section of the chest. These are on the outside edge of the chest and usually tighten from reaching with your arms with weight or butterflies in the gym. This will help with rounded shoulders and head forward posture too. Remember to do both sides.

Stretch Three to relieve upper back pain

Sitting in a chair with your back against the back of the chair, place the chin on the palms of both hands, and feel the weight of your head. Relax the muscles on the backside of the neck and allow the hands to push the chin up towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Feel the stretch on the front of the neck. Most pain on the backside of the neck originates in the muscles on the front side being too short and needing a stretch. These get tight from over-lifting things or bent over rows in the gym. Remember, we look down most of the time and this will cause the front side to shorten.

Chest stretches are done in different ways, some are good and others just don’t work. Standing in a corner, or in a doorway with both hands on the door frame at the same time is very limited. Stretching as in the above directions focuses on one side at a time. This will give you a better stretch.

Using weights for stretching is not stretching. It is called weight lifting. Stretching is not about too much pressure or holding for long periods of time to force the muscles to let go. This is not, “No Pain, No Gain.” Feel the muscle stretching out and relaxing. If there is too much pain, the brain literally contracts the muscle, as it thinks you are being attacked, and you are. Stretching is about relaxing and allowing the body to let go emotionally so you can let go physically.

Check out my Virtual Evaluations to help you better understand why you hurt and how we can help you solve it at home with stretches for upper back pain or anywhere else. Once we can figure out why you hurt, we can send you videos of the stretches for you to do at home. The key here is, know the true cause, learn the correct technique to solve it, and then do it every day to keep it from coming back.

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