Say Goodbye to Back Pain with Effective Upper Body Techniques

Say Goodbye to Back Pain with Effective Upper Body Techniques


Back pain affects most adults in the US, at some point in life. It can stem from poor posture, age-related stiffness and overuse injuries. Fortunately, there are strategies to alleviate it.

Your upper body is key for better movement when back pain strikes. Strengthening and improving mobility in the torso can really help. This guide provides exercises for neck, shoulders, arms and core strength. It also offers tips for proper posture and safe movement. With the right moves and technique, you can learn how to overcome back pain!

Causes of Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is a frequent issue with muscular and skeletal systems. Reasons for this may be different. Poor posture, muscle strain, tension headaches and lifestyle are some of the common causes.

This article talks about the causes of upper back pain and provides helpful ways to treat it:

Poor Posture

Poor posture impacts the upper back greatly. When you sit for too long, hunching your shoulders or having bad spinal alignment puts stress on muscles, causing strain and pain. Additionally, doing something for too long, especially if it requires repetition, exhaustion and muscle strain can appear.

Incorrect posture or repeated action with bad form can make tension in the shoulder blades and near muscles. This causes pain in the upper body and neck. Incorrect positioning when standing or walking can also add to this discomfort due to muscle differences caused by wrong postural habits.

Upper back pain is also caused by tight chest muscles. This tightness makes a pulling feeling, plus tender areas in the chest wall. Tight chest muscles pull the shoulder blades, making postural changes that may cause soreness or tiredness in the upper back.

Stretching appropriately should be part of any exercise program to help with chronic upper back pain. It stops more hurt and relieves tension in these places.

Weak Muscles

Weak muscles can be caused by bad posture, a sedentary lifestyle, or doing too much with certain joints/muscles. They can also be from not using them enough, an injury, or a nerve issue. To get stronger muscles and to help your spine, do stretches and exercises. If you have upper body pain that doesn’t go away with rest or stretches/exercises, get medical help.

Causes of weak muscles include:

  • Poor posture causing tension to decrease (e.g. sitting on a computer too long)
  • Injury from doing too much
  • Muscle fatigue from not resting enough
  • Nerve irritation making muscles tight
  • Disc degeneration compressing nerve root
  • Herniated discs on nerve roots weakening muscles
  • Wear/tear on joints causing muscle imbalances

Poor Workout Habits

Certain activities can cause upper back pain. Not resting and recovering between workouts can lead to bad muscle recruitment and strain on the spine. Repetitive motions with the same body part, like bodybuilding or resistance training, can be a problem too. Stretching without warming up can also cause injury. Poor posture is another contributor to upper back pain.

To relieve it, do yoga poses like ‘downward facing dog’, ‘cobra’, or bridge poses several times a week.

Upper Body Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Upper body workouts can be awesome for relieving back pain and toning core muscles. From stretching to cardio to weight training, there are loads of exercises you can use to ease the discomfort.

In this article, we will look at the best upper body exercises for back pain relief and some other advice for managing it. Let’s begin!

Wall Angels

Wall Angels is an upper body exercise that many physical therapists, doctors, and chiropractors like. To do it, stand with your back against a wall. Put your arms out in a “T” shape at shoulder height. Press palms/backs of hands together. Move arms above head and out to sides, like angel wings. Hold for 5-10 seconds. This is one rep. Repeat 8-12 times for no more than three sets.

Wall Angels help with tight chest muscles and challenge arm strength & mobility. But, improper form can lead to more tension. Make sure feet are below hips. Shoulders should be down away from ears. Elbows should stay slightly bent as you move. This will help with ease of movement & prevent strain or injury.

Prone Cobra

Lie on your stomach with feet flat and arms outstretched. Engage your core and lift your head, neck and chest up. Keep your neck relaxed. Pull shoulder blades together making a “cobra” shape. Hold briefly then relax back down. Repeat 8-10 times.

Prone cobra is great for upper body strengthening. It relieves back pain and tension in muscles. Minimal equipment needed and easy to do at home.


Push-ups are a great way to strengthen your upper body muscles without hurting your back. You can modify the exercise to your own energy levels and needs.

  • Start in a plank position on your hands and toes. Place your hands wider than shoulder width apart and keep your core engaged. Focus on pressing down through your wrists while pushing up with your chest, instead of straight arms like in regular push-ups.
  • The size of each rep should depend on how stable you feel in the plank position. It can be as simple as one inch off the ground or full reps. As you get stronger, do regular push-ups with proper form. Engage your core muscles and maintain a straight line between your hips, shoulders, and feet.

Doing push-ups correctly is important to prevent injury. It can help build muscle strength, increase shoulder range of motion, build stability, and help protect your back from pain.

Lat Pulldowns

The Lat Pulldown is great for those with back pain. It strengthens muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, and chest. Use a cable machine. Pull a wide bar to your chest while keeping your body upright.

Target muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, pectoralis major, teres major and minor, deltoids, and triceps. Keep your feet on the platform for better control and to prevent any spinal movements.

  • Keep your shoulders down and elbows close together.
  • Pace yourself with each rep for better results and less strain on lower back muscles.
  • Try it today!

Stretches for Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can be awful! It can affect your daily life. Fortunately, there are a few stretches that can help. In this article, we’ll explain proper technique for each stretch. Plus, we’ll share extra tips and tricks.

Let’s get stretching to reduce upper back pain!

Cat-Cow Stretch

The cat-cow stretch is great for upper back pain. It can help increase range of motion, reduce stiffness and tension, and improve posture.

To do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Place your hands under your shoulders, with wide fingers. Put your knees hip-width apart, below your hips.
  2. Inhale and arch your back like a cow. Press into your palms to lift your chest towards the ceiling.
  3. Exhale and round your back towards the ceiling. Gently suck your stomach muscles in. Release tension in the lumbar spine.
  4. Do this sequence five times. Finish in tabletop position or do more stretches such as winding down dog or bounded angle pose (baddha konasana).

Chest Opener

To help with upper back pain, do the Chest Opener exercise! Stand in an open space. Stretch your arms out and point your palms forward. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, draw your elbows together behind you. Only go as far as is comfortable. Breathe deeply in this position for a few seconds. Release the tension and bring your elbows back.

Doing this regularly can reduce pain in your muscles. It can also strengthen areas near the spine, preventing further discomfort. Make the Chest Opener part of your routine. It’ll help your posture and give you relief from pain caused by bad posture or other injuries.

Seated Twist

The Seated Twist is an upper back stretch which helps to reduce tension in your shoulders, chest and upper back. You can do it in a few minutes without any equipment. To start:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Place your feet hip-distance apart, one stacked over the other. Put your hands behind you to support your body weight.
  2. Put one hand on the opposite shoulder and twist gently to the side until you feel a comfortable stretch in the chest and upper spine. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths before switching sides.
  3. You can use a foam roller or yoga block between your hands behind you while doing the seated twist. This will deepen the stretch and protect your spine.
  4. Repeat this 3-5 times on one side, then switch sides. This will ensure both sides receive an equal amount of stretches throughout the session.


To wrap it up, postural exercises can be an excellent way to strengthen your upper body and reduce back pain. Include strength, flexibility, relaxation, and proper posture while doing the exercises. This ensures your lumbar spine is well-supported and evenly loaded.

To prevent neck and shoulder tightness, sit up straight and avoid a forward head flexion position while sleeping. Make sure not to go overboard with physical activity. Doing so puts you in the best situation to win the battle against back pain over time. Exercise safely for successful results!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some effective upper body techniques for relieving back pain?

Effective upper body techniques for relieving back pain include stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, massage, and chiropractic adjustments.

2. Can poor posture cause back pain?

Yes, poor posture can cause back pain. Sitting or standing in a slouched or hunched position can put extra strain on the muscles and spine, leading to pain and discomfort.

3. How can I improve my posture?

You can improve your posture by sitting and standing up straight, keeping your shoulders back and down, and engaging your core muscles. It can also be helpful to take breaks regularly to stretch and move your body.

4. Can exercise help with back pain?

Yes, exercise can help relieve back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the spine and improving flexibility. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, and yoga are particularly beneficial for back pain.

5. Is massage therapy effective for back pain?

Yes, massage therapy can be effective for back pain by promoting better circulation, reducing muscle tension, and releasing endorphins that can help reduce pain and stress.

6. How can chiropractic care help with back pain?

Chiropractic care can help address back pain by using hands-on spinal manipulation to improve alignment and reduce pressure on the nerves and muscles in the back. Your chiropractor may also recommend exercises or other therapies to help reduce pain and improve mobility.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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