Currently viewing the tag: "upper back pain relief"

Many people come into my Beverly Hills chiropractic office asking what they can do to stretch their upper backs.  Upper back pain and stiffness has become more common as the use of computers and laptops has increased.  I always say that the best stretch for the upper back is really a stretch for the chest, because when the chest muscles (pectorals major and minor) get tight, they can cause the upper back muscles to become overactive.

As far as I’m concerned, pec stretches are fundamental, so EVERYONE should be doing them.  But especially people with neck pain, upper back stiffness or shoulder injuries should ultimately open up their chest areas.  Watch the video below to see the best pec stretch for flexibility and upper back pain relief.

Achy, sore neck and upper back following a long day in front of the computer?  Work at a desk and at day’s end feel like your head weighs a ton?  Perhaps you’re a student, head down, nose in the books all day long…that can certainly cause a stiff neck.  Architect?  Lots of driving?  T.V. in bed?  All these activities are common causes of neck and upper back pain and discomfort.

A perfect exercise to help the office worker, student, computer junkie, or couch crasher is something called the Brugger relief position.  This position works by engaging the postural muscles of the spine, holding the body upright.  While it may be uncomfortable for a few people at first (habitual slouchers), engaging the postural muscles takes pressure off the ligaments, which hold the spine up during slouching, and ultimately leads to upper back pain relief.

Watch the video below to see how to properly do the Brugger relief position at home or at work.  Do this exercise every day, minimum five times, until your body is used to the posture.  Then you can do the exercise whenever you start to feel stiff or sore in the neck or upper back.  This exercise does wonders for low back pain, too.

Schroeder-Piano (Copy)One important factor in beating neck pain is to strengthen and stabilize weak areas such as the upper back and shoulders. Since we spend so much time in activities which have us flexing our upper torsos (think Schroeder playing the piano), it is no surprise that the upper back muscles get weak or inactive as a result. Strengthening this region, then, is of the utmost importance. My favorite exercise to carry out this task is the chest raise—simple and effective…no bells, whistles, benches, cables, kettlebells or five-finger shoes needed. Watch the video below to see how simple the chest raise is to do; but don’t mistake its simplicity for easy—this exercise is tough, especially if your upper back extensors are deconditioned.

People will often ask me if they should do this exercise with weight. The answer is NO! Gravity will provide the resistance. Weights will simply have you recruiting muscles you are not attempting to strengthen. If not challenged by this movement, then you may not be deconditioned. This is a rehab exercise, not a gains exercise. Stick to your tried and true for muscle growth. But like any other contraction, muscle tissue is being micro-torn, which will then repair, so giving a minimum of one day rest between sessions is imperative. Drink lots of water too (two liters), always. And get ready for the next stretch: the neck stretch…

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