Do you experience upper back pain between your shoulder blades? It is a familiar problem for many people, and can be caused by several physical activities, such as poor posture, overuse of your muscles, or staying in one position for too long. Fortunately, with some everyday stretching, you can maintain your mobility and alleviate pain in this area. In this article, we provide you with 6 basic stretches that can help release and relax the muscles in this area, thus relieving any discomfort or pain.

Modified Child’s Pose

The first stretch to try is modified Child’s pose. It is an easy move that is perfect for reducing tension in the upper back. To perform this stretch, begin on your hands and knees, with your toes tucked together. Reach forward with your arms and let your torso fall forward and down. Make sure to keep your back and shoulders relaxed. You can stay in this position for one minute and then slowly come back to your starting position.

How to Make this Move Easier

If your body does not allow you to hold this position, you can modify this stretch by bending your elbows and lowering your forehead to the ground. You can also put a small pillow or cushion under you to make the stretch more comfortable. Stay in the modified Child’s pose for about 30 seconds.

How to Make this Move Harder

You can challenge your body with this stretch by placing a pillow under your torso and pushing your hands against it. You can also place a dumbbell or block between your hands and hold it while your torso is lowered. Your goal is to keep your upper back relaxed as you strengthen your upper back muscles and shoulder blades.

Cat/Cow

Cat/cow is another great move to soothe pain in the upper back area. To perform this stretch, begin on your hands and knees, with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Inhale and lift your chest up, lifting your tailbone and pressing your shoulder blades down. This is the cow pose. Exhale and arch your back and look up toward the ceiling, letting your stomach sink toward the ground. This is the cat pose. Move slowly between these two positions for a minute and then gently come back to your starting point.

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How to Make this Move Easier

If you are finding this move too strong, you can move gradually into the cat and cow positions in the same way you did for the modified Child’s pose.

How to Make this Move Harder

If you are looking to make the Cat/Cow pose more challenging, you can hold a light weight or medicine ball in both hands and move it side-to-side as you move between the Cat and Cow poses.

Upward Dog

For this move, begin on your stomach with both hands on the ground under your shoulders. As you inhale, press your hands into the ground and begin to straighten your arms. Lift your head and chest off the ground, letting your shoulders come down away from your ears. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then slowly come back to your starting point.

How to Make this Move Easier

You can modify this move by lowering your hands and resting your forearms on the ground.

How to Make this Move Harder

To increase the strength of this move, you can add a light weight or medicine ball between your hands. Move and rotate the ball between your hands as you lower and lift your chest. Focus on maintaining a straight back and relaxed shoulder blades.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This traditional shoulder exercise helps stretch and strengthen the muscles in the upper back and between your shoulder blades. To perform this move, sit comfortably in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and push your elbows outward, squeezing your shoulder blades together. You can hold this position for 1-3 seconds and then release. Do 12-15 reps of this movement.

How to Make this Move Easier

If this move feels too difficult, you can use a resistance band to help you. Wrap the band around your forearms and hold each end with your hands. Then, press your elbows outward and pull the band gently as you feel the stretch in your upper back. This helps increase the strength in your muscles.

How to Make this Move Harder

If you want to make this move more challenging, you can add a weight, such as a light dumbbell, in each hand as you extend your elbows outward. Make sure to keep your head and neck relaxed while doing the movement.

Chest Expansion

This stretch helps to release tension in your shoulders and upper back and can be done standing or sitting, depending on your comfort level. To perform this move, stand up straight and clasp your hands behind your head. Slowly pull your elbows outward and up as you simultaneously squeeze your shoulder blades and open your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly release. Do 3-5 reps of this move.

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How to Make this Move Easier

If you are feeling too much tension in your upper back doing this move, you can modify it by clasping your hands behind your back and lifting your elbows up slowly. This position helps reduce the stretching in the shoulders and upper back.

How to Make this Move Harder

If you want to add an extra challenge to this move, you can lift a light weight or medicine ball with your arms extended and hold it above your head while pulling your shoulder blades together and expanding your chest.

Thread The Needle

This is a great move to improve shoulder mobility and relieve tension in the upper back. Start on all fours, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Place your left hand on your right shoulder blade. Take your right arm and slide it underneath your left armpit, let the palm of your right hand face up. Gently press down on your neck with your left hand and extend your right arm in the opposite direction. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides and repeat.

How to Make this Move Easier

If this move is too difficult for you, you can modify it by doing a similar move without going underneath your armpit. Begin on all fours with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Take your right arm and slide it out to the right side, with your palm facing up. Gently press down on your neck with your left hand and extend your right arm in that direction. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides and repeat.

How to Make this Move Harder

If you want to challenge your body, try rolling a yoga ball or foam roller between your hands. This helps increase the intensity of the stretch and allows you to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together to increase the emphasis on the muscles in that area.

Final Words

Upper back pain between the shoulder blades can be a common issue for many people. The good news is that with some simple stretching exercises, you can help alleviate the pain and tension. Try the 6 stretches outlined in this article and see which one works best for you. Be sure to listen to your body, and modify or increase the challenge of these stretches as necessary.