Simple Movements for Neck and Upper Back Pain Relief

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Therapydia physical therapist Aaron Page, DPT gives us a couple of quick tips to alleviate neck and upper back pain. These simple exercises can be performed almost anywhere and can help you break out of that slouching position that is so easy to fall into. Sure, you may get a couple of odd looks in the office but these stretches will keep your neck and back moving to decrease pain associated with poor posture.

Spine Extension & Pec Stretch

This movement uses the back of your chair and helps to extend through your thoracic spine and stretch out your pec muscles.

• Find the tight spot right at the base of your thoracic spine.
• Interlace your hands back behind your head. Keep your elbows tucked and pointing forward. Keep your head relaxed.
• Tuck your head in and come up over the top of your chair.
• Move up or down an inch or so to find the stiff spot in your upper back.

Make sure that you’re not hyperextending through your low back but emphasizing movement through your upper back to help offload your neck. If the height of your chair isn’t cutting it, use a small towel roll to pin the spot right underneath the area of your stiff upper back.

Lats & Chest Stretch

This doorway/wall exercise works on extending through your upper back, stretching out your lats and the front of your chest. It’s sort of a double dip between a stretch and a thoracic spine mobilization.

• Position yourself a comfortable distance away from the wall, hands in.
• Push your butt back, keeping your spine in a neutral position.
• Look straight down and think about sinking your chest bone down towards the floor.
• Stretch down along the other sides of your arms and move through your upper back.

Dynamic Pec Stretch with Trunk Rotation

• Place your forearm up against the doorway. Bring your opposite foot forward so that you’re in a neutral position.
• Take a small lunge and add in a rotation away from the door jam so that you’re pulling from your pec and not just the front of your shoulder.
• Rotate back one step and repeat. Make sure that you’re pulling through the front of your chest.

Learn more about Neck Pain / Back Pain

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