7 Everyday Stretches for a Healthy Mid and Upper Back
Mild to moderate upper back pain is a common complaint in the Age of Technology, where humans spend more and more hours engaged with computers and other electronic devices. Careless posture, long hours of sitting, stress and too little physical activity can all add up to nagging pain in your mid and upper back, neck and shoulders that never quite goes away. One important key to maintaining a healthy upper spine is stretching. When held for 30 to 60 seconds, static stretches that target the muscles supporting your spine can bring relief by allowing tense muscles to relax, taking pressure off your discs, nerves, connective tissue and bones. Perform these seven simple stretches daily, preferably with warm muscles from exercise or a hot bath or shower, and notice your back pain slowly ease away. Stretching before bedtime may help you sleep better. Be sure to relax into each stretch and breathe deeply, exhaling as you elongate your muscles.
- Seated Spinal Rotation: Sit on a mat with your legs together, extended in front of you. Pull your shoulders back and down and lift your chest to elongate your spine, centering your weight on your sit bones. Cross one foot over the opposite leg, bending your knee, and plant it on the floor next to your extended knee. Place your opposite arm on the outside of your bent knee and exhale as you rotate your spine in the direction of the bent knee. Gaze at the wall behind you and breathe naturally, holding your pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Prone Back Extension: Lie face-down on your mat, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the mat. Place your palms directly beneath your shoulders. Exhale and push off with your hands, lifting your upper body and extending your arms and spine. Try to keep your hips on the mat. Gaze ahead and breathe naturally, holding your pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Triangle Side Bend with Rotation: Take a wide stance, feet facing forward. Lift your arms to shoulder height. Slowly rotate your right hip until your foot points to the side. Bending at the hip, slide your right hand down your right leg, pointing the left hand to the ceiling. Hold until you feel balanced. Slowly lower your left hand and place it on the outside of your right foot. Reach your right hand toward the ceiling, rotating your spine as you gaze upward. Breathe naturally, holding your pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Slowly return to your start position and repeat to the left.
- Forward Bend with Wide Stance: Take a wide stance, toes pointing forward, knees straight. Bend forward from your hips (not your waist) and exhale as you allow your upper body to relax forward. Plant your hands on the floor if possible. Relax and hold for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing naturally.
- Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch: Stand erect with feet at hip-width (or sit erect on a chair). Inhale as your lift your arms overhead and interlace your fingers, rotating your wrists so your palms face upwards. Exhale and slowly lower your arms until they are parallel to the floor, pressing your palms forward and rounding your shoulders to stretch your spine. Breathe naturally and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Seated Mid and Low Back Stretch: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, spine erect, heels on the mat. Wrap your arms around your upper legs and pull in your navel as you exhale, rounding your back for a stretch. Breathe and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Supine Trunk Rotation: Lie supine on your mat, being careful to align your spine. Extend your arms to the side, palms down, creating a cruciform. Tuck your knees to your chest, inhale, then exhale and slowly drop both knees to the right, keeping your shoulders anchored. Breathe and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Return to center and repeat to the left.
Healthy Back Treatment in NYC
If you suffer from chronic back pain, the back pain specialists at NYDNRehab can help. We understand how everyday activities can take a toll on your spine, and we know how to identify and correct conditions that cause back pain. Contact NYDNRehab today, and let us help you ease your back pain.