Stretch Away Shoulder & Back Pain

Nov 4, 2016

4 Shoulder and Upper Back Pain Stretches

Tension of the shoulders and upper back is very common. Improper posture, due to prolonged sitting, craning of the neck and/or continuous arm movement in front of the body or above the shoulders are among numerous probable causes of such tension. Additionally, this stress can be created by bone or joint abnormalities, muscle strain, dislocation, trauma, degenerative diseases, tumors, whiplash, scoliosis, work related or athletic injuries, etc. Typically, symptoms of shoulder and upper back tension begin with aches, pains, stiffness of the muscle and/or even numbness and tingling. However, if the issue remains unaddressed, it may result in Arthritis, herniated or bulging discs, pinched nerves, osteoporosis and much more. Because the symptoms of shoulder and back tension can vary, it is important to understand the anatomy of the deep and superficial muscles that play a role in your pain. To spare you the details, there are ten major muscles all of which vary in length, direction, depth, etc. Which is precisely why treatment and prevention of your pain can be very tricky. Lengthening the muscles through stretches and pressure point release techniques is among the most sought after solutions. Other techniques, as with many musculature related issues, include hot and cold therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, strength training and foam rolling.To get you started, try these 4 Stretches to Relieve your Shoulder and Upper Back Tension.


1. Arm Across the Chest Stretch

Standing, bring one arm across your chest as the opposite hand rests on its elbow. Using the hand on the elbow, draw the arm across the body toward the neck until you feel a stretch in the rear deltoid and upper back. Hold this stretch for a count of 20 as you breathe fluidly. For an assisted stretch you can hold the edge of a door jam with the hand of your extended arm.

2. Hugging Stretch

To target the deep rhomboids on both sides of the back try standing and crossing your arms over your chest as if you are hugging yourself. With one elbow on top of the other, reach your hands toward the opposite shoulder. Lift up on your elbows so that you really feel the stretch between the shoulder blades. Breathe deeply for 20 seconds. Repeat 2-3x.

3. Fixed Bar Rhomboid Stretch

Because the rhomboids are deep muscle tissue you can use a little assistance in the form of a horizontal bar that is just below chest height and firmly anchored like a ballet barre or stair rail. Start by standing with feet about shoulder width apart and facing the bar. Using an overhand grip, take hold of the bar and lean your body backward. Straighten the elbows as you allow your weight to shift to your trunk and hips and your shoulders to shift forward. You should feel a good stretch across the upperback between the shoulder blade. Hold for a count of 20 seconds as you take large breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Repeat 2-3x.

4. Child’s Pose with Long Reach

Begin on your hands and knees. Take your knees wide apart as you touch your big toes together and sink your weight into your hips bending at the knees. With palms facing down, stretch them overhead as if you are reaching for something with your fingertips. Allow your spine to lengthen and head to fully relax in the position. Hold for as long as you like as you take deep inhales and exhales. You can even try rolling your neck gently side-to-side.Do you want more? Good news! You Health Advisor is here to support you.Email Casey Edmonds at to get our full list of stretches and pressure point release techniques that just might have you feeling like you are 16years old again!


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