What are the Different Types of Upper Back Stretches?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2019
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If a person has constant pain in his or her upper back, it could be caused by tight muscles. When upper back muscles are tighter than they should be, it can lead to pain and inflammation. There are many types of upper back stretches that can help increase the flexibility of the upper back and reduce the amount of pain. Generally, the goal of upper back stretches is to increase the range of motion of the back muscles safely over a period of time. Upper back exercises include the hands-up, the hands-out, and shoulder rolls.

The hands-up stretch is a good way to increase flexibility in the muscles surrounding the shoulder. A stretcher should start by sitting on a solid floor with legs either out straight or crossed. The fingers should be laced together before the arms are pushed above the head. A stretch should then be felt in the shoulder and above the armpits. The stretch typically should be held for at least 20 seconds and repeated several times.


Similar to the hands-up, the hands-out stretch focuses on slightly different muscles. The stretcher should begin by sitting in a chair with hands together but not clasped. Each hand should then be twisted out so that the palms face outward and then should be crossed over so that the palms are together. Next, the stretcher should arch the top of his or her back and push the arms forward while bringing the head down toward the floor. The stretch typically should be held for around 20 seconds and then repeated several times.

Shoulder rolls are not technically one of the many upper back stretches, but they are one of best upper back exercises that can increase range of motion and mobility. The stretcher should stand straight and then start to bring their shoulders round in a smooth roll. To begin with, he or she should make small circles and then expand to larger ones. Once the person suffering from back pain has completed about 20 repetitions, he or she should stop and then roll the shoulders in the opposite direction.

Upper back stretches should always be painless and a comfortable experience. If the stretches are not comfortable, then this is likely a sign that the person is overstretching. It could also mean that there is something wrong with the back that requires medical attention. In this case, the stretcher should contact his or her doctor or physiotherapist. Upper back stretching can help many conditions, but not all. If the stretcher does not see any improvements within a few weeks, seeking medical attention usually is recommended.



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