Stretches for Upper Back Pain Relief

7 Stretches for Upper Back Pain Relief That You Can Do In 7 Mins or Less

Do you have 7 minutes?

If you’ve ever felt that jolt along the spine in your upper back, you know the distracting feeling.

One study reports that 1 out of 10 men, and 1 out of 5 women experience upper back pain. The medical name for this disease is Thoracic Spine Pain or TSP.

The upper back area includes from neck and extends till ribcage. The whole upper back consists of 12 bones. Pain or discomfort can be felt in any of them. 

It is usually a result of bad posture, extreme use of muscles, injury, herniated discs, pinched nerve, myofascial pain, and spinal infection. 

The good news is that there are several ways to eliminate upper back pain. The most natural of these treatments is stretching.

In the rest of this article, we will discuss specific stretching techniques to help with your upper back pain


1. Thoracic spine foam rolling

Image Credit: Functional Movement

Poor posture a cause of upper back pain results in tightening the trapezius muscle. You need to lose it by stretching, and here is how you can do it. 

Buy a foam roller and place it on the floor. 

Lie back and place upper back on the foam roller. 

Bend your knees in such a way that only your feet touch the ground. 

Place your hands behind the head. 

Start moving up and down via roller in such a way that the movement reaches mid-back and return towards shoulders rolling. 

Where you feel strained muscles, pause there for 20 seconds. 

2. Child’s pose

Image Credit: Gaia

When your back-muscle Latissimus Dorsi is strained, you need to do this stretching. 

Sit on the floor on feet and bend your knees. 

Your knees and the lower legs are touching the floor. 

Do not stretch your feet backward. You will need support form toes to push hips. 

Now stretch your arms forward as much as you can and bring your head downward. 

Stay there for a few seconds. And then return towards the original position. 

Three reps are enough. 

3. W & Y Stretch & Retract

As revealed by the names, it means that you will have to shape yourself like W and Y. This kind of stretching is quite easy. You do not need a mat. Stand anywhere and do it. 

Stand straight in a relaxed position. 


Bend your arms in such a way that each of them makes a tip of letter W. This will be bending them at 90 degrees. 

Squeeze your shoulders backward. Breath two times and release the posture 

To make a Y shape, extend your arms upwards in a tilted position and hold them for two breaths. 

Release slowly and repeat. Remember to breathe deeply.

4. Seated levator scapulae stretch

If you are a job holder and spend most of your time on a desk job, you are likely to feel tired in the upper back. Here is how you can cure by stretching. 

Sit on a chair that has no back support. 

Extend your right hand towards the back of your chair and grasp it for support.

Lower your chin towards the chest and rotate your head towards the left shoulder.

Push it a little and bring it towards the left armpit until you feel a stretch. 

Hold there for up to 20 seconds. 


(Pro Tip: Want Back Pain Relief? 10 Reasons to Stand More and Sit Less)

5. Back extension exercise

Lie on your stomach and place a pillow under your hips. 

Stretch back both arms and bend them at the lower back.

Lift your upper body- head and chest- and keep the rest immovable. 


Remain in the same position for 5 seconds. 

Perform 8 to 10 reps. 

6. Opposite arm and leg raise

This yoga pose is called bird-dog. Your whole body and major muscles are stretching. Here is how you can do it. 

Place your hands and knees on the ground. 

Extend the right arm forward and left leg backward. Only one knee and hand are touching the floor. 

Hold yourself there for 10-15 seconds and breathe deeply. 

Repeat the same with the left arm and right leg. 

7. Wall angels

upper back pain relief | wall angels
Image Credit: Pure Physiotherapy

Stand straight with a wall and your back facing the wall. 

Step forward so your back can be straight against a wall in a better way.

Extend your arms upwards against the wall and bend them 

Move your arms slowly down and upwards with the wall. 


Move them upwards as much as you can. And return them until they touch your hand. 

Do 10 reps. 

(Related: 6 Morning Yoga Stretches to Loosen Stiffness)

Upper back pain relief stretches: your turn

So here’s the thing: getting upper back pain relief is possible. Yes, there are medicines in the market which claim to heal you. 

But these medicines are likely to bring chemical changes in the body. For the time being, they provide muscle relief. But it’s not the long term, that is not a solution. 

Therefore, in this article, we have pointed out 7 stretches for upper back pain relief. You can do these in less than 7 minutes. 

Most of them require half a minute, including reps. Your time is valuable, so make the most out of it.