3 Gentle ‘Muscle-Release Movements’ To Relieve Upper Back Pain and Ease Tension At Home

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Three exercises that work like magic for a trigger point release. Do these exercises regularly for muscle release.

Achy neck and pain in the upper back can be uncomfortable and hard to live with, but a few simple stretches daily can go a long way in pain relief. 

If you’ve been physically feeling as though you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s a sign you have tension built-up. 

Upper back pain is becoming more common as more people spend all day hunching over a phone and sitting at a desk. 

Staying in the hutch back posture for excessive hours at a time can lead to the accumulation of tension and stress in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. 

Over time, it can lead to an achy back, stiff shoulders, potentially bad headaches, and poor posture. 

But luckily, there are restorative exercises you can do to reverse the dysfunctions and undo the pain-causing damage.

These foam rolling exercises can not only help you release the tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, but also help de-stress and relax. 

The upper back really begins at the base of your neck, these three exercises address all the muscles from your neck to mid-spine. 

Spend a few minutes 3-4 times a week to ease your pain in the upper back and ease tension in that area. 

3 Best Exercises for Upper Back Pain

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1. Foam Roll Upper Back Extensions

Foam Roll Upper Back Extensions

This exercise lengthens and stretches the muscles in the upper and mid-back. It also helps restore movement to the mid-back thoracic spine. 

To Perform:

  • Lay down face up on a floor with the foam roller horizontally under your body. Bring your hands behind your head and support your neck and hold the weight of your head. 
  • Lift your hips off the floor and keep them in line with the upper back. 
  • Gently and slowly roll the roller across the spine from your mid back to your upper back, the base of your neck. 
  • Repeat 8-10 times

2. Foam Roll Mid-Upper Back

Foam Roll Mid-Upper Back

The foam roll upper back cat is an exercise that stretches your chest and opens up your shoulders. If you’ve been feeling the tension in your shoulders, this is a good one to add to your routine. 

To perform:

  • Get on your knees on the floor and place both hands in front of your body. Place a foam roller under your forearms. 
  • Inhale and round your back to start. Exhale and lower your mid-back towards the floor as in cat and cow in yoga. 
  • Feel the stretch in your mid-back. Continue 10 times to stretch the mid-back and chest. 

3. Foam Roll Spine 

Foam Roll Spine 

Foam roll spine is a relaxing stretch that helps restore your posture and stretch the tight shoulders and pecs. 

To perform:

  • Lie vertically on your back on the foam roll and plant your feet to balance and support your body. Bring your hands at your side and turn your palms to face up. 
  • Tuck your chin in to stretch the back of your neck. Gently press your mid-back against your roller to avoid having a curve in your back. 
  • To open up your chest: Inhale and open up your lungs. Exhale, gently pressing your back against the foam roller. 
  • To open up your shoulders: bring your arms above your head. 
  • Bring your shoulder blades together and release. 
  • Repeat 8-10 times to feel the stretch in your upper back to the neck. 



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Professional online writer. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about health, wellness, fitness, parenting conundrums and navigating complex relationships.

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