Physio Exercises for Upper Back Pain

By Catherine Etty-Leal
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio + Pilates Camberwell


Stiff and sore from sitting all day? Whether you work in an office or not, one of the problems with the modern age is that we sit too much and too often. Sitting puts some of the highest amount of load through the spine. This can lead to pain and stiffness in various parts of the spine, particularly the upper back. Here are some simple exercises you can do to help relieve the tension between your shoulder blades after a long day of sitting:

Arm Openings

Lie on your side with your head supported and your knees bent. With your arms in front, twist the top arm up and over, feeling the stretch in your rib cage area. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Towel Stretch

Lie on your back with your head supported in your hands. Place a rolled up towel under your upper back. The thicker the towel, the more you’ll stretch. To increase the stretch further, you could try using a foam roller! Hold this position for 3-4 breaths, then repeat up to 3 times.

Thread the Needle

Position yourself on your hands and knees. Reach one arm up, twisting your upper back, then thread it through the space between your hands and knees. Repeat 3-4 times each side.

If your upper back pain persists after completing these exercises, it is best to seek further advice from your physiotherapist.

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