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If you experience back pain in your upper back and neck area it is most likely caused by poor posture.

But no worries, we identified the muscles that are tight on most of the population and listed specific upper back stretches below to help you release them, lessen your back pain and increase your mobility.

The following stretches will target theses muscles:
Upper trapezius
Levator scapulae
Latissimus Dorsi

7 Stretches For Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders:

1. Shoulder Blades Stretch (Eagle pose)

shoulder blade stretch

Targeted muscle: Stretches Rhomboids/Deltoids

This is a great stretch to release tight trigger points in between your shoulder blades.
How to do it:

  • Place right elbow on left elbow
  • Now take your left hand and interlace it around the right arm
  • In this position you can apply more pressure to feel your upper back opening
  • Hold the end position for 20-30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

2. Upper Trapezius Stretch

Upper trapezius stretch

Targeted muscle: Stretches Upper Trapezius

Because of bad posture the upper traps get really tight. So this is a great stretch to combat that hunchback posture we all fighting these days.
How to do it:
– Begin in either a sitting or standing position and gently tilt your head to the left
– Grasp over the top of your head with your left hand to apply a mild force towards the left.
– Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds.
– Repeat on the opposite side.
– Aim for 3 repetitions of this stretch on each side.

3. Lat Side Stretch

Lat stretch

Targeted muscle: Stretches Latissimus Dorsi

The lats is the biggest muscle of the back and is involved in many daily activities, as well as sports, so it gets very tight in most people.
How to do it:
– Begin in standing position grabbing your right hand with left hand to start with.
– Assist with your left hand and stretch to the side.
– Hold this position for 20 -30 seconds.
– Repeat on the opposite side.
– Aim for 2-3 repetitions of this stretch on each side.

4. Seated Levator Scapulae Stretch

Levator scapulae stretch

Targeted muscle: Stretches Levator Scapulae.

Because of rounded shoulders and forward head position This is one of most effective upper back stretches because the Levator scapulae muscle in particular gets very tight from our cell phone texting and prolonged desk work.
How to do it:
– Begin in a seated position and grasp the bottom of your chair with your right hand.
– Bring your chin in towards your chest and rotate your head towards the left shoulder.
– Then using your left arm gently push your head down looking towards your left armpit until you feel a slightly stretch along with right side of your neck.
– Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds.
– Repeat on the opposite side.
– Aim for 3 repetitions of this stretch on each side.

5. W & Y Stretch & Retract

Stretch upper back for back pain

Targeted muscle: Opens chest muscles & strengthens lower traps

This exercise both strengthens and stretches all the right posture muscles. And the best thing is that it’s easy to do it from anywhere – even in your office.
How to do it:
– Begin standing with your back straight.
– Make “W” shape with your arms. Bend both of arms to about 90 degree angle as you lower them to your stomach area and then squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 2 breaths.
– Make “Y” shape with your arms by extending both arms up. Hold for 2 breaths.
– Hold 1-2 at each end point, Aim for 10 repetitions

6. Child’s Pose

childs pose

Targeted muscle: Stretches Latissimus dorsi

This stretch releases the back muscles such as Latissimus dorsi – which is usually tight from everyday activities.
How to do it:
– Begin by positioning yourself on the floor on your hands and knees with your knees slightly wider than your hips.
– Turn your toes inwards to touch and push your hips backwards while bending your knees.
– Once you’re in a comfortable position, straighten your arms forward and allow your head to fall forwards into a relaxed position.
– Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds.
– Slowly return to the starting position.
– Aim for 3 repetitions.

7. Thoracic Spine Foam Rolling

upper back foam rolling release

Targeted muscle: Releases Upper Trapezius

This is great way to loosen up the upper trapezius muscle that gets really tight from hunchback position – which is usually caused from poor posture.
How to do it:
– Lie on your back, with your hands placed behind your head, and a foam roller placed under your upper-back.
– Start to slowly roll up and down beginning at your mid-back and moving towards the top of your shoulders. – Pause for 15 to 20 seconds in areas that feel tight.
– Repeat the rolling on any areas of tightness.

Check out the Upper Back Stretches Video:

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