Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

Two exercises to reduce upper back tightness

Upper Back Tightness

Many people who work at a desk all day tend to develop upper back tightness and pain if they don’t sit with good posture, and far too many people end up slumped forward over their keyboard without even realizing it. 

The upper back is also called the thoracic spine, and there are far more people who develop pain and tightness in this area than you might think. Indeed, it’s estimated that up to nearly 35% of people experience thoracic back pain in any given month. Physical therapists offer many treatment techniques that can assist with your upper back tightness and pain. One of the most commonly used of these techniques is therapeutic exercises, and a few of the exercises that your therapist could prescribe for your upper back symptoms include: 

  1. Side-lying thoracic rotations

Rotating your upper body in a specific way can do a lot to reduce upper back pain and tightness. An exercise your therapist may recommend that helps you rotate your upper body correctly is the side-lying thoracic rotation exercise.

How to perform the side-lying thoracic rotation exercise

  • Lie on your side on a yoga mat or bed with your head supported by a pillow. The goal is to keep your spine straight. 
  • Bend your knees up toward your chest until they form about a 90-degree angle and place your feet on top of each other. 
  • Hold your arms out in front of you with your palms together. 
  • Slowly lift the top arm upward and follow it with your eyes. 
  • Continue to move your arm until it is on the floor on the other side of your body, or as close to this position as possible. 
  • Hold this position for three to five seconds. 
  • Lift your arm up and return it to its original position. 
  • Repeat this stretch eight to 10 times in total. 
  1. Thoracic extension

The thoracic extension stretch is another exercise that your physical therapist may show you if you have upper back tightness and pain. This exercise is intended to stretch the upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. 

How to perform the thoracic extension exercise

  • Find a chair with a back that sits just below your shoulder blades when you’re sitting upright. 
  • Start by sitting in the chair with good posture. 
  • Slowly let your upper body fall backward over the back of the chair. 
  • Stop when you feel a moderate stretch in your upper back. 
  • Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. 
  • Return to the starting position and rest for a few seconds. 
  • Repeat the stretch until you’ve done it for about 60 seconds in total. You can deepen the stretch by reaching your arms over your head as you perform the stretch. 

Peak Performance offers top-notch treatment for upper back tightness and pain

Have upper back tightness and pain that just won’t go away? Our Peak Performance Sports and Physical Therapy team is ready and willing to assist you. We offer free screenings intended to pinpoint the source of your symptoms. Also, our therapy specialists excel at building individualized therapy plans that can reduce your pain and help you prevent similar issues in the future. Furthermore, our physical therapists can meet with you right in your home thanks to the virtual therapy services our team offers. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help with your back pain and stiffness or to schedule an initial appointment.