Stretches for Upper Back Shoulder Tension

Upper back tension can lead to debilitating pain.

Upper back tension can lead to debilitating pain.

If you’ve ever felt tension in your upper back and shoulders then you know just how irritating the pain can be. For some women, the tightness can even cause tension headaches. Poor posture, too much computer time or excessive workouts can all cause your body to be out of alignment. The result is often stressed and stiff muscles that can lead to limited range of motion if left unattended. However, regularly stretching your upper back, shoulders and neck can help to loosen the muscles and alleviate the tension and pain.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Sit on a chair with your abdominal muscles engaged and your torso upright. Push your shoulder blades down your back. Rest your arms close by the sides of your torso.

Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that your forearms are parallel to the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as you are able; allow your elbows to move straight back 2 to 3 inches.

Hold the stretch for five counts and release. Complete 10 repetitions.

Neck Stretch

Sit tall on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Pull your stomach in toward your lower back and press your shoulders away from your ears.

Clasp your hands around the back of your neck. Bend forward and move your elbows toward your thighs. You should feel a moderate stretch in your upper back and neck. Avoid pulling on your neck to deepen the stretch.

Hold the stretch for five counts and then release. Repeat up to 10 times, or as needed.

Shoulder Stretch

Sit or stand with a straight torso and engaged abs. Press your shoulder blades down your back.

Extend your right arm across your chest toward the left. The arm should be parallel to the floor.

Place your left hand under your right elbow. Gently pull the arm to the left until you feel a stretch on the back of your right shoulder. Keep your torso pointing forward throughout the stretch.

Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Release your right arm and repeat on the left side.

Items you will need

  • Chair
 

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.

Photo Credits

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