Six of the best stretches and exercises to decrease pain and tension in your upper back. Thoracic self-mobilization techniques and strength training exercises to help eliminate your back pain and help you feel better. Tips and advice from a doctor of physical therapy.
WHAT CAUSES UPPER BACK PAIN?
There are many potential sources of upper back pain. In my professional experience, the three most-common causes of thoracic spine are joint inflammation, rib dysfunction, and muscle strain/knots. Again – there are many more potential causes than this, but these are the three that I encounter the most often in my physical therapy clinic. Fortunately, there’s a lot that the right stretches and strengthening exercises can do to alleviate your pain and symptoms in this area.
DOES POOR POSTURE CAUSE UPPER BACK PAIN?
Absolutely! In fact I would say postural issues are the #1 cause behind the majority of the back and neck pain issues that I treat in my clinic. In normal posture, your head sits squarely on top of your shoulders. Gravity keeps it there with very minimal effort required from your muscles. However – as soon as your head starts to come forward and your shoulders round forward (poor posture), now your muscles have to be active in order to keep your head from flopping straight down.
It’s this constant muscle activation from muscles that normally aren’t supposed to be active that causes fatigue, muscle tightness, and even pain in your neck and shoulders.