Discover how a simple stretch can help alleviate mid and upper back pain, headaches, and fatigue.
November is Back Pain Awareness Month here at Balance Within, and each week we are going to be exploring some common causes and simple solutions to this challenging condition.
This week, we are exploring upper back pain and the common culprit that causes it – our posture! With so many of us working from home, it can be easy to slip into “comfortable” sitting positions that put unnecessary strain on our bodies and build tension patterns in the back, neck, and even head. Sitting hunched over a computer all day sounds terrible, and we all know intuitively how “bad” it is for our posture – but I bet a lot of you reading this even now might find yourself leaning forward, head tucked down, shoulders hunched. No bueno!
Take this opportunity now to straighten up, inhale deep into your belly, realign your ears, shoulders, rib cage, and hips, and just notice – aah, what a difference, right?
Simply adjusting your posture can make a world of difference, and sometimes, we need a bit more. Working to release the pectoral muscles at the front of the chest is actually key to experiencing greater flexibility and comfort in the upper and mid back!
In this week’s Expert Video, Dr. Kayla shares a quick, simple exercise to open the mid and upper back by releasing the muscles in the chest and around the ribs, and all you need is a foam roller. Check it out below!
To practice this chest-opening, posture-aligning pose, simply position a foam roller along the spine. You’ll want the bottom of the foam roller positioned below your glutes to support your pelvis and the top of the bolster along the back of your head to support your neck.
Once you’ve got the foam roller in position, simply roll back onto it and relax. Open your arms out into a big T shape, straight out from your shoulders. You might be surprised just how much tension you feel across you chest!
If the openness of your arms fully extended feels like too much for you, you can play with the arms by moving them up or down along your sides, and even bending at the elbows as the arms remain parallel to the ground in the “touchdown” position.
Once you find a comfortable yet active placement, stay in this position for at least two minutes, breathing deeply and really noticing the lengthening and opening in your body. How does it feel in your chest? Your mid back? How about your neck? Can you feel a difference in your head, too?
After the two minutes are up, bring your arms back in towards your body and gently roll off the foam roller. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you stand up, and all it took was two minutes of your day!
While these simple exercises are sure to help, it’s important to remember there can be so many factors that go into causing postural patterns and pain, and it is really only by working with one of our highly specialized therapists individually to help understand and heal from your particular issue that you will receive the most specific and effective support for you.
If you’re not ready to commit to a personalized plan of care just yet but would like to learn even more tools to help ease back pain, download our free back pain guide below.
Here’s to your healing,
Doctors Sarah and Jereme Trunk and the Balance Within Integrative Physical Therapy Team