Your healthcare provider may recommend exercises to help you heal. Talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist about which exercises will best help you and how to do them correctly and safely.
You may do these exercises right away.
Pectoralis stretch: Stand in an open doorway or corner with both hands slightly above your head on the door frame or wall. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Thoracic extension: Sit in a chair and clasp both arms behind your head. Gently arch backward and look up toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Do this several times each day.
Arm slide on wall: Sit or stand with your back against a wall and your elbows and wrists against the wall. Slowly slide your arms upward as high as you can while keeping your elbows and wrists against the wall. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12.
Scapular squeeze: While sitting or standing with your arms by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
Mid-trap exercise: Lie on your stomach on a firm surface and place a folded pillow underneath your chest. Place your arms out straight to your sides with your elbows straight and thumbs toward the ceiling. Slowly raise your arms toward the ceiling as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower slowly. Do 3 sets of 15. As the exercise gets easier to do, hold soup cans or small weights in your hands.
Thoracic stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Hold your mid-thighs with your hands. Curl you head and neck toward your belly button. Hold for a count of 15. Repeat 3 times.
Quadruped arm and leg raise: Get down on your hands and knees. Pull in your belly button and tighten your abdominal muscles to stiffen your spine. While keeping your abdominals tight, raise one arm and the opposite leg away from you. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Lower your arm and leg slowly and change sides. Do this 10 times on each side.
Rowing exercise: Close middle of elastic tubing in a door or wrap tubing around an immovable object. Hold 1 end in each hand. Sit in a chair, bend your arms 90 degrees, and hold one end of the tubing in each hand. Keep your forearms vertical and your elbows at shoulder level and bent 90 degrees. Pull backward on the band and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do 2 sets of 15.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-05-22 Last reviewed: 2014-05-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Upper Back Pain Exercises: References
Kisner, Carol, and Lynn Allen Colby, Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques, F. A. Davis Company; 6th ed, 2012.
Hall TM & Brody LT. Therapeutic Exercise Moving Toward Function. 3rd ed; Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2010.
Pesco MS, Chosa E, Tajima N. Comparative study of hands-on therapy with active exercises vs education with active exercises for the management of upper back pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 Mar-Apr;29(3):228-35.