If you have upper back pain you probably have stiffness in your back.  And how about your posture?   Did you know that poor posture can cause upper back pain?  There is a definite tie-in.

I will always believe that massage is the best thing to help muscles relax but stretching is the next best.  So, here’s something that’ll help you get “unstuck” and relieve your stiff upper back.

Are you familiar with the stretches called “cat” and “dog?”  I’ve also heard them called “camel” and other variations.  Sometimes they are done on all fours, on the floor, but I’m going to share a seated version with you.

If you are so stiff that it’s hard to get on the floor, you will appreciate this version.

These are good movements because they get your spine moving from front to back and your ribs moving.  These movements warm the muscles of your back and whole torso, or trunk.  They get your circulation going and can help to strengthen your back.

Here is the seated version:

* Move to the the front edge of a firm, solid chair or seat.

* Sit with your feet flat on the floor, one in front of each hip, toes pointing straight ahead.

* Point your thumbs forward and rest your hands at the side of your chair, hanging your hands near your hips.

* Lift your chest.

* Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together while you “stick your butt out” and lift your chin toward the ceiling.  This movement should make your back be a “C.”

* Move slowly and thoughtfully.

* Pause there for a second and then start to reverse the move.

* Allow your chin to tuck toward your chest and your back to round outward (in the opposite direction of where you were.)

* Hold in your stomach while you move forward, too.

* You can continue doing these “C’s” and “reverse C’s” in a sequence, one after the other.

* Always pay attention to your body and move slowly and thoughtfully.

Please note: If either move causes real pain in your back, just  flex only to that point.  With practice, it will become easier and you will gain more movement.

There are many ways for your back to round outward.  You might notice that you can cause your upper back to curve, near your shoulder blade.  You can also curve the middle of your back.  Your lower back can also curve outward.  What does this mean?

Your spinal bones give you flexibility.  That’s how they were designed. When you move, move in as many different ways as you can. Try to get as many different joints and muscles moving as you can.

These 2 moves flex your spinal bones and will help strengthen your whole upper body, too.

We are all supposed to be able to move like this.  You could when you were little.  You didn’t have upper back pain then.

With some help from you, your body can become more flexible again.  Doing these movements thoughtfully will help you become more comfortable and function better and will help relieve the stiffness in your upper back.

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