Which muscles cause upper back pain?  You might guess it’s the muscles at the tops and back of your shoulders but here’s the deal:  Most often they are just complaining.

The muscles that are actually to blame for your upper back pain are most often in the front of your body!  When the muscles in your chest, arms and abdomen get “tight” and short, they can cause upper back pain.

And it turns out that the muscles in the front of your body are actually stronger than in the back.  So when they tighten up (like they do just because of how we use our arms) they can really pull on your upper back and cause pain.

Here are some simple stretches for the muscles in the front of your chest and arms.

Gravity will work with you, instead of against you, if you use this simple tool to stretch:  a long, thin, foam noodle.

The foam noodle is also called a swim noodle, or a foam roller.  Kids use them to play in the water.  They are sold in many stores and only cost a few dollars.  I’m going to tell you how to make your own roller, too, in case you can’t find one.

This foam noodle is about 5 or 6 feet long, and about 4 or 5″ across (diameter.)

Put it on the floor.  Lay on it lengthwise, so the noodle is behind your spine and head.  The whole length of your spine (and your head) is supported on the noodle.  There will be some “leftover” noodle between your legs and over your head.

And, just lay there.

How simple is that?

While you are on the noodle, let your hands be at your sides.  Put the outside edge (baby finger) of your hands on the floor.  Better still, place the back side of your hand on the floor (palm up.)  If this hand position is hard to do, that just means the muscles in your chest are tight.  It will get easier as they relax over time.

And, just lay there.  In about 5 minutes, you will notice that your shoulders are much closer to the floor.

Gravity is pulling your shoulders back. Gravity is now your friend!  🙂

If you don’t have a foam noodle, you can make something similar with a long towel.  Roll the towel tightly lengthwise into a tight tube.  Tie it so it will hold its shape.  You can tie it with plastic bags or strips of cloth.  Use your long towel tube as your “noodle.”  It will work the same way.

As you become comfortable being on your noodle, you might notice that your shoulder blades are becoming more “free.”  The muscles around them are loosening up.

Now you can squeeze your shoulder blades toward the noodle.  When you do that, you are strengthening the muscles between your spine and shoulder blades.  (If you do that more than just 2 or 3 times to start, your muscles may ache from being worked in a way they aren’t used to.  Gradually build up the number of times you squeeze your shoulder blades to your spine.)

When your back is stronger and the muscles in the front of your body are more relaxed (lengthened) your body will be in better muscular balance.  Your muscles like to be balanced!

If you would like to know more about how you can get back to having no more upper back pain, you can learn about muscle balance therapy by clicking on this green link –> http://BackPainNaturalRelief.com

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