Relieve Upper Back Tightness with Simple Stretches: A Step-by-Step Guide
Work Wellness

Relieve Upper Back Tightness with Simple Stretches: A Step-by-Step Guide

|Aug 7, 2023

Are you suffering from upper back pain and chest tightness? Look no further. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore a range of stretches specifically designed to target and alleviate the discomfort in your upper back.

Moreover, we will introduce you to the incredible benefits of balance board exercises, which provide relief and promote strength and flexibility. So let’s read on and find out!

10 Steps to Relieve Upper Back Tightness

1. Stretch while Sitting

Take short breaks during your workday to perform chair stretches. These simple exercises, like shoulder rolls, chest stretches, and seated twists, help release tension in the upper back and improve flexibility. It provides immediate relief from tightness in the upper back between shoulder blades, helps prevent the build-up of tension, and promotes better posture.

Regular breaks to stretch enhance blood circulation, which nourishes the muscles and reduces the risk of stiffness and discomfort. So, make it a habit to pause, stretch, and rejuvenate your upper back throughout your busy workday.

Stretch while Sitting - stretches for upper back tightness

2. Integrate Balance Board Exercise

Integrating balance board exercises into your routine can significantly contribute to alleviating tightness in the upper back between shoulder blades. Balancing on a wobble board or stability disc engages not only your core muscles but also targets the muscles in your upper back, including those between the shoulder blades. These exercises challenge your body's stability and proprioception, forcing your upper back muscles to coordinate to maintain balance.

When you balance on a wobble board or stability disc, your core muscles activate to stabilize your body. This activation extends to the muscles in your upper back, helping to improve their strength and endurance.

Integrate Balance Board Exercise

3. Perform Seated Cat-Cow Stretches

Find a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your thighs. Take a moment to relax and prepare for the stretch for upper back tightness.

To start, imagine you're a cat. Slowly round your back, dropping your head forward towards your chest. Imagine that you're trying to bring your belly button closer to your spine. Next, imagine you're a cow. Arch your back gently, lifting your chest upward. Allow your head to tilt back slightly, looking upward or straight ahead. Feel the stretch in your upper back and the opening in your chest.

Repeat this fluid movement between cat and cow poses several times, synchronizing your breath with the motion. Inhale as you move into the cat pose, and exhale as you transition into the cow pose.

This stretch for upper back tightness helps to release tension and stiffness in your upper back muscles. It's important to move slowly and mindfully without force or discomfort. Remember to listen to your body and adjust the intensity of the stretch as needed.

Perform Seated Cat-Cow Stretches

4. Invest in Equipment

Incorporate desk exercise equipment into your workspace, such as resistance bands or small dumbbells. These tools enable you to perform targeted exercises, strengthening the muscles in your upper back and alleviating upper back tightness pain.

5. Massage and Foam Rolling

Give extra care to your upper back between the shoulder blades by incorporating massage and foam rolling into your routine. Use a tennis ball or foam roller against a wall or the floor to apply gentle pressure and roll it along the tight areas. This helps to release muscle tension and knots, providing much-needed relief in the targeted region.

Take a few minutes daily to indulge in this self-massage technique, allowing your upper back to relax and unwind.

Massage and Foam Rolling - stretches for upper back tightness

6. Choose the Best Office Chair for Back Pain

Selecting the best recliner for back pain or an ergonomic office chair with proper lumbar support is crucial. Look for adjustable features like backrest height and tilt to ensure optimal spine alignment and minimize upper back tension.

Consider the material of the recliner or office chair. Look for breathable fabrics that allow air circulation to prevent excessive heat and moisture build-up. This can help keep you comfortable during prolonged sitting sessions and minimize the risk of discomfort or sweating that could exacerbate upper back tightness.

Choose the Best Office Chair for Back Pain

7. Practice Upper Back Extensions

Lie face down on an exercise mat or comfortably on your bed. Place your hands on the back of your head and slowly lift your upper body, arching your back. This exercise strengthens and stretches the muscles in your upper back.

It's important to note that if you have any existing back conditions or injuries, you should consult a healthcare professional or a qualified fitness trainer before attempting this exercise. They can guide and ensure it is appropriate for your needs and abilities.

8. Incorporate Back Support

Get yourself a backrest cushion or ergonomic lumbar roll as back support for the office chair. This additional support promotes proper posture, reducing strain on your upper back muscles throughout the day.

Incorporate Back Support

9. Engage in Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Sit or stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you're trying to hold a pencil between them. Hold for a few seconds, then release.

Regularly practicing this exercise can help alleviate tension in your upper back by strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining proper shoulder alignment. It is a simple yet effective way to combat the tightness that can develop from prolonged sitting or poor posture.

10. Take Breaks and Move Regularly

Avoid prolonged periods of sitting by taking regular breaks throughout the day. Stand up, stretch, and walk around to promote blood circulation and prevent upper back tightness caused by prolonged inactivity.


Addressing tightness in the upper back between the shoulder blades is essential for maintaining a healthy and pain-free lifestyle. Remember, consistency is key. By making these 10 techniques a regular part of your routine, you'll experience improved flexibility, reduced discomfort, and better overall well-being.

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