A lot of people suffer from upper back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain due to poor postures and sitting for long periods. It’s very important to work on improving upper back or thoracic spine mobility and shoulder mobility to relieve neck and shoulder problems. This is an easy upper back stretch using an exercise ball and a stable surface like a couch. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Tools used in this video:
Hey guys, Manu Kalia, physical therapist and herbalist. So I’m going to show you a quick technique to stretch, mobilize your thoracic spine, your upper back, relax, just kind of open up this area. We’re going to use a ball, and you can use essentially anything that’s stable at the other end. You can even use a weight. I’m going to use this couch so you get to see how to do this using anything you have in the house.
So what I’m going to do is I’m laying on the ball and I’m going to lean back and I’m going to grab onto the bottom of this. So as it is, you can see I’m trying to get some extension. I’m opening up this space. Very important for a lot of us who sit for too many hours. We’re always in these rounded postures, so you start getting stiffer and stiffer in your upper back, your thoracic spine, start getting these rounded shoulders, poor postures. So you really need to work on getting more extension, opening up the pec area, getting better mobility in your thoracic spine, your lats, your shoulders. So this is a good stretch.
And what I can do is, what I like about this, I can control how much of a stretch I’m going to get and I don’t feel like I’m going to fall off; I’m stable. I’ve got my hands here, my feet on the ground, and I can use my legs to pull myself back so I’m getting more stretching or mobilization of these tissues and really open up that ribcage too, my shoulder girdle, as well as getting my thoracic spine. And I also like the fact that my neck is supported so I’m not in this hyper-extended position of my neck, which is not comfortable for a lot of people. So my neck is supported and I can really work at hanging out here and I get to end range, take a deep breath, take a few deep breaths in that position and really stretch out all these tissues.
Now, if you want to stretch further, I could roll back here and I could get a little more extension this way too. This is the other way to get at that. It’s almost like a yoga pose that’s in this position. But that’s a bit more advanced in my view because you have to work at balancing; you have to do a lot of things. So this is a good way, a better way to do that.
So work at hanging out in these positions and try to get it from different angles. I go to my right, I go to my left, I might even do one arm. I might take the other hand and place it here to stabilize this area and just sit back. I use my legs to pull myself in that direction. Now, as I do that, I get extension. So for example from this side, you can watch, I’m going to grab on here, it’s my shoulder blade, and I gently stabilize this as I pull myself down in that direction. You can really see how that’s going to open up my shoulder, get that flexion and start getting extension or mobility in my thoracic spine, and then of course you can hang out in these positions too where I can really start getting more pectoral mobility too – front shoulder.
Pretty cool stretch. I like it and it’s an easy one to do. Make sure you don’t crank on it and work up to positions. So spend about five, 10 minutes, slowly working at different positions mobilizing yourself there.
Leave a comment if you have questions. I really want to hear from you, guys, so tell me when you try out the stretching technique. How did it feel? Did you have any problems with it? Was it easy to do or it really worked well for you?