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Back Pain

Stretches for the upper back that you can do anywhere Back pain is most commonly associated with low back discomfort. Upper back pain can also be painful and persistent. Upper back pain is often caused by tightness in the muscles, particularly the larger muscles such as the latissimus and trapezius. But also the smaller muscles such as the infraspinatus or multifidi, which connect the spine and shoulders. Stress, poor posture, or even sleeping incorrectly can cause this. Stretching the upper back can relieve tension and prevent pain. Breathe in and out slowly three times for each stretch. You can do them every day or choose your favorites and rotate them. I recommend doing them in the morning, or during a 5-minute stretch period during the day. Downward facing dog Start in the plank position, with your shoulders above your wrists. Pull your navel in towards your spine, and raise your butt toward the ceiling. Your heels should be pointing down towards the ground. It’s okay if your heels are not on the ground. To stretch your legs and underarms, press down with your toes and fingers. Bend your knees, first one and then the opposite knee. Hold the stretch for three breaths. Modified downward facing dog Place your palms flat against the wall. Your feet should be pushed away from the wall. Bend your knees slightly. Keep your palms and your back in line so that your upper body is in a straight line. Engage your core to keep the spine straight. Hold for three slow breaths. Child’s Pose Kneel on the floor with your shins, and the tops of your legs on the ground. Bend your hips and move your hands forward while moving your butts back. Your hands should be pushed out in front until your stomach rests on your thighs, and your arms are straight out infront of you with your palms on the ground. Hold for three deep breaths. Cat-cow Start on all fours, with your hands and knees under your shoulders. As you lift your head toward the ceiling, breathe in. As you inhale, arch your back and move your stomach towards the ground. Exhale as you pull your chin up to your chest, and your abs inward so that your back is curved upwards. Continue to alternate back and forth for 10 times. Thread the needle Start in tabletop pose with your hands directly below your shoulders, and your knees directly below your hips. Lift your right arm and thread it under your left arm. Rest your head gently on the ground while looking at your hand. Hold for three breaths, then switch sides. Cross body shoulder stretch Standing up, extend your left hand across your chest to the right. To achieve a deeper stretch, use your right hand to pull your left arm closer to you. Hold for three breaths. Repeat the same motion on the other side. Stretch from chin to chest Place your hands behind you head and gently press forward and down until your chin reaches your chest. Feel a stretch behind the upper back and neck. Hold for 2-4 breathes, then release. Standing side reach Lift your right arm straight into the air while standing with your feet together. Keep your left hand at your side or your hip. Bend your waist to the left, so that your right side feels stretched. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side. Standing forward fold Stand straight up with your feet together. Bring your chest to your knees by bringing your hips forward. Reach your fingertips towards your toes. (Or your knees or your shins depending on your flexibility). Hold for at least ten seconds. Cobra Pain in the upper back can also be caused by weak muscles. Cobra is a combination of strength and stretch, which is why we included it. Place your hands beside your chest, and then push an imaginary marble with your nose forward to lift your head, neck, and chest. Your elbows should be pushed inwards by your hands as you press down. Pull your navel towards your spine and push your thighs into the ground. Bring your shoulders back and raise your chin. Take a deep breathe in and then rest.

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