By: Source One Staff
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4 Stretches for the Middle Back
Back pain, especially short-term pain, is one of the most common medical complaints in the United States. A variety of lifestyle factors, medical conditions, and injuries can lead to pain in the middle back.
Symptoms of mid back pain can include:
- short, sharp pains
- a dull, constant ache
- muscle tightness or stiffness
- a reduced range of motion
The following four stretches are easy to do at home or in the office, and they can help relieve mid back pain, loosen tight muscles, and improve mobility.
1. Seated twist
The seated twist stretch can help determine how tight the mid back muscles are, while gradually increasing the range of movement in both directions.
Postures that involve a lot of sitting with hunched shoulders can cause the mid back muscles to tighten, limiting the spine’s ability to twist. A person should focus on sitting upright, with the back straight and the head in a neutral position.
To perform the seated twist:
- Sit on a chair or the floor, with the legs crossed or straight out in front. Make sure to sit tall, while pulling the shoulder blades together and down.
- Slowly twist to the left side. Place the right hand on the outside of the left knee and place the left hand behind the back to provide support.
- Hold the twist for 20–30 seconds, then return to center.
- Repeat on the other side.
Repeat this stretch three or four times on each side. When working at a desk, practicing this and similar stretches throughout the day can help relieve tension in the back.
2. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose is a restful, very simple yoga pose. It allows the spine to elongate passively while the person rests over their knees.
This variation keeps the knees apart to stretch the core abdominal muscles that connect the lower back to the long leg bone.
Placing the arms over the head gently stretches the latissimus dorsi, a large flat muscle that connects the spine and the long arm bone.
To perform the Child’s Pose:
- Start in a kneeling position, with the hips and buttocks resting on the lower legs and feet.
- Spread the knees apart to a point that is comfortable. Then fold the body forwards, bringing the chest down towards the knees.
- If possible, bring the forehead to the floor, with the arms stretched out in front. The hands should gently rest on the floor, keeping the arms straight.
- Rest here for 20–30 seconds.
- Use the hands to gently return to an upright position.
3. Thread the Needle
Thread the Needle is a yoga pose that stretches the sides of the body, including the latissimus dorsi. This stretch can also help loosen the muscles of the upper back.
To get the most benefit, focus on keeping the arms extended outwards and maintaining a stretch that is comfortable, not painful.
To perform Thread the Needle:
- Start on hands and knees, with the knees directly below the hips and the feet in line with the knees.
- Keeping the hips, knees, and feet still, walk the hands out in front until they are below the shoulders. Keep the arms straight, so that a slight stretch is felt down the sides.
- Take the right arm and pass it under the left arm while rotating the chest. The right hand should rest on the floor, palm up.
- Try to lower the right shoulder as far as possible, while gently placing the right side of the head onto the floor. Look past the armpit, toward the ceiling.
- Hold this position for 20–30 seconds.
- Push upward, using the right arm to gently return to the starting position. Then, repeat the stretch using the left arm.
4. Cat-Cow Pose
Like the Child’s Pose, the Cat-Cow Pose is another simple and gentle yoga exercise. It helps stretch and loosen the shoulders and the muscles that run the length of the spine.
Performing it regularly will gradually increase a person’s flexibility.
To perform the Cat-Cow Pose:
- Start on hands and knees, with the knees below the hips and the wrists below the shoulders. Spread the fingers wide and press them through the fingertips to evenly distribute weight. The spine should be in a neutral position.
- Breathe in. Let the stomach drop toward the ground, and stick the buttocks out. Lift the head and shoulders, push the chest out, and look forward. This is the Cow Pose.
- Breathe out. Arch the back upward like a cat. Tilt the pelvis toward the ribs, drawing the shoulder blades away from each other and the belly away from the ground. Let the head drop toward the floor.
- Shift between these two poses 5–10 times.
Tips for managing back pain
Some simple steps can help relieve pain and reduce or prevent reoccurrence:
- Stay mobile. Movement can help relieve stiffness. Try to keep active and do some gentle stretching and exercise throughout the day.
- Medication. Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help temporarily relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Complementary therapies. Some people find that massage, acupuncture, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS) helps with longer-term back pain.
- Posture. Practice good posture while sitting. Try not to slouch, take regular breaks, and ensure that chairs and workstations are suitable and set up correctly. Some people find that standing desks help.
- Yoga and Pilates. Many people find that activities such as yoga and Pilates can help improve posture and relieve back pain.
Back pain is a common problem that can have serious effects on general health and wellbeing. Regularly stretching the middle back can loosen and strengthen muscles to help improve posture and reduce back pain.
If you would like to schedule an evaluation with a Source One therapist please contact one of our DFW offices today! We are likely to have an appointment that fits your schedule Today or Tomorrow.
Article originally published by By Cathleen Crichton-Stuart.
Article originally published at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323813.php
Reviewed by Gregory Minnis, DPT