Best Stretches for Upper Back Pain (Rounded Shoulders)

Rounded shoulders can turn into pain in the upper back (ache between or around the shoulder blades) or pain in the front of the shoulder.  This is most commonly aggravated by the overabundance of activities we perform with our arms in front of us (everything from doing desk/computer work to cooking, cleaning, driving or doing dishes).  Add to this any repetitive movement at work or with fitness or sporting activities, and we end up with strong chest muscles and biceps and weak muscles that support our shoulder blade (scapula) in our upper backs.

Here are my top two recommended stretches to help keep this common soft tissue imbalance in check. Note: if you are at all concerned about your ability to perform these stretches safely, then see your Dr., Physical Therapist or Chiropractor.  A great time to start a stretching regime is following a massage so that you can work with healthy pliable soft tissue.  Be gentle and refrain from holding a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds at a time and come out of the stretch and into a resting position each time in order not to trigger a stretch reflex.  Muscles prefer to ge gently coaxed rather than pushed. Do 10-12 repititions or fewer if you are stretching a particular muscle group for the first time.   Good luck!

1) Pectoralis Minor and Major (chest muscle) stretch

2) Bicep Stretch (bicep tendon stretch) – This video below gives a nice explanation and demonstration, however, I would recommend holding for 2-3 second intervals (rest in between).