I’ve been spending a lot of time lately nursing my baby through a growth spurt, and of course, that’s led to some upper back pain and tightness. If you know me or my content, one of the best ways to combat tightness is movement. Especially in a variety of directions.
So, it should come as no surprise that the best antidote to my nursing-relate back pain was spending an entire Saturday doing yard work. Why? I was reaching overhead to clip tree branches, dragging the branches away, and pulling stubborn branches out from one another. The result is I feel absolutely amazing in my upper back.
Top-3 Upper Back Pain Release Exercises
Let’s just assume you don’t have hours and hours of yard work to do (or hours to do yard work). Here are some of my favorite exercises to alleviate that tight upper back pain we can get from nursing. These are also great tips for anyone who sits at a desk all day or spends a lot of time hunched over their phone.
Resistance Band Rows
Use an anchor to hold your resistance band at roughly chest height. Holding the band, allow your shoulder blade to slide forward, rounding your upper back. Squeeze your shoulder blade in toward your spine as you bend your elbow and draw it toward your ribs. Make sure that your shoulder stays back for the whole movement, not tipping forward at the end.
Resistance Band Pull-Downs
Anchor a band overhead (you can do this kneeling if you don’t have an anchor high enough to stand under with your arm extended overhead). Holding the band, allow your shoulder blade to lift up toward your ear. As you bend your elbow and pull down, draw the shoulder blade down your back as well. This should mimic a pull-up movement in the arm. If you don’t have any anchor, you can do this by holding a band in one hand overhead and pulling down with the opposite hand.
Chest and shoulder stretches
Most of us have a favorite chest and shoulder stretch. I suggest also adding in either foam rolling or tennis ball rolling the chest first, then take a standing door stretch, or any other chest and shoulder opener you love.
Start with just five minutes to complete 10 reps of each resistance band exercise and 30-60 seconds of the stretch and see how you feel. If it works and you can find the time, try to add it in a few times per day (particularly after nursing or a long time at your desk)!
I’d love to hear if you try it!