10 Best Exercises and Stretches for Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain

Ouch! Does that strained neck, shoulder, or back pain hurt you constantly?

The modern way of living whether it be sitting all day at work staring at a laptop screen, hunching over your smartphone or even an accident can cause constant neck, back, and shoulder pain. If you are someone with the same complaint this post is especially for you.

 

5 Stretches for Your Neck Shoulder and Back Pain

Here are 10 exercises or moves that will help you stretch and strengthen your neck, shoulder, and back muscles. With a little commitment, you will feel considerable relief in your condition. Eventually, you will stop complaining of a constant strain over your shoulders.

#1 - Initial Stretch

Loosening up the muscles in your neck, back or shoulder requires a good stretch. This will help you restore and/or maintain the flexibility of the muscles while promoting a good range of motion. Additionally stretching also improves the blood flow to the problematic area that can aid in alleviating pain.

#2 – Neck’s Rotation and Side Bend

You can sit or stand facing forward and begin this exercise by tilting the neck to your right. You must feel the stretch through your neck all the way to the trap muscle. Wait for 10 seconds in this position and then slowly start rolling your head in a counterclockwise motion until you reach the left shoulder and then you must pause there for 10 seconds.

After 10 seconds return to the position you started by completing the rotation in the counterclockwise direction. You can then tilt your head to the left and complete the above-mentioned steps in a clockwise direction as well. This exercise is good for your neck and upper back.

#3 - Shoulder Roll

Stand straight with your arms down on the sides. Now start rolling your shoulders backward using a circular motion. Complete 5 circular rotations backward and then 5 rotations forward. You must repeat this at least 2 to 3 times and this exercise is good for your shoulders as well as upper back.

#4 – Overhead Arm Reach

You will need a chair for this one. Sit on the chair, facing forward while keeping both your feet on the ground. Now extend the right arm right above your head and try to reach to the left. For this, you must bend your torso until you can feel the stretch in the right shoulder and lat.

Now return to the start and repeat this motion 5 times. Then switch and repeat the same steps with your left arm. This exercise will help with pain relief in your upper back and shoulder area.

#5 Chair Rotation

Start by placing each palm on your opposite shoulders. Now try bringing your elbow together so they touch. Hold that position for 5 seconds and let go. Repeat his 3 to 5 times and you will feel a relief in your upper back and shoulders region.

 

5 Exercises for Your Neck Shoulder and Back

In order for you to reduce or alleviate pain in your neck, shoulder, or back region, you must strengthen those muscles. For this, here are 5 simple workouts/exercises you can do at home to target those weak muscles. Some of these exercises may require you to get resistance bands, dumbbells, or body weight.

#1 – Rowing

You can use a light or medium-weight dumbbell or a resistance band for this one. Affix your resistance band to a stable surface or a pole and grab each handle with your arms in an extended position. Now pull the handles back in a straight motion by bending the elbows. Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible and you should start feeling your lats working out.

In case you are using a dumbbell, simply hold it in your right hand and brace yourself on any wall using your left hand and arm extended. How to hinge at your waist at an angle of 45 degrees while allowing the dumbbell in your left hand to hang down.

Keep your neck in a neutral position and your knees soft. Now pull the dumbbell directly upward with a tucked elbow. This work will be best for your back region.

#2 - Face Pull

You can use a resistance band to carry out this exercise. First, you must affix a resistance band to any stable surface. However, affix the band above your eye level and grab each band handle using an overhand grip.

Now pull the band directly towards your face while flaring out your upper arms out to each side. Squeeze your shoulders together as you pull, now pause and return to the starting position. You can do 3 sets with 12 reps in each and this exercise will help strengthen your upper back and shoulders muscles.

#3 - Wall Angels

Start by standing against a wall with your back flat against it. You may want to step your feet a little out as this will allow your back to completely stick softly to the wall. Now create a “T” shape by extending both your arms out sideways. Now bend your elbows you create a 90-degree angle.

Now in a very slow motion move both your arms up and down like when you try to make a “snow angel.” The key here is to ensure that your back stays flat against the wall the entire time.

As your fingers touch right your head, stop and return to the starting position. You can do a set of 10 reps and 3 sets will be more than enough to relieve pain in your neck, shoulder, and upper back region by strengthening those muscles.

#4 – Lat Pull

You can perform this exercise in a sitting or standing position. All you need is to attach a resistance band to a stable overhead surface and sit underneath it. Now pull the band downward until your upper arm reaches a position parallel to the ground.

You can pause in this position while squeezing your lats and slowly return to the starting position. 3 sets of 12 reps each will be enough to strengthen your upper back and shoulder muscles and relieve any pain over time.

#5 – Superman

Lie down on your stomach and extend your arms right above your head. Now keep your neck muscles neutral and lift your legs and arms concurrently. You must ensure that you are using your glutes and back to lift. Once you reach the top hold that position for a while and return to the starting posture.

You must carry out 3 sets of 10 reps to strengthen your muscles in the lower and mid-back region.

Conclusion

You can use any or all of the above-mentioned exercises at home in your spare time. However, do not estimate the efficacy of 1) daily stretching and exercising as well as 2) a good night's sleep with the proper pillow as it will gradually alleviate any signs of the neck, shoulder, or back pain.

To learn more about good sleep and proper pillow, check out more of our blog posts! 

Written by Sungman Chang

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