6 Exercises for Upper Back Pain

It’s tough to keep good posture when we’re working from home, and muscle soreness in our backs is all too common. Here are some simple exercises to alleviate upper back pain.

4 mins read

Working from home has been one of the better byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing sweats to Zoom meetings, grabbing snacks from the kitchen at our leisure, and being able to roll out of bed at 8:57 for a 9 am call are all things we could definitely get used to.

But slouching in the bed and getting stiff in that hand-me-down office chair aren’t doing wonders for our back and posture. This is because most offices have chairs and desks that are designed to prevent back and neck-related strain, but your home office probably isn’t as well-equipped.

Because of that, back and posture-related aches have emerged more prominently now than ever. And while getting all-new equipment might fix the problem, it can be hard to justify spending so much when there are plenty of other solutions that won’t break the bank.

So, if your upper back feels like it’s on the attack, don’t lose hope! You can work to soothe your back pain by trying some of these at-home exercises!

What Causes Back Pain?

If your back or neck seems to hurt more often than normal, the chances are you’re experiencing one of the most common ailments in the American population. In any 3-month period, about 25% of adults experience at least one day of back pain.

One of the most common causes of back pain is poor posture from routinely sitting for long periods of time. It can cause the muscles in your neck and upper back to become deconditioned, which puts the spine out of its neutral alignment. As you slouch forward, your head and shoulders place more pressure on your back, which could lead to soreness.

But if you’re still feeling pain even with a spine as straight as a ruler, you might have used improper lifting technique to carry a heavy item. They say “lift with your legs” for good reason, because bending over to lift up a large object can put undue stress on your spine. In addition, holding an object above the head for long periods can also put your spine out of alignment.

It’s also entirely possible you were just working a little too hard yesterday and your muscles are a bit strained! Whatever the reason, let’s try to reverse it.

Before Getting Started

There are loads of different exercises that you can do to try to alleviate some soreness and achiness. You could even do some of them while sitting at your home office desk!

But before you get started, loosen up your muscles a little bit with a few easy stretches, just to get the blood flowing. You could also consider putting a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue for 30-60 seconds to lift your mood and just help you counter that everyday stress. It’s an easy, natural way to get you in the zone before any type of exercise!

Stretches To Alleviate Back Aches

Not only do these stretches help prevent injury before you get into the real exercises, they’ll also help to release tension that you may have been feeling for a while now!

Neck Bend and Rotation

For this one, stand or sit facing forward, then slowly tilt your neck to the right. Hold it there for about 10 seconds, then slowly roll your head in a counter-clockwise direction to your left side. Pause for another 10 seconds, then repeat from that side.

You can think of your neck as a sort of pendulum, slowly swinging back and forth. This is a great exercise for neck and upper back pain specifically, as it targets your trapezius muscles that can be affected due to poor posture.

Shoulder Roll

Stand up nice and straight, letting your arms loosely hang at your sides. Roll your shoulders backward in a circular motion five times. Then do the same thing in the opposite direction. You can repeat this about three times.

You’ll really feel this one releasing some tension in your upper back between the shoulder blades. 

Chair Rotation

Grab a chair and sit in it sideways so that your right side is resting against the chair’s back. Keeping your feet stationary on the ground, rotate your torso to the right, reaching the back of the chair with your hands. Hold yourself in that position for about 10 seconds. Then switch around to the other side and do the same thing.

This is a great exercise because it works your upper, mid, and lower back, making it an awesome all-around useful stretch that you can do during a quick break between meetings.

Exercises To Prevent Future Pain

Once you’ve stretched and you feel like you’ve alleviated some of the aching, you’ll want to do some exercises to strengthen your back muscles to try and help prevent future soreness and tenderness.


If you have a dumbbell, it’s time to whip it out! This is a great exercise for strengthening your upper back.

Hold the dumbbell in your right hand and use your left hand to brace yourself on a wall or top of a chair. Hinge your waist at a 45-degree angle, letting the dumbbell hang down. Keep your neck straight and your knees bent while pulling the dumbbell directly up with a tucked elbow.

It should look a bit like you’re rowing a kayak. You can do as many repetitions as you see fit. Just make sure you work both arms!

Reverse Dumbbell Fly

With two lightweight dumbbells, stand in a similar position to the row, with your waist hinged at 45-degrees and your arms hanging straight down. Keeping your neck neutral and gaze down, lift your arms out to the side and upward.

At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulders together. It should kind of look like you’re flapping your wings. Do about three sets of ten reps, or however many you feel comfortable. This is a fantastic exercise for your shoulders and upper back.

Scapular Squeeze

This is a really easy one that only incorporates body weight, so you won’t need dumbbells or resistance bands.

Just put your arms down at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for about 10 seconds and release. Repeat this three to five times.

This is a really good exercise for your upper back, helping to prevent pain the next time you find yourself slouching.

Other Ways To Alleviate Back Pain

If these exercises didn’t seem to work, or you just don’t have the time, no worries! There are some other things you can try to bring relief.

Using heat is a great way to alleviate back pain. Heat opens blood vessels, which can speed up the muscle healing process and bring you some quick relief. Use a heating pad or a warm towel for about 20 minutes at a time to get some comfort.

For instant relief from everyday aches and pains, you could try a CBD Pain Cream. CBD is highly regarded for its healing benefits, and this topical cream absorbs directly into the affected area to provide temporary relief to joints and muscles. On top of that, it’s an excellent moisturizer that can help to nourish dry skin and bring you a sense of rejuvenation.

Also, it’s important to think about taking care of your body after the workout is over to prevent any soreness that might result from your muscles swelling. This is where CBD can come in handy yet again!

CBD Gummies can help support recovery from exercise. Cannabinoids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent joint injury during exercise, as well as limit discomfort from swelling. Not to mention, CBD can lift your mood and help promote balance, making it an all-around fantastic supplement to your routine.

In Summary

Neck and back pain is extremely common, so if you’re feeling a bit off, you’re not alone! The good news is that most soreness related to poor posture can be alleviated pretty easily.

You can do stretches from the comfort of your own home such as shoulder rolls to feel some instant relief. After that, you can do some strengthening exercises like rowing to help prevent further tenderness or injury as a result of your daily activities.

In addition, you can try supplementing your exercise with heating pads or CBD products to continually support a healthy body and mind, because wrapping up your long day at work pain-free is just one of many reasons to smile!


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