Skip to main content

How to Stretch for Back Pain 3: Upper Back Spine Roller

If you work at a desk all day, you probably have poor posture... and if you have poor posture, you probably have upper back pain. This stretch can work out the kinks—just don't hold back.


  • Step 1: Roll towel Fold the large towel in half lengthwise and roll it very tightly, creating a cylinder that’s 3-5 inches in diameter.
  • TIP: Replace the rolled towel with a foam roller, a common and inexpensive physical therapy tool.
  • Step 2: Place rubber band Place one rubber band around the rolled towel near each end to keep it tightly rolled.
  • Step 3: Place on floor Place the rolled towel on the floor where you will lie so that it will be perpendicular to your body.
  • Step 4: Lie on floor Lie on your back on the floor so the rolled towel is at the base of your shoulder blades. Your knees should be bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Step 5: Cradle head Cradle your head by cupping the upper part of the back of your head in your interlaced fingers. Bring your elbows toward each other so that your arms are along either side of your face.
  • Step 6: Arch back & tuck chin Lie back over the rolled towel so that you are arching your upper back. Pull your belly button in toward your spine and keep your chin slightly tucked. Make sure your knuckles, tailbone, and bottom of your lower back are against the floor.
  • Step 7: Hold 5 seconds Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Step 8: Slide towel & repeat Rise up slightly, slide the rolled towel up 1 inch, and repeat the stretch.
  • Step 9: Continue process Continue rising up, sliding the rolled towel 1 inch higher, and repeating the stretch until you have stretched from the base to the tops of your shoulder blades. And then, yup—back off.
  • FACT: Fifty percent of working Americans suffer back pain every year.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothes
  • A large towel
  • 2 large rubber bands
  • A floor
  • A 3- to 5-inch-diameter foam roller

Popular Categories