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Sooth Upper Back Pain Using a Foam Roller

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:44pm 4 Comments

I have a unique job as a pilates instructor because, until most professionals out there, I don't spend the majority of my day at a computer. Since I started blogging, however, I have a renewed understanding of how painful it is to the body to sit a computer for hours on end!

So many factors can play a part in upper back and neck pain: how far away you sit from the desk, the height of the desk, the angle of your seat, etc. Its important that you set up your work station so that you don't feel pain just from doing your job.

Setting up the proper work station is for a future post! Right now, you're in pain, so what should you do?

In the meantime, let's fix up your upper back. Place the foam roller perpendicular on your mat. Sit in front of it with your feet flat, hip width apart, and knees bent. Lay back slightly to lean your ribs against the roller, then place your hands behind your head.

Next, lift your hips off the mat. Begin to roll your upper and middle back up and down on the roller to massage it. It should feel very, very good!

This is something just for your upper and middle back and doesn't really work on the low back. If you try to roll on your low back like this, you'll probably fall backwards off the roller.

There are a few little things you can do with your body to change how this feels. Try hugging your elbows around your face slightly, or open them wide apart. Try curling your tailbone up alittle bit to round your low back, or drop the tailbone to slightly arch your low back. Try rolling down to the bottom ribs, then roll all the way up to the base of your neck.

See the photo above for how this exercise looks.

Like I said, this should feel great. However, some people don't like this at all because they have disk problems that feel irritated by the roller. Try it for yourself, and if you don't like it or hurts a lot, or hurts later, you should probably stop using the roller.

I think everybody should have a foam roller in the house, and if you don't, definitely get one. You can buy them online, at your pilates studio, and at some sports shops. They can be used for many different stretches and core exercises. Stay tuned for an article coming to Heads Up on Your Body about core exercises with the foam roller!

Students at Rhinebeck Pilates love this massage, especially after a long day at work or at the computer. It's addictive! Read more!

Comments (4)
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according to doctor i have weak bones what can I do to improve. 

I am sinusitis patient and cannot eat banana. I can have milk but that to not in the mornings, I have it before I go to sleep. Please suggest me something

I went to doctor there is nothig serious muscle tissues have got damaged. He has given me few excercises to do regularly. Upper back pain has reduced but if I skip excercise one day I do again get pain. What should I do? Even when I slid down and sit tail bone and its surrouding bones pain.


What have you tried so far to help relieve your pain?  I suggest going to a doctor to make sure there is nothing more serious going on.  The doctor can refer you to a more specialized doctor or a physical therapist.

At home, you could try buying a foam roller for self-massage and pain relief.  There are books on with exercises you can do with the foam roller. 

Good luck!


i had fallen down from stairs and was unconcious for about 30 seconds during that time my body got 2-3 jerks and then i came to my senses. its been 3 months but i still have pain in my upper back it is muscles pain how do i get rid of it. wen i fell down i got hurt in mid n lower back bt nw i dn't have pain there. it makes me restless as i have to work 10 hours on computer...i am not able to stretch my legs also...pls tel me some exercise tht wud help meget rid of this pain...
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