Quick and Easy Way to Strengthen Your Upper Back and Neck Muscles

Here’s an easy and quick way to strengthen the muscles in your upper back and neck.  Wait–why do you need to strengthen those muscles?

Here’s why you should strengthen your back and neck:

  • A weak back hurts. A strong back helps hold you upright and avoids pain.
  • When the muscles in the front of your neck are stronger than the back neck muscles your head goes forward.  A ‘forward head’ causes upper back pain and muscle strain.

Here’s how you can strengthen your upper back and neck muscles:

This is so easy–you can do it in bed.  When you are lying flat on your back you are in pretty neutral posture; your head is about where it should be and you don’t have to think about your posture. It’s easier to get strong muscles in your back and neck when gravity isn’t pulling you forward.

If you need a small neck roll to support your neck in a natural curve, that’s fine.

If you need a small flat pillow or folded hand towel behind your head to avoid neck strain, that’s fine, too.  Maybe at a later date you will discover that you don’t need to prop your head as much.

1.  Squeeze your shoulder blades toward your spine.  Hold for several seconds.  f you can’t do it then just pretend you are doing it.  Your body will start to remember after a while.  This helps strengthen the muscles in your upper back.

2.  Position your head in the most comfortable position, as close to neutral as possible.  Gently press your neck into the mattress.  GENTLY!  Hold for several seconds.  This activates the muscles in the back of your neck and strengthens them.

Always do these movements thoughtfully, slowly and gently.  This isn’t a race.  Strength will come over time.

NoteAlways start slowly!  Do just a couple of times the first and second days.  Then you can add one or two more movements each day.  If you do too many too soon you will have soreness just because the muscles are doing something they haven’t done in a while.

But it’s a very good way to strengthen the muscles in your neck and upper back easily and painlessly.




4 Replies to “Quick and Easy Way to Strengthen Your Upper Back and Neck Muscles”

  1. I am in my early 20’s and recently had a baby. I had never had any back pain before my pregnancy. I was in gymnastics and ballet for many years as a child and I felt like my body was in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, everything changed during pregnancy. In addition to sciatica pain I also developed aches in my shoulders and neck that didn’t dissipate after giving birth. I’m going to try these strengthening ecxersize and hopefully I can find some relief. Thanks so much for the tips.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for writing. Your sciatic pain can surely be related to your neck and shoulders pain. Bodies like to be balanced. You will see that in your children–they use ALL of their muscles. We adults tend to use only some of them. And it can be hard to keep good balance when you are pregnant. Don’t give up and I wish you the best getting relief from the pain in your lower back and hips and upper back and neck. Take the time to get your body back in balance.

      The Pain Relief Coach

  2. Hi, thank you for these great exercises. While admitting that yesterday I must have not been as gentle as you directed. I must have aggravated my ‘forward head’ as I had the common for myself achy left arm pain all day. (I did have a bulging disc a few years ago which caused this type of pain so maybe it was that which was aggravated, I don’t know if a bulging disc is healed or cured).

    1. Hi Lisa, Bulging disks can heal over time. Sometimes they are from ‘out of balance’ muscles around the neck or lower in the body.

      Please do be subtle, thoughtful and gentle when doing these movements. Right now, I would suggest using cold packs (or even packages of frozen peas) on your neck in back and on the sides of your neck. Ice is the ‘drug of choice’ for neck muscle problems because of all the nerves there. Cold therapy works best for irritated nerves.

      I hope this helps you get rid of the pain in your left arm caused by your neck.

      The Pain Relief Coach

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