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A Pain-Free Back: 10 Essential Exercises for Mid-Back Relief

While not as common as lower back pain, middle back pain is still a prevalent issue.  

If you’ve ever experienced discomfort or tension in the area between your shoulder blades, you know how disruptive it can be to your daily activities and well-being. 

In this post, i will discuss ergonomics and posture-correcting exercises.

What is Middle Back Pain?

Middle back pain, or thoracic back pain, refers to discomfort or pain in the central region of the spine, in the thoracic spine.

The thoracic spine is the section that runs from the base of the neck (cervical spine) to the lower back (lumbar spine). It is composed of twelve vertebrae labeled T1 to T12.

Middle back pain can manifest as a dull ache, sharp pain, or stiffness in the area between the shoulder blades and extends to the lower part of the ribcage.

Unlike lower back pain, which is more common, middle back pain is less frequent but can still cause significant discomfort and impact daily activities.

Essential Exercises for Middle Back Relief

Incorporating targeted exercises into your routine can make a significant difference if you seek relief from middle back pain. Strengthening and stretching the muscles in the mid back can enhance flexibility, promote better posture, and ease discomfort. 

Here are some essential exercises to help you find relief and improve your middle back health:

Rows with Resistance Bands

  • Attach a resistance band to a sturdy object at chest height. 
  • Stand facing the anchor point, holding one end of the round in each hand. 
  • Keep your arms extended before you and pull the bands towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. 

Superman Exercise

  • Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended in front of you and legs straight. 
  • Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, engaging your middle back muscles. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down. Repeat for several repetitions.

Bird-Dog Exercise

  • Begin on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  • Extend your right arm and left leg, keeping them straight and parallel to the ground. 
  • Engage your core and hold before switching to the opposite arm and leg. Perform several reps on each side.

Bridge Exercise

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Place your arms at your sides with palms down. Press your feet into the ground and lift your hips towards the ceiling, creating a straight line from shoulders to knees. 
  • Squeeze your glutes and middle back while holding the bridge for a few seconds before lowering it.

Wall Angels

  • Stand with your back against a wall, feet about a foot away. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and place them against the wall. 
  • Slide your arms up the wall, maintaining contact with the wall, and then back down. 
  • This exercise improves shoulder mobility and helps correct rounded shoulders.

Thoracic Extension Exercise

  • Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or on a chair with your feet flat. Place your hands behind your head, arch your upper back, and look upwards. 
  • Hold for a few seconds, then return to a neutral position. 
  • Repeat several times to improve thoracic spine mobility.

Child’s Pose Stretch

  • Start on all fours, then sit back on your heels with your arms extended forward on the ground. 
  • Allow your forehead to rest on the floor and feel the stretch in your middle back. 
  • Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing.

Thread the Needle Stretch

  • Begin on all fours. Reach your right arm under your left arm, threading it through and bringing your right shoulder and cheek to the ground. 
  • Hold the stretch, then switch to the other side.

Cat-Cow Stretch

  • Get on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  • Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone (Cow Pose). 
  • Exhale and round your back, tucking your chin and tailbone (Cat Pose). Repeat this flowing motion several times.

Pilates and Yoga

  • Consider incorporating Pilates or yoga into your exercise routine, as both disciplines emphasize core strength, flexibility, and posture, which can contribute to middle back relief.

End Note

Middle back pain can be a challenging issue to deal with, but with the right exercises and dedication, relief is within reach. These essential exercises strengthen and stretch the middle back muscles promoting better posture and health. 

Consistency and patience are vital in achieving a pain-free and revitalized mid back. Embrace the journey towards a healthier, more active life, and say goodbye to middle back discomfort! 

See you in my next post…’til then, be healthy and live fully!

Dr. Lex Gonzales
Dr. Lex Gonzales, PT, DPT has been a physical/physiotherapist for over 24 years and is an award-winning author and keynote speaker. On he provides quality information and practical solutions you can use to improve your health and function.