Relieve Upper Back Pain

Video by  Dr. Timothy Dunn

In our chiropractic clinics, we see many patients who are experiencing neck pain, upper back pain, and shoulder pain. Many of these patients suffer from a lack of upper back extension and forward head posture as well as rounded forward shoulders. A great thing we do in our clinic that helps to restore these deficiencies are upper back mobility exercises. Specifically thoracic extension on a foam roller works very well. This exercise can help to increase mobility in the upper back and neck and can help to reduce pain and bring those rounded shoulders back.

In a research article by Juchul Cho et al, they showed that a group of people suffering from neck pain and forward head posture benefited from thoracic mobility exercises even greater than another group that focused on neck mobility exercises. The study had one group that performed upper back exercises including thoracic extension. The other group focused on upper neck mobility exercises including chin tucks. The upper back group had better results by the end of the study.

Quotes From Research Article

“Participants in the thoracic group demonstrated significant improvements (p < .05) in CVA, cervical extension, NPRS, and NDI at the 6-week follow-up compared with those in the cervical group”

“11 of 15 (68.8%) participants in the thoracic group compared with 8 of 16 participants (50%) in the cervical group showed a GRC score of +4 or higher at the 4-week follow-up.”

“The combination of upper thoracic spine mobilization and mobility exercise demonstrated better overall short-term outcomes in CVA (standing position), cervical extension, NPRS, NDI, and GRC compared with upper cervical spine mobilization and stabilization exercise in individuals with FHP.”


In summary, this article shows us that upper back mobility exercises can help us to relieve pain and fix our posture when we incorporate them in our daily routine. Add thoracic extension to your daily stretches and feel the results yourself. There are ways we can move better to help fix postural issues, in our Chiro Health clinics we focus on restoring proper posture and getting people moving the way they should be. Come into our clinics to learn more on how we can help you get out of pain!



Cho, J., Lee, E. & Lee, S. Upper thoracic spine mobilization and mobility exercise versus upper cervical spine mobilization and stabilization exercise in individuals with forward head posture: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 18, 525 (2017).


Our Message

Our St. Louis Park Chiropractors located in the West End, near the corner of MN-100 S & Lake Rd./Westside Dr., know how to get you out of pain through better movement AND making sure you are getting the proper nutrients. We also teach our patients how to manage stress for optimal health. When you are looking for a Chiropractor near you, choose one who will not only help with your back pain, neck pain, or headaches but who will also guide you to living a healthier lifestyle so you can stay out of pain.