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7 Easy Stretches for Back and Shoulder Pain

16 April 2021

Whether you work in the office or from home, there’s a good chance that you sit at the desk all day long with a bad posture that may increase stress in the shoulders and back. Luckily, there are several stretches for back and shoulder pain that you can easily do between tasks during work hours. 

Before we go into the details, we urge you to spare a moment to find a comfortable spot, sit down, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Then exhale. Meanwhile, focus all your attention on your shoulders. How do they feel? You may experience a sensation of pain, discomfort, or tension in this area. 

When it comes to back and shoulder pain, it may be hard to believe that the cause can be as typical as sitting at the desk for extended periods. One study suggested the association between more sitting time at work and increased pain intensity over time.   

So, what simple exercises can you do to alleviate your pain and discomfort?

Easy Stretches for Back and Shoulder Pain 

The following exercises will help relieve pain and tightness in your back and shoulders. Moreover, they will increase flexibility, ease your movements, and improve your range of motion. 

For best results, do these stretches three to six times a week to bring comfort to your neck, shoulders, and back. Avoid stretching beyond your comfort level. It’s not about pushing yourself beyond your limits. It is recommended to start with a 10-minute routine and gradually work your way up as your strength and flexibility increase. 

Make sure you focus on relaxing your muscles and releasing tension in your shoulders and back while doing these exercises. In case you feel pain that doesn’t go away and is more than mild discomfort, discontinue the routine.

  1. Stretch across the Chest 

Targeting your shoulder joint and the surrounding muscles, across-the-chest stretch is one of the best stretches for back and shoulder pain. It will help you improve your range of motion and achieve greater flexibility. 

Follow the steps below. 

  • Lift your left arm and bring it across your chest 

  • Place it in your right elbow’s crease or support the arm with your right hand

  • Hold your arm in this position for a minute

  • Repeat with your right arm

  • Do three to five sets

If you feel any pain in your shoulder while doing this exercise, please lower your arm.  

  1. Chest Expansion 

This exercise is also great for improving your flexibility and range of motion in the shoulders. You’ll need an exercise band for it. If you don’t have one, you may use a towel or a strap.  

Follow the steps below.

  • Stand straight and hold the exercise band behind your back using both hands

  • Move your shoulder blades towards each other, allowing your chest to expand 

  • Lift your chin and look up at the ceiling while broadening across your chest 

  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds

  • Repeat three to five times

If you wish to deepen the stretch, try putting your hands together along the band or towel. 

  1. Seated Twist 

This exercise is meant to stretch the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Before you try it, keep in mind that the twist should start in the lower back region. Moreover, your hips must face forward throughout. 

Follow the steps below.

  • Take a chair and sit on it with your ankles right beneath your knees

  • Place your right hand on your left thigh while twisting your upper body to the left 

  • You can put your left hand on the chair to feel comfortable 

  • Stay in this position for up to 30 seconds

  • Repeat on the other side

  • Repeat these steps on each side three to five times

  1. Neck Release

Neck release is one the gentlest stretches for back and shoulder pain. You’ll instantly experience tension release in your neck and shoulder region after doing this exercise. 

Follow the steps below.

  • Lower your head and bring your chin as close to your chest as possible to feel a stretch along the back of your neck

  • Tilt your head to the left side without looking up to stretch your left shoulder

  • Stay in this position for a minute

  • Repeat on the right side

  • Do each side three to five times 

If you’d like some deep stretching, follow the steps below.

  • Put your right hand on your shoulder and the left one above your right ear 

  • Bring your chin down towards your chest to stretch your neck 

  • With a gentle movement, bring your head to the left side and feel a stretch in your right shoulder

  • Hold for one minute 

  • Do the same on the opposite side 

  • Repeat three to five times on each side

  1. Eagle Arms Spinal Rolls

Eagle arms spinal rolls work wonders for stretching the shoulder muscles. If the arm position doesn’t feel comfortable, you may choose to hold opposite shoulders.

Please follow the steps below.

  • Sit comfortably on a chair with a straight back 

  • Extend your arms out to the respective sides

  • Keeping your right arm on top, cross your elbows in front of you 

  • Allow the elbows to bend as you bring your hands and the back of your forearms together 

  • Reach your right hand around so that your palms come together 

  • Stay in this position for 15 seconds 

  • With an exhale, allow your spine to roll as you bring your elbows in towards your chest 

  • Take a deep breath while opening your chest and lift your arms

  • Continue this for at least a minute 

  • Do the same on the other side 

  1. Doorway Shoulder Stretch 

This exercise helps open your chest and improve your shoulder strength. 

Follow the steps below.

  • Pick a doorway and stand there with your right elbow and arm, making a 90-degree angle with the side of the doorframe

  • Press your palm into the wall while bringing your right foot forward 

  • Lean forward to make sure your core is engaged 

  • Hold this position for 30 seconds 

  • Stretch with your left leg forward

  • Repeat two to three times on each side

  1. Shoulder Circles

Shoulder circles is one of the most effective stretches for back and shoulder pain. It warms up the shoulder joints, promotes flexibility, and relieves tension in the neck and shoulders. 

Here are the steps you need to follow.

  • Stand straight with your right hand at the back of a chair 

  • Leave the left hand hanging and make five quick circles with it in each direction 

  • Change sides and do the same with your right hand

  • Do this exercise twice or thrice a day for best results 

A Golden Tip for Back and Shoulder Pain: Invest in a Good-Quality Standing Desk  

Wondering, “Can a standing desk help my back pain?” 


Aside from following an exercise routine featuring the aforementioned stretches for back and shoulder pain, you need to invest in high-quality office products that provide comfort all day long. It starts with purchasing a standing desk that helps reduce your sedentary time and gets you moving during work hours.    

The 48-inch Theodore Standing Desk is exactly what you need for an ergonomic setup for avoiding back pain at work. Combining traditional design with innovative technology, this high-performance desk allows you to adjust the height as per your comfort and convenience. This means you can shift between sitting and standing positions while working. And don’t worry – the desk offers optimal stability and support, even at the highest height level. 

This standing desk comes with a large drawer and three built-in USB ports. It also has a basic keypad that guarantees smooth movement. The installation is super easy and quick. Furthermore, the rustic look featuring solid wood and walnut veneer adds to the aesthetics of any workspace, giving your office a timeless elegance.    

Ready to Get Rid of Back and Shoulder Pain for Good?

Working a 9 to 5 job isn’t easy. Only those who spend long hours sitting at the desk every day know how the sedentary lifestyle can take a toll on their physical health. Thanks to some easy stretches for back and shoulder pain and a sit-stand desk like the Theodore Standing Desk, you can now work comfortably all day long without getting distracted by shoulder tightness or back pain. 

You can check out more products at FlexiSpot if you’re interested in creating an ergonomic setup for avoiding back pain at work. From height-adjustable desks and office chairs to comfortable cushions and mats and smart storage solutions, we have everything you need to take your comfort to the next level during work hours.