Benefits of Foam Rolling Upper Back

A great many of us have jobs that require sitting in front of a computer or driving for 6-8 hrs a day. It is inevitable that most of us will at some point experience upper back pain as a result. When working from a sitting position, one needs to focus on posture – straight back, relaxed shoulders, erect neck and computer at eye level. In doing so, we can help prevent a curved spine and forward neck. However, working on keeping a straight back can cause our back muscles to stiffen up and contract. These contractions can cause trigger points and pain over time, especially adjacent to the shoulder blades, that must be eliminated to maintain a healthy back. In this article, I will show you how to fix upper back pain using a foam roller. This exercise works to relieve pain whether you have a sore back after lifting weights or you have a tight back from prolonged sitting.


  1. Sitting on the floor, place the foam roller behind you and lie back on it, with the roller even with your shoulder blades.
  2. Raise your butt so that you are supported only by the foam roller and your feet.
  3. Begin to roll along your upper back, using your hips to power you back and forth. You may hear some pops along your spine. This is your spine realigning, which is a good thing, as long as the pops are not painful.
  4. Foam Rolling Trick: Typically, upper back pain, whether from working out or sitting for a long period of time, occurs under the shoulder blades. To work on these trigger points, try squeezing your elbows up in front of your face. This will move the shoulder blades out of the way and allow you to roll out the trigger points in that area.

It is important to do this exercise regularly. If you don’t, trigger points and deposits can build up over time, making it more difficult to work them out. Foam rolling the back can also help to realign the back and circulate nutrients and oxygen through the back muscles and along the vertebrae.

THE SECRET YOUR MASSAGE THERAPIST DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW: Often times, it is thought that massage therapy is the solution for muscle pain. The problem is, massage therapy is not cheap.  $70 for a one-hour session is pretty typical. But you can use a foam roller to do the same work of a massage therapist. The cost saving is immense, and you don’t even need to leave the house!

Recapping Benefits of Foam Rolling the Back

  • Reduce tightness and relieve pain
  • Work out painful mineral deposits
  • Improve posture
  • Realign spine

WARNING: Do not foam roll your lower back. It is safe to foam roller the upper back since your rib cage protects the spine. But foam rolling your lower back can put excessive pressure on the spine and can cause more harm than good. If you have lower back pain, the cause may actually be tight hip flexors. Check out my other article to learn how foam rolling can relax tight hip flexors and reduce lower back pain.