Stretching with Bands: Upper Back and Neck Relief

Stretching with Bands: Upper Back and Neck Relief

In Germany more than 70 percent of people have experienced back pain at least once in their lives [1]. If you are one of them, stretching with bands might be an interesting addition to your daily fitness routine on your journey to a healthy back. Recent studies show, that stretching with bands improves health in many body areas especially your back and neck.

In 2014, Sihawong et al evaluated the effects of an exercise program focusing on muscle stretching and endurance training on the 12-month incidence of neck pain in 567 office workers. Patients were subjected to daily stretching routines and twice-a-week muscle endurance training. The study showed the protective effect of the exercise program for neck pain after adjusting for biopsychosocial factors [2]. Other studies showed similar results [3, 4]. Gurudut et al (2014) have shown that stretching with bands is an even more effective method than yoga when treating back pain in the lower back area. Considering that both methods are an effective treatment for back pain, more research has to be carried out to confirm these initial findings [5].

Resistance and elastic bands have shown great results when applied to stretch routines, improving ranges of motion, enhancing joint mobility and flexibility, among other benefits [6.1]. So, without further ado, here are some stretching exercises you can do with resistance bands if you want to prevent or diminish your neck and back pain.

Cervical Extension IsometricStretching Neck with Bands

Place the middle of the resistance band behind the back of your head. Grab the ends of the band in front of your head with the elbows at 90°. Keep your head straight, then, with your chin slightly tucked, carefully and slowly extend your elbows in front of you, stretching your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Slowly return, maintaining your neck stable [6.2].

Upper Back Stretch

Resistance Band Back Stretch
Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Loop the resistance band around your feet and grab the resistance band at shoulder width. Create some tension with the resistance band and gently curl your back away from your feet. Hold for 20-30 seconds, creating tension and keeping your core engaged [7].

Pass Through

Band Pass through
Hold the resistance band in front of your body with your hands more than shoulder width apart. With locked elbows lift the resistance band upwards and continue to bring the band behind your back while externally rotating your shoulders. Reverse the movement to bring the resistance band in front of your body again. You can narrow your grip as your range of motion increases. Repeat 10-12 times [7].

Side StretchBand Side Stretch

Sit with your legs crossed. Grab each end of the resistance band with your hands and create tension on it. In that same position, turn your back to one side, stretching your back and maintaining your torso straight. Keep your core engaged, your back in a straight position, and your shoulders down. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side [8].

[1] Focus (2017) – Rücken

[2] Effects of an exercise programme on preventing neck pain among office workers

[3] O’Riordan C. et. al (2014) – Chronic neck pain and exercise interventions

[4] The effectiveness of a stretching program among office workers with neck pain

[5] Physical Therapy Comparison of Band Exercises with Chronic Low Back Pain

[6.1] How To Stretch The Right Way

[6.2] Thera-Band Academy (2019) – Neck and Shoulder Exercises

[7] Very Well Fit (2018) – Total Body Stretching Routine With Resistance Bands

[8] MoveSkill: Demo Band Pass Through