Cervical Retraction with Extension for Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is a common symptom of patients presenting to our Wheaton Chiropractor office, and cervical retraction with extension is a useful exercise for symptom relief. Patients that may benefit from the exercise may have worsening of symptoms with prolonged sitting, computer use and reading. Cervical retraction with extension moves the upper back and lower neck into the opposite direction of the aggravating postures, thereby reducing discomfort and improving range of motion.

cervical retraction with extension for upper back pain

How to perform:

  • Start in a sitting position with upright posture
  • The beginning of the exercise involves performing a cervical retraction which has been previously described in another blog post at the following link: https://www.ledermanchiropractic.com/health-tips/cervical-retractions-for-neck-pain/
  • After performing cervical retraction, extend your neck by looking upwards as high as you can go.
  • You may not reach your neck’s full range of extension with the first repetition, but you should aim to get further with each repetition
  • Once you reach the end of your range for the repetition, return to the start position and repeated for 10-15 reps
  • Perform 5-6 sets of 10-15 reps or more as needed
  • Assess your upper back pain along with your neck range of motion (looking up, looking down and turning your head left/right) before and after to see if your range of motion and pain is improved
  • Continue performing if it helps to decrease your upper back pain symptoms and/or increases your neck range of motion afterwards
  • Discontinue the exercise if your symptoms worsen during and remain worsened for more than 10-20 minutes afterwards or if your neck range of motion decreased afterwards

Cervical retraction with extension is a very helpful exercise for upper back pain.

We always recommend making an appointment for any new onset upper back pain as well as for re-aggravations of previous upper back pain to properly diagnose the underlying cause and to determine the most appropriate treatment.

To make an appointment, click on the following link: https://ledermanchiropractic.janeapp.com/

Yours in health,

Lederman Chiropractic & Sports Medicine

We guide our patients with effective strategies for pain relief so that they can get back to the activities they love.


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