Total Health

Top Exercises for Mid Back Pain

November 30th, 2021 by
Category: Back pain Dr. Luke Vella

Mid back pain can become an issue for anyone, no matter your lifestyle. People who are generally affected include students, desk workers, tradies, stay at home mum’s and the older population. In 2017-2018, it was estimated that 4 million Australians were suffering with mid back pain – that’s 1 in 6 Australians! In 2015, back pain was the second highest leading cause of disease burden in people’s lives, with 4.1% of all of Australians admitting to back pain significantly impacting their lifestyle. 

Mid back pain can occur for various reasons. Some of the more common causes of mid back pain include:

Now that we understand what can possibly be causing mid back pain, here are some common symptoms you may experience: 

  • Dull aches and pains while sitting, standing, or working 
  • Tight and rounded shoulders 
  • Poor posture 
  • Sharp pain in the muscles between the shoulder blades 
  • Stiffness in the mid back region 

Serious symptoms of mid back pain that require urgent medical attention include:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Pain (sharp) when breathing 
  • Radiating pain around to the front of chest wall (burning, shooting, tingling, numbness) 
  • Rash on the chest wall or mid back 
  • Sudden onset of severe pain 
  • Weakness into the arms, legs, or torso 

As a rule of thumb, you should be getting your mid back pain – well, any pain for a matter of fact – checked as soon as possible for a number of reasons. One, it is generally easier and quicker to manage someone with acute pain (short term pain), rather than chronic pain (long term pain). Secondly, by addressing issues sooner, you get to get back to doing all the things you love better than ever and pain free. 

When it comes to preventing mid back pain, here a few helpful tips to try and incorporate into your daily routine: 

Here are my 5 top exercises for mid back pain: 

Posture pole

Frankston Chiropractor performing use of posture pole

This could be one of the easiest and most relaxing exercises there is. The posture pole aims to open the anterior chest wall, stretches the upper back posture muscles such as the pec major and minor, and encourages good posture and long-term stability.

To perform this exercise: 

  • Place the posture pole on a stable flat surface.
  • Lay on the pole as shown in the image above, with your head resting on one end and your buttocks on the pole at the other end.
  •  Bring your knees up so your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Aim to get your low back flat onto the pole and let your arms spread out next to you, palms facing up.
  • You can lie in this position from 3 minutes all the way up to 15 minutes.


Frankston Chiropractor performing cat cow exercise

This exercise is good not only with mid back pain, but can also help to relax the body after a hard day at work or first thing in the morning to wake up your muscles, joints and nervous system. 

The cat cow exercise will help to increase thoracic and mid back mobility, decrease stress, increase stability and decrease tension in your vertebral joints.

To perform this exercise:

  • Kneel on the ground on all fours
  • As seen in the images above, you want to arch your back up and take a deep breath in. Hold for 2 seconds
  • Release the breath slowly and hold for a further 2 seconds with your back arched downwards.
  • Repeat this cycle 10 times, two times per day

Brugger’s relief position

Frankston Chiropractor performing Bruggers relief exercise

This is a good little exercise you can do throughout the day to make your work life more comfortable.

With this exercise you should aim to do it every hour or so, as it will help to decrease stress, slow breathing, relax hypertonic (tight) muscles in the torso and shoulders and encourage good posture while at a workstation. 

To perform this exercise:

  • Sitting at the edge of your chair, you want to sit up tall, pop your chest out forward, roll your shoulders up and back and face your palms out wards.
  • While in this position take five deep and slow breaths.


Frankston Chiropractor performing cobra stretch


This exercise is going to help in several ways, including increasing the strength of your postural muscles, stretch the chest, shoulders and abdomen, decrease stress, help improve breathing and lastly, decrease tension in the mid and lower back. 

To perform this exercise:

  • Prop yourself up on your forearms and hold for 30 seconds to a minute while taking long deep breaths in and out

Child pose with thoracic rotation

Frankston Chiropractor performing child pose with thoracic rotation

This exercise is great for increasing thoracic mobility while also strengthening the core muscles and simultaneously stretching the chest, shoulders, and thoracic back muscles. 

To perform this exercise:

  • This exercise should be performed 2-3x per day on each side, with 30 second holds on each side. 
  • Thread your arm under your torso and out the other side. 

If you have any further questions or need help picking out the right exercises for you, please do not hesitate to contact Total Health Chiropractic or another health care professional for tailored advice. 


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