Reduce Shoulder and Upper Back Pain with This Mobility Exercise

Shoulder and Upper Back Pain

Video by Dr. Justin Thompson

Wall angels, a deceptively simple exercise, can work wonders in restoring mobility to your upper back and shoulders while alleviating pain. By standing with your back against a wall and extending your arms outwards, you engage key muscle groups that are often neglected in our sedentary lifestyles. This exercise helps to counteract the forward hunch that many of us develop from hours spent at desks and screens, ultimately improving posture and reducing discomfort and pain. Regularly incorporating wall angels into your fitness routine can be a game-changer, fostering greater flexibility, lessening pain, and allowing you to move with greater ease and confidence in your daily life.

The articles referenced below highlights the importance of the muscles involved in this exercise. Most of the abnormal biomechanics and overuse injuries that occur in the shoulder girdle can be traced to alterations in the function of the scapular stabilizing muscles. Weakness of the scapulothoracic muscles potentially leads to abnormal positioning of the scapula, disturbances in scapulohumeral rhythm, and generalized shoulder complex dysfunction. This all translates to dysfunction and pain throughout the shoulders and upper back, it can even lead to neck pain.

So, stand tall, press your back against the wall, and let the angels guide you toward a healthier, pain-free upper body. Movement is only one piece of the puzzle, though. If you or someone you know is looking for answers, give us a shout. Sitting down with one of the doctors on our team is the first step in living pain free.


Kamkar A, Irrgang JJ, Whitney SL. Nonoperative management of secondary shoulder impingement syndrome. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993;17:212–224

Kuhn JE, Plancher KD, Hawkins RJ. Scapular winging. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 1995;3:319–325 [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Moseley JB Jr, Jobe FW, Pink M, Perry J, Tibone JE. EMG analysis of the scapular muscles during a scapular rehabilitation program. Am J Sports Med. 1992;20:128–134 [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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We love to help our patients in McKinney stay healthy. We are here to relieve back pain, neck pain and headaches while also teaching about how our diet and stress effects our over all health. By improving these areas of our lives we can become healthier, stay out of pain and reduce risk of diseases. Our Doctors, located near West Ridge, near the corner of S. Stonebridge Dr. and Eldorado Pkwy., want to help you stay healthy and out of pain!