What Are Common Upper Back Pain Treatments
The range of treatments for upper back pain and neck and mid-back pain, too suggest there is no best option. These are some examples of different approaches that may help you.
In most cases, upper back pain is not a cause for worry however, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. Furthermore, if pain develops suddenly and is severesuch as from an injury and, certainly if pain and symptoms progressively worsen you should seek medical attention.
Simple home remedies. In general, the following home treatments may help relieve upper back pain. Ignore the hype about special products marketed on TV or social media. Stick with what science says works, at least for most people with minor musculoskeletal strain:
- Gentle stretches
- Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen
- Ice to reduce pain and swelling
- Heat to improve mobility and ease stiffness
Posture exercises. If your posture is good, your spinal structures should be correctly aligned, which reduces back strain. Start with these strategies to improve the way you stand or sit.
Injections. A trigger point injection is a direct shot of powerful pain medicine. It may solve your problem, or it may just buy you enough pain-free time to pursue other interventions to get your upper back pain in check.
Chiropractic Care For Upper Back Pain Relief
Our chiropractic services consist of various treatments that can help you address pain and improve your quality of life. Our chiropractic services can help promote optimal function and health.
- Spinal Adjustment A spinal adjustment helps our chiropractors realign your spine to alleviate upper back pain.
- Corrective Exercise Through corrective exercises, you can strengthen your back muscles and prevent further injuries.
- Nutritional Counseling We recommend lifestyle changes to help you maintain a healthy upper back.
Dont Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
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Trail Packs And/or Hydration Packs
- Loads and compression forces add up. Limit the amount of time that you are wearing the pack. Take it off unless you are actually walking or running. If youre standing to visit for a while or rest, then take it off.
- Use larger shoulder straps and a waist strap. Properly fitting straps can help distribute the load more evenly.
- Only carry what you have to. Many times, we carry more items than we really need to. Carry only what you need, and be efficient in the way you pack items. Dont over pack! If you are participating in a long distance event, rely on your team to carry items for you.
Strengthen Your Upper Back
You can help restore balance to your body after a day of sitting with specific exercises. They will help strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility while promoting blood flow and pain relief. Exercises should focus on the core, neck muscle balance, chest flexibility, and the shoulder blades.
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Muscle Or Ligament Tears
If you have recently injured a muscle, ligament or tendon let the acute phase of the injury pass before you receive a massage. The added pressure can interfere with healing. After some time and a discussion with your doctor, adding massage into your recovery can be beneficial to decrease healing time.
Pregnancy And Upper Back Pain
Pregnancy and Upper Back pain are often associated in the late stages of pregnancy.
If you are reading this, you have probably pregnant and have already experienced some upper back pain and are wondering what you can do about it! Upper back pain is often present in the latter stages of pregnancy. This is primarily because the increase in weight of your growing baby pulls your centre of gravity and weight forwards.This causes a change in the posture of your back which increases the pressure on your upper back, and in turn may cause pain.
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What Are Whiplash Symptoms
Neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion are classic whiplash symptoms, but theyre not the only ones. Whiplash can also cause upper to mid-back pain in some people particularly if you have high levels of pain right after the injury.
Other symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Blurred vision
- RInging in the ears
There are some subtle symptoms, too things you might not realize are connected to your injury. Cognitive symptoms of whiplash can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems with memory and concentration
The signs of whiplash are sometimes immediately apparent. However, they may appear or get worse a day or two after the injury. Patients can also sustain a mild traumatic brain injury in association with a whiplash injury, commonly called a concussion, Dr. Tyndall said.
In some cases, you may not notice any symptoms for several days after an injury. Delayed symptoms of whiplash may be masked initially by other, more acute pain.
Daily Habits To Stop Back Pain
10 daily habits to stop back pain
Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, there are many different actions you can take to help alleviate your back pain or prevent it from getting worse. Its all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles. Changing a few daily habits can help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back for a long time.
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Am I Likely To Get Back Pain
Several factors can increase your chances of having upper and middle back pain. Among them:
- Age.Back pain starts for most people in their 30s or 40s, and itâs more common the older you get.
- Being out of shape. The stronger the muscles in your back, shoulder, and abdomen, the lower your chance of injury.
- Weight. If you carry extra pounds, you put more strain on your back.
- Underlying conditions. Diseases such as arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
- Smoking. Smokerâs cough can strain your back. And if you smoke, you may be slower to heal, which can make your back pain last longer.
Causes Of Upper Back Pain
There are lots of potential causes of upper back pain. Sometimes you can get pain with no known cause. Back pain that doesnt have a clear or known cause is called non-specific back pain. This is often due to irritation in the muscles and soft tissues in your back.
Upper back pain is often caused by having poor posture for a long time. Good posture means standing tall and straight with your shoulders back and down. Keep your head level try not to tilt it. Your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be in one line.
Other causes of upper back pain include:
- an accident or sudden injury such as whiplash or a sports injury
- straining a muscle or ligament your back
- lack of strength in the muscles of your back
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Rehab Stretches For Upper Back Pain
Try the following stretches to target upper back pain, recommended by Hirst:
Upper Back Pain Treatment
The good news is that most upper back pain is easily treatable. Upper back pain responds really well to physiotherapy treatment, especially manual therapy, such as joint mobilisation, massage/trigger point release and acupuncture, says Hirst.
However, addressing the root cause of the pain is also essential to make sure it doesn’t return,’ she adds. ‘Think about improving your posture, having an ergonomic assessment at work to check your workstation set-up, and doing some exercise.
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Upper Back Pain Relief: What Treatments Should You Seek For
The nature of upper back pain responds to manual therapies like:
- Acupuncture an ancient Chinese treatment to pain and other illnesses. This stimulates the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
- Massage Therapy this helps improve blood circulation, relaxes the muscles, and increases the levels of endorphins, decreasing pain and improving mood.
- Chiropractic Manipulation a manual adjustment applied to the vertebrae to promote balance or correct abnormal movement patterns that cause back pain.
- Exercise this comes in many forms and is considered to be more sustainable.
Back pain in general, and upper back pain in particular, is often the result of a combination of factors. No matter how good they are, most therapies will hardly address all the factors causing your upper back pain. Most of the time, upper back pain sufferers will only enjoy temporary relief and start to feel discouraged that they will ever find a solution.
From a strictly physical standpoint, when experiencing upper back pain it is advisable to address the whole spinal system and correct possible vertebral misalignments. Then you will need to rebalance the muscles which have been compensating for such misalignments. Ideally you will need to find a technique that provides you with both spinal and muscle work.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Upper Back Pain
Some risk factors from daily routines are known to increase the risk for back pain. Making one or more of the following lifestyle changes could help reduce the risk of developing upper back pain:
- Exercise and stay active. Going for regular walks or hikes, participating in noncontact sports, strength training, and stretching can all be beneficial for conditioning the upper back. Keeping the back strong and flexible helps maintain spinal function and reduces the risk for developing pain. If trying to transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one, start slowly and gradually build up endurance.
In addition, an overall healthy lifestyle of eating a well-balanced diet, getting the recommended amounts of sleep, and managing stress can help reduce the risk for developing back pain.
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Upper Back Pain Management Treatment Options
If your upper back pain continues, then there are some steps you can take to manage it, including:
- Over-the-counter pain relieversyou are likely to try an over-the-counter pain reliever almost immediately to treat any kind of back pain, but you may not realize that drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be as or more effective than prescription medications.
- Bed restanother common sense reaction to upper back pain is to limit your activities. You may want to take one or two days in bed to help reduce the pain, but any more than that may be counter-productive. Too much bed rest may actually weaken your back muscles, prolonging your pain or raising your risk of another injury.
- Exerciseregular trips to the gym, walks or stretches can not only help loosen up tense muscles, but regular exercise can strengthen your back and promote your bodys natural ability to produce pain killers. Prolonged exercise has also been shown to increase the tolerance for pain, making upper back pain less disruptive.
- Improve your postureif you find yourself assuming a bad posture, then make it a priority to sit in an optimal position with your head, shoulders and hips in alignment. If you sit for long periods, make a habit of standing, stretching or taking short walks every hour to relieve tension in your upper back.
- Stop smokingsmoking poses many health risks, but it may cause back pain by limiting flow of oxygen and nutrients to your spine.
Managing Upper Back Pain When Sitting
The average person spends a large majority of their sitting for both work and home life. How you are actually sitting during this time will play a large role in determining your bodys health. As the days goes on and fatigue sets in, injury, pain, and muscle imbalances are more likely to become an issue. Managing upper back pain when sitting can be combated with good posture awareness and finding ways to minimize a sedentary lifestyle.
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Physical Therapy For Upper Back Pain
A strained muscle from poor posture often causes an aching upper back. With physical therapy, you can treat upper back pain causes through the following:.
- Deep Tissue Massage Our physical therapists use deep tissue massages to relax tense muscles and treat muscle spasms in your upper back.
- Corrective Exercise Corrective exercises will help you improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and strengthen your muscles and core.
- Exercise Program Our exercise programs include cardio exercises and strength training. These exercises can help you lower your risk of re-injury so you can improve overall your health.
How Much Does A Human Head Weigh
Typically, an adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. As the head tilts or angles forward, the cervical spines muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head during movement and when static such as holding the head in a forward tilted position. Even the necks intervertebral discs are involved and help absorb and distribute the forces exerted on the neck.
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When To See A Doctor For Upper Back Pain
Most cases of upper back pain are temporary and resolve on their own with rest, ice, and gentle stretching. If your upper back pain is severe and limits your activities, gets worse over time, or does not improve within a few days of at-home care, consider speaking with a doctor.
In rare cases, upper back pain can be a symptom of a more severe or even life-threatening condition. For example, heart attacks can cause pain that moves to the upper back. Other rare but potentially serious causes of upper back pain include aortic aneurysm, pneumothorax , and compression of one of the vertebrae.
You should seek emergency medical care if:
- Your upper back pain was the result of an injury, such as a fall.
- Your upper back pain is accompanied by weakness in your arms or legs, loss of bowel or bladder control, or numbness or tingling down your arms or legs, stomach, or chest.
- You have upper back pain with chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, jaw pain, or nausea.
Our expert orthopedic specialists are here to help you manage upper back pain and return to your activities as soon as possible. Find a Doctor at one of our locations today
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.
Postural Awareness A Positive First Step
Making good posture a habit can help prevent neck or back pain from developing, along with related posture and biomechanical problems. Good posture means that your head is upright, your ears are in line with your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are down and retracted.
In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position for the spine, Dr. Hanraj said. Good posture is not only good for the health of your spine it is good for your over-all health and mood as well as, Dr. Hansraj noted. Other researchers have found that standing straight elevates testosterone and serotonin levels and decreases cortisol levels, hormones that affect your mood, he reported.
However, modern life still requires you to check your phone or use your tablet many times a day. How do you do that and safeguard your neck?
- First, dont use your cell phone or your tablet for extended computer work, according to Stanford Universitys Environmental Health and Safety Department.
- Use your desktop or laptop computer for extended work and make sure these devices are arranged ergonomically.
- When you use a cell phone, instead of bending your head to look down at it, raise your phone.
- When you are reading the screen, bring the phone up level or just a little below your face.
Pinola M. This is what looking down at your cell phone does to your spine. Lifehacker. http://lifehacker.com/this-is-what-looking-down-at-your-cell-phone-does-to-yo-1660637854. Accessed December 1, 2014.
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Utilize A Standing Desk
A standing desk is a great option for taking longer breaks out of your chair. It can potentially reduce the risk of weight gain, promote better posture, and improve overall work life satisfaction. The best options are easy to adjust so that you can frequently switch between sitting and standing. If you plan to stand for longer periods of time, you may consider purchasing an anti-fatigue mat to minimize risk of low back pain and leg fatigue.
How Can You Get An Upper Back Pain Diagnosis
When you go to a doctor for your upper or mid back pain, youll start with a conversation. Expect the doctor to ask you about any events that may be directly responsible: A fall, a car accident, or any changes or increases to your fitness routine.
You might be asked to rank your pain on a scale of 0-10. You should also be prepared to talk about how your pain does, or does not, interfere with the activities of your daily life. Can you cook dinner, get dressed, take a shower?
Then comes the physical exam: the poking and prodding part of your visit. The doctor wants to see how your upper back pain affects your movement. Expect to sit, stand, reach, and bend in the exam room. After that, youre likely to get an X ray.
If symptoms persist or you have red flags such as a progressive weakness or bowel or bladder control problems, you may get more advanced testing, Dr. Knight says. He explains that MRI would be the likely choice.
Heres a look at several types of advanced testing for upper back pain.
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