Prevention Of Upper Back Pain
The following tips may help to prevent you from developing upper back pain.
- Lift objects safely and correctly by bending at your knees and not from the waist.
- Make sure your back is properly supported when sitting.
- If you wake up with back pain, a more supportive mattress that adjusts to your back and supports its various curves and hollows may help.
- Take regular breaks from sitting for long periods of time and from doing repetitive tasks.
- Practise good posture see our section on causes of back pain.
- Exercise regularly see our FAQ on some specific exercises for upper back strength.
- Learn and practise good technique for any sports youre doing.
- Stop doing any activity that you know is causing your back pain.
- Stop smoking it can speed up the degeneration of the discs between your vertebrae that act as shock absorbers.
- If you are overweight, losing weight may help to reduce the risk of back pain.
Easy Tips To Relieve Stress
Stress affects the body in a variety of ways,from mood swings and headaches to weight fluctuations. However, an often overlookedside effect of stress is neck and back pain. Over time, repetitive bouts ofstress can cause musculoskeletal issues in these regions of the body.
When we get stressed out, the body naturally releases certainhormones. Adrenaline is associated with the ancient fight or flight phenomenonthat heightens our blood pressure, increases our blood supply, and causes themuscles around our spine to tense and spasm in case we need to flee the sourceof the stress. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone it interferes with avariety of functions. Elevations in cortisol can lead to loss of muscle massand increases in fat accumulation.
“Stress affects the body in a variety of ways, from mood swings and headaches to weight fluctuations. However, an often-overlooked side effect of stress is neck and back pain. Over time, repetitive bouts of stress can cause musculoskeletal issues in these regions of the body.”
Kavita Trivedi, D.O.
Data suggest that adults know stress affects their spines. Online survey participants ranked the No. 1 perceived cause of their neck and back pain as follows:
- Stress: 29 percent
- Spinal disc herniation: 21 percent
- Sitting at a desk at work: 20 percent
Your Upper Back & Neck Posture Is Crucial
Considering that muscle imbalances and poor posture can result from sitting at a computer/looking at smart phones, lets discuss what happens when youre in this position typically, this is what happens:
Your Head will protrude forward Your shoulders will roll forwards Increased Kyphosis
Over time, this abnormal positioning can lead to certain muscles and ligaments being overused , while other muscles and ligaments become underused This can lead to pain.
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Upper Back Pain Exercises
Exercise is essential for upper back and neck health because it stimulates blood flow, which helps the discs in your back stay healthy. You can also strengthen the muscles in your upper back with particular exercises.
- Arm Reach: Get down on your hands and knees with your neck and back parallel to the ground. Lift one arm at a time for five seconds without raising your head. Repeat each arm ten times.
- Arm Slides: Stand against a wall with your back, elbows, and wrists. Raise your hands as high as you can while keeping your arms and wrists against the wall, then return to the starting position. Repeat ten times more.
Ways To Help Relieve Upper Back Pain
If you are looking for upper back pain relief, the good news is that upper back pain can be managed with some self-care at home. Some things you can try include:
- Keeping active try to return to some physical activity or regular work as soon as you can
- Adjusting your posture use an upright chair with good support and ensure your work surface is at a comfortable height
- Applying hot or cold packs to help relieve pain
- Taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, like ibuprofen
If the above strategies arent enough, speak to your doctor about other treatments that may help manage back pain, such as:
- Treatment with chiropractors or osteopaths
Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your back pain for any reason.
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Above The Head Chest Stretch
A tight pectoralis major, more commonly known as your pecs or chest muscle, can pull your shoulders forward. If you’re trying to correct slumped-over posture, it’s important to correct this by stretching the chest. According to ACE, this stretch is particularly effective at doing just that.
Diagnosis For Upper Back Pain
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose upper back pain. To get the diagnosis, your doctor may ask you to:
- Answer questions about your health history, symptoms, and physical activities.
- Complete a physical exam.
In some cases, your doctor may also order an:
- X-ray, which uses radiation similar to radio waves that can produce pictures of the inside of the human body.
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan, which uses a magnetic field with radio waves to take pictures of the inside of the human body. It can often show problems that other medical imaging techniques may miss.
A health care provider will interview you to help determine a diagnosis. The provider may also want to order other tests to check for any other potential causes of your upper back pain.
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Overview Of Upper Back Pain
The upper back pain is found to occur in all age groups. It is caused mainly due to poor postures, stress, muscle spasms, accidents, degenerative discs, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain and disc herniation. This affects the joints and the interacting muscles. When one joint of muscle is affected, it affects others too, leading to pain and dysfunction. Further, it leads to stiffness in the neck and lower back. Thus, when the upper back pain is felt it should be treated immediately.
How Can I Relieve Upper Back Pain
Exercise is one of many conservative treatments that helps combat upper back pain. Rowing exercises are among the best for strengthening the muscles of your posterior chain and improve upper back strength.
In order to reduce upper back pain, it is important to stretch the muscles of the anterior chain and strengthen the muscles of the posterior chain , says Kin-Charlton. Consider adding standing cable rows, high face pulls, and rear cable flys to your strength training program. It is just as important to stretch and lengthen the muscles of your anterior chain.
Stretching often or doing yoga can improve posture and back strength to relieve upper back pain. You may notice this discomfort more at night after your body reaches a deep stage of relaxation. Meditation before bed can release stress brought on throughout the day and can help put back pain at ease.
Along with stretching, Kin-Charlton says the head-chest stretch is another move that can help ease upper back pain. Seated or standing, interlock your fingers, bend your elbows, and raise your arms above your head. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows and hands backward.
After a massage, patients experience less back pain and increased mobility, however, Lee points out that just one massage wont take away all of your upper back pain problems. For longer and more effective results, she recommends a seven-week massage treatment plan to massage your pain away.
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Anatomy Of The Upper Back Muscles
The neck consists of seven cervical vertebrae, the building blocks of the spine. Each block is separated by a disc that sits in between and each vertebra has a facet joint on either side. The seventh cervical vertebra, referred to as C7, meets the first of 12 thoracic vertebrae T1 at the base of the neck, a point known as the cervicothoracic junction. This can be a common source of pain as the spinal curves transition from lordotic to kyphotic An increased kyphotic thoracic curve can result in you developing a prominent hunchback posture.
Each level of vertebra has a pair of nerve roots, one coming from each side of the spine. These nerve roots trail down to supply their corresponding portion on the arm. This is how referred pain can occur, if a nerve root is irritated or inflamed at the spine, symptoms can be felt in the corresponding region e.g. in the forearm or fingers. For instance, if you injure C7, you may feel pain in your index and middle fingers.
The shoulder blades, known as scapula, are responsible for the stability of the shoulder and forearm movement. They rotate, retract and protract and their movement patterning and stability can greatly affect your posture and arm function. If the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades arent functioning properly, you can end up with scapula winging where the shoulder blades stick out.
Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
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Fixing Upper Back And Neck Pain
Upper back and neck pain can stop you in your tracks, making it difficult to go about your typical day. The reasons behind this discomfort vary, but they all come down to how we hold ourselves while standing, moving, and most important of all sitting.
Neck and upper back pain can limit your movements and capabilities. If you dont do anything about your pains, they can get worse, spread, and limit you further. This is usually because the muscles around your immediate area of pain have tensed up to protect that one spot. That expansion limits movement and can turn one clenched muscle under your shoulder blade into a painful shoulder and a tension headache.
Causes of upper back and neck pain include:
- improperly lifting something heavy
Our love of screens is also a likely culprit in upper back and neck pain. Sitting all day working on a computer screen, craning your neck to read the news on your phone on the way home, and slumping on the couch to watch several hours of television are great ways to throw your body out of alignment.
Like many health conditions, the effects of neck and back pain can be more severe in people who smoke or are overweight. Excess weight can add more pressure on the muscles.
Supta Baddha Konasana With A Bolster
Take the pressure off your upper backand give it some much-needed relief in this restorative posture. Jasper says she loves this pose with a bolster because it opens and expands your upper chest. Set up bolster in line with spine at the top of your mat, she says. Take a seat at the top of your mat, bringing the souls of the feet to touch. Let your knees spread open lay vertically back on to the bolster. The bolster should be in line with your spine Allow your arms to open horizontally, palms turned up.
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Ways To Alleviate Pain In Upper Back & Shoulder Blades:
Leons notes :
1-3 techniques below will focus on giving you temporary relief by using self massage techniques and stretching for the actual painful areas.
4-8 will focus on stretching and activating the muscles that will help you to carry yourself in a better posture This is the long term strategy.
Please note, if your pain persists for a long time, you may want to see a professional in-person to address your situation.
Diagnosis Of Upper Back Pain
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you. They may then be able to diagnose and explain the cause of your back pain or they may need to refer you for some tests. Upper back pain is often caused by muscle strain, but sometimes there might be a more serious cause. There are particular symptoms your doctor will look for that may indicate this. They call these red flags and they include:
- a recent injury to your back such as a car accident or a fall
- back pain caused by a minor injury or lifting something heavy particularly if you have osteoporosis
- if youve had cancer or you have a weakened immune system
- other symptoms such as a fever, unexplained weight loss and chills
- a recent bacterial infection
- if youre younger than 20 or older than 50
Your doctor will also ask you about the pain to understand how severe it is and what could be causing it. It can also mean a red flag if:
- symptoms havent eased despite changing position or resting
- youve had pain for more than two weeks despite having treatment
- you have pain that you dont think has been caused by a sprain or strain in your upper back
- you are very stiff in the morning
- you have pain all the time and its getting worse
Your doctor may ask if youve had any weakness in your legs, or any bladder and bowel problems such as incontinence. This may point towards pressure on the nerves in your spine or spinal cord, which could be caused by a slipped disc or injury.
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Neck Flexion And Extension
Sitting in a chair, focus on keeping good posture as you alternate between bending the entire neck forward and backward .
Try alternating between the motions, while following your breath, up to 10 times. . You can also hold the stretch and breathe for 30-60 seconds if it is comfortable. Lastly, you can add overpressure to each stretch with gentle use of your hands.
How To Get Rid Of Upper Back Pain
When we think of pain, it is usually associated with an injury or trauma.
But a lot of upper back and neck pain seems to come out of the blue, leaving you uncomfortable and asking how to get rid of upper back pain.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans report suffering from back pain and another study reveals that nearly 60% of Americans wouldnt tell a medical professional if they were suffering from chronic pain.
This pain can be caused by a number of factors such as working at a computer or simply sitting at a desk too long and can interrupt your life.
If this is you and youre left asking how to get rid of upper back pain, dont worry weve got your back!
Here are ten things to try when you need to know how to get rid of upper back pain.
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Understanding Upper Back Pain
Back pain is a commonly reported problem. To help describe back pain, it is often grouped into different categories lower back pain affects the lower part of the spine, called the lumbar spine, while upper back pain affects the upper part of the spine, known as the thoracic spine. Back problems can also affect the neck, or cervical spine, as well as the tailbone, or coccyx.
In this article, we focus on upper back pain what it is, what causes it, and how to relieve it.
Upper Back Pain Causes
Unlike the lower back and neck, the upper back is relatively immobile, so it is usually resistant to injury and pain. However, when upper back pain does occur, its typically due to muscle tightness or joint issues after an injury.
Some common causes of upper back muscle pain include:
Not moving often or routinely sitting for long periods of time in awkward positions can strain the muscles in your back and neck, causing them to become weak and place pressure on your spine, which leads to pain. Leaning to one side more often may also lead to upper left back pain or upper right back pain.
Improper lifting technique
Lifting a heavy object without properly aligning your back, especially if you are lifting it above your head, can put a lot of stress on your upper back and shoulders and leave them susceptible to injury.
Using your upper back more than you usually do, like helping a friend move house or painting a ceiling, could cause muscle strains/sprains and inflammation in the upper back.
Accidents, such as falls or sports collisions, can cause upper back pain by injuring bones, discs or muscles in the upper back.
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Seated Levator Scapulae Stretch
Targeted muscle: Stretches Levator Scapulae.Because of rounded shoulders and forward head position This is one of most effective upper back stretches because the Levator scapulae muscle in particular gets very tight from our cell phone texting and prolonged desk work.How to do it: Begin in a seated position and grasp the bottom of your chair with your right hand.Bring your chin in towards your chest and rotate your head towards the left shoulder. Then using your left arm gently push your head down looking towards your left armpit until you feel a slightly stretch along with right side of your neck.Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds.Repeat on the opposite side.Aim for 3 repetitions of this stretch on each side.