% Of People Will Experience Back Pain At Some Time But There Are Ways To Find Relief
As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women.
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal. Here are several options to consider:
Complementary therapies. Several types of complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Back And Neck Pain
Symptoms linked to back pain may include:
- Dull, burning, or sharp pain in your back. The pain can be limited to a single spot or cover a large area.
- Leg numbness or tingling above or below your knee
- Stiffness or aching that occurs anywhere along your spine from your neck to your tailbone
- Sharp, shooting pain that spreads from your low back to your buttocks, down the back of your thigh, and into your calf and toes
- Consistent ache in the middle or lower part of your back, especially after standing or sitting for a long period
Loss of bladder and bowel control with weakness in both legs are symptoms of a serious condition that needs medical attention right away.
Symptoms linked to neck pain can be:
- Arm numbness or tingling
- Shoulder pain
- Sharp shooting pain or a dull ache in your neck
Pain that occurs suddenly in your back or neck from an injury is acute pain. Acute pain comes on quickly and may leave sooner than chronic back or neck pain. This type of pain should not last more than 6 weeks.
Pain that may come on quickly or slowly and lingers for 3 months or more is chronic pain. Chronic pain is less common than acute pain.
Treatment For Middle Back Pain
Treatment for middle back pain varies based on the cause of the pain. Because back pain is fairly common, most people first attempt to treat it at home using simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive treatment methods. If home remedies dont help your symptoms, medical treatments or surgery may be required.
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Could Upper Back Pain Mean Something More Serious
There is always a chance that your upper back pain could be caused by a much bigger problem. Degenerative Disc Disease , a herniated disc, and osteoarthritis are possible underlying problems causing your upper back pain. Shapiro cautions that while pain should never be ignored, normal muscle soreness from exercising is nothing to be concerned about. He warns, however, that you should question intense pain that doesnt go away over time. If you notice symptoms like fever, chills, tingling in your chest or stomach along with your upper back pain you should see your doctor.
Sharp, shooting, radiating, severe, unexplained acute pain or chronic pain lasting more than a few days could be your body’s way of telling you that something more serious is going on, Shapiro says.
Possible Complications And Side Effects
Knowing what treatment can help relieve upper back pain and understand how that treatment might affect your body is essential. Here are some potential side effects to be aware of:
- The same exercises dont work for everyone. Make sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new workout to help relieve upper back pain.
- Injection-based treatments may not always work and may cause swelling, bruising, and pain.
- Having surgery comes with serious risks like blood loss, nerve damage, or infection. Also, surgery doesnt guarantee that the pain in your upper back will go away.
Other medications may have different side effects. Consult your health care provider about possible complications of any medications you might take to relieve upper back pain.
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Gently Stretch Your Joints And Soft Tissues Through Yoga
Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spine.12
When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morningto help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.
The Muscles Of The Upper Back And How They Work:
Trapezius a diamond shape muscle divided into three sections. They are not designed to be heavy lifters but are often used inappropriately when incorrect lifting technique is used
Rhomboids connect the shoulder blades to the spine
Erector spinae these long, superficial muscles run down the length of your spine like train tracks on either side of the vertebral column. The erector spinae are not designed for heavy lifting or stability and are intended to extend the spine only however they can go into spasm during episodes of back pain
Latissimus dorsi the large wing-shaped muscles of the back that are one of the prime movers in shoulder function. These are the muscles that you use in exercises like pull ups and lat pull downs
Rotator cuff this group of four muscles provide stability around the shoulder joint. The ligaments of the shoulders are quite weak and lax compared to other parts of the body. This means they rely on the muscle strength of the rotator cuff for stability
Deltoids the muscles that provide the cap on the top of the shoulder. They are important in lifting actions as they initiate the movement of the arm coming up
Pectorals these muscles sit across the front of the chest, however, have a large impact on the upper back. If the pecs are tight, they pull the shoulder joint forward resulting in hunched shoulders.
Serratus anterior wraps around the side of your rib cage on each side and acts to pull your shoulder blade forward
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What Are Some Upper Back Pain Risk Factors
Say you havent seen the doctor yet about your upper back pain, but youre pretty sure its not an acute injury. After all, you havent taken up a new sport. Maybe you barely have time to exercise, much less overdo it.
Believe it or not, that actually increases your risk of back injury. When youre physically active, the muscles in your belly and backyour corehelp support your spine. If youre sedentary, you might have weak muscles that contribute to upper back pain.
Lack of exercise is one of several factors that can increase your risk of upper back pain. Others include:
Excess weight. Since your spine supports the weight in your torso, excess weight could stress your back. Belly fat, in particular, is a problem: If you carry a lot of weight in your midsection, it can strain the soft tissues in your back. Conversely, weight loss can reduce pain though research suggests it may be even more effective as part of a holistic strategy that includes pain management strategies.
Belly fat can contribute to upper back pain, but weight loss can help relieve it.
Psychological conditions. Experts arent sure why, but you might be more likely to have back pain if you have depression and anxiety. In fact, some research suggests that people who have depression have worse back pain than people without depression.
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 And Shoulder Support Brace By P & J Health:
This discrete and light back brace for pain in the upper back rectifies rounding of shoulders and keeps the spine in correct alignment. The brace is easy to adjust and being a soft and cushioned brace, it is comfortable enough to wear during every day works and mild physical activities. It has a backpack-like design, and it is thus easy to slip on and off. At first, you should begin by wearing the brace for 30 minutes at a time, gradually increasing to 3 hours.
It must be mentioned that this back brace is not suitable for use during moderate to intense activities.
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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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.
How Often Should You Visit A Chiropractor
Chiropractic care may not be completed in only one visit. It is a progression, so you may have to visit the chiropractor once or twice a week at first. When your condition is acute, the visit could be as frequent as every day. As your condition improves, the chiropractor will give you things to do on your own at home, such as using an ice pack, exercises to strengthen the muscles so you will only have to see him once in a while. Depending on your condition, you may have to come back after some time or never again, unless you have a new problem.
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Upper Back Pain And What Can Be Done To Relieve It
Though not nearly as common a complaint as lower back pain, upper back pain, often felt across the shoulder blades, is a source of ongoing distress to many of our patients. As physiatrists, whose medical specialties are nonsurgical pain relief and restoration of function, the doctors at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are well-prepared to diagnose and treat all upper back pain that results from musculoskeletal causes.
Comfymeds Posture Corrector And Support Brace:
The ComfyMed premium back brace is extremely comfortable and can be adjusted according to comfort levels of the individual. It is extremely high on quality giving the individual the best experience. This back brace is durable and can be washed by hand or in a machine as it is made of soft foam. Wearing this brace improves problems with the back significantly without proving to be a hindrance when moving around. It is extremely light weight and thus does not put extra pressure on the body which makes it an excellent wear and allows to stay active while recuperating from a back injury. Such types of back braces provide good pain relief from conditions like sciatica or scoliosis, and also relief from injuries involving muscle tear, disc herniation, or disc degeneration. There is an additional pad, which can be used or removed as and when required which provides good support to the lumbar spine.
Though there are many pros of this back brace, there are also some of the cons, such as, they do not fit smaller people and the Velcro doesnt always hold well.
Don’t Rest An Achy Back
Doctors used to prescribe bed rest for back pain. But now we know that lying still is one of the worst things you can do. It can make back pain worse and lead to other complications. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. It’s important to get up and slowly start moving again. Exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Try swimming, walking, or yoga.
Comfort Posture Correct And Back Brace By Toros
Comfort posture correct and back brace by Toros-Group is designed for upper back pain. It features an ergonomic design to provide comfort and correct the alignment. It is customized with adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps along with a cotton liner to prevent suffocation of the area. The back brace provides semi-rigid support and correction throughout the day and treats upper back pain due to conditions like Kyphosis, kyphoscoliosis and lordosis. This back brace is easy to put on and take off and it is also available in six sizes.
One of the cons of this back brace is that it may put excessive pressure on the stomach of the individual.
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Muscle Strains In The Upper Back
The upper back has several muscles, including those that are connected to the shoulder blades, ribs, and shoulders. These can all be affected by muscle spasms.
However, muscle spasms in the upper back often involve the rhomboid muscles. These connect the inner edges of the shoulder blades to the spine. They are involved in many upper body movements and help support your posture.
If the rhomboid muscles are strained, you may notice tightness or pain when you breathe or move your shoulders. Rhomboid muscle pain is often felt in the middle of the upper back but may extend to one or both sides.
Rhomboid spasms can happen during:
- Activities that involve reaching overhead, such as putting objects on a high shelf or serving a tennis ball
- Carrying a heavy backpack, especially if it is on one shoulder
- Poor posture, such as while sitting at a computer or desk for a long time
Best Back Braces For Upper Back Pain:
A back brace for pain in the upper back helps in providing relief from discomfort, treat chronic back pain as well as prevents further injury. Apart from this, a supportive back brace also targets the root cause of many cases of upper back pain, by improving posture, aligning the spine and shoulders and by supporting weak muscles. Though there are many back braces you can find for upper back pain, you always need to go for the best ones. Below are some of the best back braces for upper back pain.YK Cares Medical Shoulder Corrector:
This is a high-quality back brace for pain in the upper back. It corrects posture and relieves pain caused due to excessive hunching or slouching. Wearing this back brace on a regular basis, will balance the muscles of the shoulders, back and stomach which will reduce the risk of developing conditions that are linked to muscular imbalance. This is the brace that is suitable for both, men and women and it is completely adjustable and will not restrict your range of motion. This brace is made of neoprene and mesh and has Velcro fastenings. It is comfortable to wear, and easy to adjust.
However, finding the right size could be difficult.
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