What Information Should I Share With My Doctor
- What symptoms you have, including the part of your body that are affected.
- How severe the pain is, and whether you have upper back pain at night only.
- If your symptoms get worse while lying down, is it right away or only after lying down for a long time or after sleeping.
- Does anything make the pain go away, such as changing position while lying down, propping up your back with pillows, etc.
Causes Of Upper Back Pain And Pain Between Shoulder Blades
Technically, the upper back is classified as the thoracic spine, which unlike the cervical spine and lumbar spine , does not allow for any movement. Because of this, discs and vertebrae in that region are not generally susceptible to the normal wear and tear that affects other areas of the spine. This means that upper back pain is usually caused by something other than a degenerative spine condition.
The stiffness, muscle spasms, headaches, and other general pain symptoms that come with upper back pain can be caused by a variety of factors. Injuries to other parts of your body, such as rotator cuff tears, spine fractures, or other injuries that cause trauma, can also lead to pain between your shoulder blades. A common injury is a stretching or tearing of the upper back muscles or a Trapezius Strain. This large group of muscles span the upper back, shoulders and neck. This muscle group are commonly called the trap muscles.
Some of the most common causes of upper back pain can include:
- Poor posture or looking downward for long periods of time
- Recent or semi-recent accident trauma
- Improper lifting
- Sports or overuse injuries
- Neck or shoulder strain
There are many spine conditions that can limit your mobility and cause chronic pain, and eventually may require surgery. Some of those more serious causes of upper back or shoulder blade pain may include:
- Carrying bags that are too heavy
- Weak abdominal muscles
Muscle Strain of the Upper Back
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.
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When Will The Pain Go Away
If youre experiencing mild discomfort or an acute injury, the duration of the pain will largely depend on the cause of the problem and the type of injury.
Generally, you may notice improvements within a few weeks or months as your muscles become stronger and your injury heals .
However, every person will have a different recovery process. In some cases, seeking the advice of a personal trainer who can provide a specific exercise regimen might be beneficial.
If youre experiencing severe neck or back pain, you should consult a healthcare professional and avoid starting any new activity.
Each person will have a unique recovery process. If you need a specific treatment plan or are experiencing severe pain, consult a physical therapist or another healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
How Do You Get Rid Of Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy
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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.
What Causes Upper Back Pain In Females
Upper back pain in women is usually due to: Poor posture, like slouching or pushing the head forward while sitting or standing, causing misalignment of the spine. Muscle overuse or strain, usually due to repetitive motions or lifting items or children incorrectly. Injury to discs, muscles and/or ligaments.
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Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms of a pulled back muscle depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three major sections: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back.
For a pulled muscle in the neck, you might experience:3
- Pain in the neck and upper back area
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Stiffness in the neck
Pulled muscles in the shoulders and upper back may cause:
- Pain in the area between the spine and shoulder blade
- Muscle spasms in the upper back
- Knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders
- Pain when moving the shoulders
In lower back strain injuries, many people experience symptoms such as:3
- Aching and stiffness in lower back muscles
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Pain that radiates to the hips and legs
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle spasms in lower back area
- Pain when sitting, standing, or walking
Hot And Cold Compress
Combined with sleeping on the right pillow and mattress, applying hot and cold packs to your upper back neck pain will do wonders for your pain management. Because of the numbing effect, ice packs are particularly recommended for treating conditions such as shoulder joint inflammation, hip pain, neck strain, and muscle spasms. Hot packs are great for loosening pain and stiffness on the shoulder necks and your muscles on the neck, knees, hips, and legs.
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Head And Neck Alignment
With one hand behind your head and one hand resting on your chest, or below your ribs this move ensures your posture is aligned with your hips and encourages you to relax your shoulders and chest, maximising balance between the back and front of the body. Your hands will make you more aware of where your body is in space.
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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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Exercises For Upper And Middle Back Pain
Pain in the upper and/or middle back can be quite limiting and interfere with daily activities. To help alleviate this pain, consider stretching and strengthening the muscles that support your thoracic spine . Here are 5 common exercises to try.
Meet With The Best Upper Back Pain Physical Therapists In Middle River Maryland
Middle River, Maryland, Luna employs physical therapists that specialize in treating patients with upper back pain. With a focus on helping the patient to safely, quickly, and comfortably return to the activities they love, our PTs formulate treatment plans that not only reduce pain and restore mobility but treat the underlying condition as well.
With at-home physical therapy from Luna, patients can receive physical therapy for upper back pain in the most convenient location imaginable. Our physical therapists will come to you its physical therapy, delivered.
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Muscle Sprain Or Strain
Sprains are the tearing or stretching of ligaments. Strains are the tearing or stretching of muscles and tendons. Regularly lifting heavy objects, especially without proper form, can easily cause a person to sprain or strain their back. Sprains and strains can also occur after an awkward, sudden movement.
Carrying A Heavy Purse Or Bag
One of the big mistakes we make when carrying a bag all day long is keeping it slung over one shoulder. This uneven distribution of weight leads to poor posture, spinal misalignments, and back pain. Try to use a bag that allows for even weight distribution or avoid packing the bag with too much weight if you have to carry it on one side.
This is important for kids too. Backpacks can get really heavy. Get children backpacks that evenly distribute the weight and encourage them to wear the bag properly rather than hefting it over one shoulder.
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What Is The Upper Back
If you want to understand your upper back pain, start with an anatomy lesson.
Pain in the upper and/or mid back is less common than lower back or neck pain. One 2015 Mayo Clinic review of studies suggests that about a third of people get lower back or neck pain , compared to less than one-fifth reporting upper back pain.
The upper back is the region below the cervical spine and above the low back . The upper back is called the thoracic spine, and it is the most stable part of the spine. The range of motion in the upper back is limited because of the spines attachments to the ribs .
Think of your spine as a tree trunk. It keeps you standing upright. It connects parts of your skeleton to each other. It carries the weight of your upper body.
Since thats a massive job, the spine itself shares some of the physical load with nearby muscles, some of which include:
Trapezius: Near your shoulder blade, helps you stand straight and throw
Latissimus dorsi: Lower on your back, helps with arm movement and breathing
Rhomboids: Adjacent to trapezius, supports your shoulders and helps you pull
When you hurt your upper or mid back doing yard work or playing tennis, chances are high youve injured one of these muscles. The most common reason we see people with upper back pain is a simple musculoskeletal strain, says Reginald Knight, MD, Director of Bassett Spine Care Institute in Cooperstown, NY.
Simple Exercises For Upper And Middle Back Pain
Back pain can really put a damper on your day-to-day routine. Find out some common causes for upper and middle back pain and simple exercises that can help!
There are many causes of upper and middle back pain, and most of them are related to overuse or strain. Poor posture, overdoing it in the yard or lifting something too heavy for you can all put strain on your upper and middle back, causing injury and pain. For mild to moderate pain, these exercises can help give you some relief.
As always, talk to a doctor if your pain is severe or doesnt seem to be going away. If you have a serious injury, you may need to rest and recover before working on stretching and strengthening, and a physical therapist can be a big help. There are also rare cases where upper and middle back pain can signal something more serious, like gallbladder disease or even cancer, so definitely talk to a doctor if youre in pain for more than a couple of weeks.
Even with muscle strain, back pain can impact different people differently. Dont think of this list of exercises as a hard-and-fast routine. Instead, try these out, and cherry-pick the ones that work best for you. And if something hurts, back off or stop the exercise. You dont want to make your pain worse!
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Causes Of Upper And Middle Back Pain
Here are the factors that contribute to upper and middle back pain, including:
- Overuse of or injury to muscles, discs, and ligaments that support your spine
- Pressure on the spinal nerves resulting from a herniated disc
- Myofascial pain or muscular irritation of your connective tissue that protects a group of muscles
- A vertebrae fracture
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How To Treat Middle Back Pain
If you have a problem with vertebrae in your spine you might need to rest for a short time , and then gradually become more active.
It may help to apply heat to the area. Voltarol non-medicated Heat Patch is designed to target back and muscle pain, providing up to 8 hours of localised pain-relieving heat. The thin, self-adhesive, odourless patch provides effective pain relief and muscle relaxation in a non-medicated, tablet-free format.
Pain-relieving medicines can help you get up and moving. To decide which medicine is best for you, it may help to learn a bit about pain, and what happens in your body in the article: Understanding the difference between acute and chronic pain.
Voltarol Back & Muscle Pain Relief 1.16% Gel is a topical medicine that relieves pain, reduces inflammation and helps speed up recovery with its triple effect action.¹ ¹¹ It brings targeted, local relief for pain and swelling .¹² ¹³ The active ingredient in Voltarol Back & Muscle Pain Relief 1.16% Gel is a NSAID called diclofenac. Diclofenac works to inhibit prostaglandins synthesis .¹ By reducing their amounts, diclofenac helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.¹
Ask a pharmacist or your GP if you would like advice about what would be the best treatment for you.
Once you feel more comfortable, its a good idea to see a physiotherapist to do an exercise programme to strengthen the muscles in your back and improve your posture. ¹
You Dont Have To Live With Upper Back Pain After Sleeping
New York Pain Care understands your pain better than the others and we are dedicated to doing everything we can so that patients can live as comfortably and as pain-free as possible. With the help of our highly experienced team of doctors and state-of-the-art treatments, we provide one-on-one care for each of our clients and develop custom treatment plans that will address their pain issues. Call us to schedule your appointment and lets start working on getting you a pain-free life.
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Manual And Physical Therapy
Manual therapy includes spinal manipulation or massage to improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension and back pain.
Physical therapy includes exercises and massages to relieve upper and middle back pain. Your physiotherapist may recommend certain exercises and stretches that you can do at home.