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.
Trigger Point Release In Between Shoulder Blades
How it helps:
The first thing you need to do is relieve the trigger points that may have formed in and around your shoulder blades. By using a massage ball you can find a tender spot and apply pressure in the exact spot that you feel pain.
How to do it:
- Begin lying on your back
- Place a massage ball in between the shoulder blades
- Once you find a tender spot, just hold the ball in that place and apply more pressure with your body weight.
- Hold the pressure on that spot for at least 30 seconds
- Find the next spot and repeat the same process
What Are The Potential Complications Of Upper Back Pain
The complications associated with any kind of back pain depend on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Most cases of upper back pain are not due to serious diseases and do not lead to long-term complications. , basic self-care measures, and following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor can help treat many causes of back pain and relieve pain. However, upper back pain may become chronic and overwhelming. If you are struggling, ask your doctor about advances in back pain treatment.
Over time, upper back pain can lead to complications including:
Absenteeism from work or school
Permanent nerve damage including paralysis
Physiological and psychological response to
- Poor quality of life
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What Causes Upper Back Spasms
The major muscles of the upper back support the spinal cord and help maintain good posture. Spasms, or involuntary contractions of muscles, can cause pain and interrupt daily activities .
Common causes of back muscle spasms include:
- Overuse of the muscle through prolonged stress incurred by repetition of an athletic move or exercise. This is especially common in running or lifting .
- Acute injury from trauma due to a car accident, fall, or a similar situation that impacts the back or spine.
- Poor posture over a sustained period of time. This is a common culprit for back spasms in patients who sit at a desk for hours on end while working, or those who lean forward while looking at a screen . Poor posture places excessive pressure on the back muscles and can also weaken muscles in the legs and hips.
- Herniated spinal disc,when a spinal disc dislocates or ruptures. A herniated disc compresses local nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the surrounding area. A herniated disc can also cause upper back muscles to tighten.
Spinal cord conditions like scoliosis and neurological diseases like polio and ALS can also cause upper back spasms .
Upper back muscle spasms are usually caused by a traumatic injury, overuse, or poor posture. Patients with herniated discs or conditions like ALS, polio, and MS may also experience back muscle spasms and other related symptoms.
Neck Side Bend And Rotation
Stand or sit facing forward, and begin by tilting your neck to the right. You should feel the stretch through your neck to your trap muscle.
After about 10 seconds, slowly roll your head in a counterclockwise direction. Pause for 10 seconds when you reach your left shoulder.
Complete the rotation by ending where you started. Repeat these steps rolling in a clockwise direction.
Repeat this sequence 2-3 times.
Good for: neck and upper back
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How Do Doctors Diagnose The Cause Of Upper Back Pain
To diagnose the cause of your upper back pain, your doctor will ask you several questions about your pain including:
When did your upper back pain start?
Can you describe your pain? Is it sharp, dull, achy or burning?
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever, how would you rate your pain?
Is your upper back pain on the left side, right side, or both sides?
Is your upper back constant or does it come and go?
What, if anything, makes your upper back pain better or worse?
Are you experiencing any other symptoms, such as or numbness?
Does your upper back pain wake you at night or limit your activities during the day?
Have you ever injured your back?
What do you do for work?
Do you exercise?
Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, feeling your back for areas of tenderness or abnormalities. You may need to move your arms, reach in different directions, bend and change positions. Your doctor will want to know if movement affects your pain or if pain limits your movements. Your doctor may also test your muscle strength and reflexes.
In some cases, testing may be necessary including:
Blood tests to check your blood cell counts and electrolytes
Bone scans if or a bone tumor is a possibility
Imaging exams, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
Nerve studies to evaluate how well your nerves and muscles are working
Support Your Body In A Warm Pool
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14
If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
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- Muscle Pain
Upper back pain due to muscle pain is unavoidable when over-exercising, heavy exercise, or wrong posture when exercising. In addition, pain in the upper back of the lung accompanied by pain in the chest may be an injury to the intercostals muscles.
- Diseases Of The Spine
The spinal disorders such as herniated discs, spinal deformities, spinal spines or sciatica can cause back pain. Characteristics of the upper back pain caused by spinal disease are the discomfort it causes the patient. In this case, you need to check your condition as soon as possible to determine the cause as well as the most appropriate treatment.
- Lung Disease
The lungs are in the chest, so lung diseases can also cause upper back pain. Pain in the lower back of the shoulder with the symptoms of chest pain will cause a very uncomfortable feeling. Patients will find it difficult to breathe and exercise. They may even suffer severe coughing and sneezing.
- Spine Diseases
Degeneration, hernia and thoracic spine are also symptoms of back pain in the back of the lungs. Patients will often have very painful discomfort, they even cannot breathe or move their shoulders and arms.
Flu and viral or bacterial infections can cause the person to have pain, so they may experience pain in the upper and lower back.
What Are Common Symptoms Of Upper Back Pain?
Simple Exercises Can Help
Here are a few exercises you can do several times during the day to prevent slouching and help you correct your posture and prevent back pain while working on all those electronics!
Plus remember to get up and walk around every 2 hours.
Guide for all stretching exercises
Neck Stretch: To stretch your neck, slowly flex your head backward for 30 seconds, then forward for 30 seconds, laterally to right or to the side for 30 seconds and the other left side laterally for 30 seconds and look right for 30 seconds and left for 30 seconds. This can be done almost any time to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neckthis could cause damage to the joints of the neck.
Arm Slides: Stand straight with your back against a wall. Let your arms hang at your sides, and then place them against the wall, palms facing out , so that your lower arm is touching the wall. Raise your arms slowly up and down the wall, stretching the upper back and arm muscles. Go as high as you can while maintaining elbow-to-hand contact with the wall. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Chair Shoulder Squeeze: Engage abs by pulling belly button in toward your spine, relax shoulders,and head up. imagine you are squeezing a ball between your shoulder blades and pull your shoulder blades back and down for a count of 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times several times throughout day.
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How To Relieve Upper Back Pain
The vertebral column is made of vertebrae which are separated from each other by the discs between them. The spinal column is divided into five parts as the cervical region, the middle thoracic region, the lumbar region, the sacrum and coccyx. The cervical region is made of 7 vertebrae, the thoracic is made of 12 vertebrae, lumbar region is made of 5 vertebrae, sacrum of 5 vertebrae and coccyx of 1 vertebrae. The upper back consists of the neck and the upper thoracic vertebrae and the muscles and ligaments surrounding it. Pain in the upper back region is very common and experienced by almost all age groups of people.
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
- Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms
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
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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.
Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
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Tips For Upper Back Pain Relief
The 3 P.M. slumps can cause more than just a headache. Hence the slump we get tired, move slower, sit with poor posture etc. That’s not all. Associated with slumping and poor posture are aches and pains, like upper back pain and lower back pain.
Upper back pain is less common than lower back pain, but can be just as painful. The discomfort level can vary, but upper back pain can keep you from doing the activities you love. Forget about sleeping! We all love our sleep and back pain can put you in a miserable state while trying to sleep. With multiple different upper back pain causes, the 3 P.M. slumps can also be a factor for the upper back pain.
Knowing your body can help you determine the cause of pain and how to relieve the pain. Everyones body is different and pain can be caused differently for each person. A commonality in everyones body is that we all have a spine.
The upper back region, like we mentioned in our previous post, is designed for stability. Walking tall, sitting up straight and protecting our inner organs all comes from our upper back, or thoracic spine. With little to no movement in this area of the spine, herniated or degenerative discs are uncommon. However, poor posture, physical stress, muscle strain, and sitting for long periods of time are common causes of upper back pain.
Before you begin to relieve your upper back pain, evaluate yourself. Think about your daily routines and activities. This will help determine the cause of your upper back pain.
Potential Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxants
Prescription muscle relaxants like carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine are known for causing side effects like fatigue, nausea, and drowsiness. Additionally, some classes of muscle relaxants have a high potential for abuse. Muscle relaxants are not a long-term solution for back spasms and are typically only prescribed for a few weeks at a time.
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What To Do With Pain
When you feel that you have injured your back, ease the pressure on your back. In fact, many people have little choicetheir back pain will force them to fall down to their knees or “freeze” in a bent-down position.
Cold and Heat
Remember this rule:’ Ice for the first 48 hours, then heat compress.’ Heat and ice will reduce the pain of muscle and ligament. Remember this rule. Ice reduces swelling and inflammation, acting as a local anesthetic, but it loses its effect after 48 hours. Temperature consequently increases blood flow to the profound tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.
The body’s defensive mechanism against discomfort or injury is inflammation marked by redness, heat, swelling, and pain. To help relieve and alleviate pain, it is often recommended to use over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin or ketoprofen.
A gentle massage can be a relief if you have a supportive partner by relaxing the tight muscles and ligaments.
Walking with a healthy posture might also help. A good way to visualize a healthy posture is by imagining a suspension line that connects your middle chest to the ceiling.
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.
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Sleeping And Lying Down
- Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary.
- If you’ve always slept on a soft surface, it may be more painful to change to a hard surface. Try to do what is most comfortable for you.
- Use a back support at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may be helpful.
- Use a firm pillow that supports the curve of your neck.
- Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest.
- When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.