While upper back pain is not the most common spinal disorder among Americans, it can lead to significant discomfort and irritation in the body. Most often, the causes of an ache between the neck and low back are muscular irritation or joint dysfunction, because it’s a relatively stable, immobile area. What can you do to find upper back pain relief when it strikes?
While pain is the body’s alarm system to indicate something is wrong, it can also lead to impaired healing processes in the body and more pain, according to Dr. Lynn Webster, director of Lifetree Clinical Research and Pain Clinic in Salt Lake City. “Most of us just want to lie there, because if we move after a trauma, it hurts,” Webster says. Unfortunately, becoming inactive will only lead to further weakening in muscles and joints. Another problem with prolonged, acute pain is that “the body begins to set up an inflammatory response in the central nervous system that’s hard to quiet down,” she says. For some people, that means that not seeking pain management treatment can lead to pain for months or years. Working with a medical professional to relieve back pain and reduce inflammation will not only help you tolerate therapeutic treatments, and stay active, but will reduce the processes perpetuating pain and preventing healing.
Perfect Your Posture
The countless hours Americans spend staring down at portable devices like tablets, laptops, and cell phones have led to such increases in reported neck and upper back pain that the medical community has actually coined the new term, “iPosture,” to reference the injury. Check in with your own posture: are you dropping your head to check a phone, laptop or tablet in your lap? If so, you could be putting up to 60lbs. of pressure on the cervical joints and muscles at the base of your neck, according to a study by New York back surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj. “These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries,” he says. To find upper back pain relief, work on better posture, which he defines as “ears aligned with the shoulders, shoulder blades retracted,” which will diminish spinal stress.
Practice Some Poses
Many cases of upper back pain are also caused by poor posture while working at a desk or standing for long periods, resulting in overworked muscles that tighten up while opposing muscles lengthen and become weaker. Consider the hunched position you may be taking over the keyboard at your desk; the upper arms and shoulders sag and “crunch” toward each other, tightening everything across the chest, and the shoulder blades begin to pull away from each other across the upper back, weakening the muscles along the spine. Taking up an easy Yoga practice will relieve back pain through poses that stretch tight, achy muscles, but also those that strengthen your upper back, which supports the weight of your head, shoulders, chest and arms.
Does Upper Back Pain Have You in a Bind?
Health Star Clinic is proud to offer a variety of fast and effective pain management options and an array of therapeutic treatments to take care of your upper back pain at the source. Call us today to learn how we have helped thousands get out of pain and return to their active lives, and how we’ll help you, too.