Upper Back pain
Upper back pain is the due to the stresses and strains of modern-day life. Day in and day out we get up drive/travel to work/ sit down or are bent over some table at work for several hours. When work is finished, we sit to drive home or to the gym and sit to eat and sit to relax or play with the kids.
All this sitting has come to be known as the silent killer in modern day medicine. Our bodies are designed to move and long periods of inactivity result in poor postures and eventually pain
Causes of Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can be due to several factors
- Poor upper thoracic mobility
- Poor Shoulder mobility
- Weak Upper back muscles (Upper Middle and Lower Trapezius)
- Weak Neck muscles
- Stiff Thoracic & Cervical spine
Who is most susceptible to Upper Back Pain
People who are most susceptible to upper back pain have the follow lifestyle traits
- Long hours sitting/driving
- High stressful job
- Little Exercise/ Stretching
- Over exercises one muscle group in the gym
- Reduced sleep
Let’s look at the upper back in detail
Your upper back has connections with your Lower Back, Shoulder and Neck via a network of muscles. The main muscles, which connect all these together, are your Trapezius muscles and your Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) muscles. These are very strong and powerful muscles but unfortunately, they become lengthened and inactive due to long hours spent sitting.
Why is this
This is because of the posture we sit in. A slouched posture causes your upper back to round and slouch. This pulls the muscles in a lengthened state and over time they become weak or switch off as they are not used enough. These causes other muscles to work harder to support your spine, hence tight upper trap muscles. This is a call a compensation. If the compensation continues for long period, then those compensatory muscles become over tired and your neck begins to stiffen up as it is no long getting support from your lats and or traps.
So how to I get rid of upper back pain
If you are still reading this then you may have sought treatment for this by way of massage before. You go through the torture and horror of the pain of the deep tissue massage to gain the relief from the pain. Unfortunately, this relief lasts a few days or maybe a week?
Why does the benefit of massage only last for a short time?
This is because you have not strengthened the Lat and Trap muscles which have become weakened by prolonged sitting postures.
How Physiotherapy can Help upper back pain
Physiotherapy relieves your pain using a variety of physiotherapy techniques, but the most important element of the rehab is not just the manual therapy work such as
- Deep tissues massage
- Dry Needling
But the strengthening work being introduced into your rehab program at the correct time.
The reason your pain always returns is because you have not addressed the underlying cause of the issue- Weak upper back muscles.
The key is knowing when to introduce these exercises and this comes with experience
Our therapists have years of experience treating this type of complaint. We regularly conduct treatment session both at work and in the clinic and our customers are amazed at the results.
The main type of people we see are people who have had recurring pain for several months or years and this is down to one missing flaw in their rehab protocol- Strengthening.
You may have used elastic bands in the past but that level of resistance we now know is not enough to create an adaptation in the muscle large enough to reduce your pain and keep it away.
Please feel free to contact us and ask any questions you may have regarding the treatments we treat.