A painful upper back can interfere with your daily activities, mood and productivity, as well as your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Upper back pain can be caused by a number of problems. Irritation or stress of joints, muscles or connective tissues can cause pain in the shoulders, head, arms, and/or the spine. Upper back pain can range from minor and ignorable to severe and the worst pain or discomfort someone has experienced.
Strengthen and Stretch
For every inch your head and neck protrudes in front of your upper back (while in bad posture) the load on your muscles and joints is increased. We can deload those by adopting good posture and moving more, but it is also important to strengthen the region that are getting loaded.
Strengthening and stretching can help relieve the pain and stiffness, and prevent it in the future. It’s important to strengthen and stretch gently and slowly. Strengthening can be done using a resistance band, gravity or weights. It is always advisable to see a health professional, such as a chiropractor, to run you through what exercises would benefit you the most.
Some examples include:
- Roll your shoulders backward and then forward in a circle.
- Press your shoulder blades together and holding before rounding the shoulders and holding , then repeat.
- Pulling a resistance band in a rowing motion.
- These can be progressed in load using weights or a resistance band.
Create An Ergonomic Workplace
Many people work at a computer desk for eight hours each day or spend a similar amount of time seated or stationary. This can contribute to a sore neck, as certain muscles and joints get overloaded/overused. Here are some ways to help prevent this:
- Adjust your chair into a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees a bit lower than your hips
- Use ergonomic posture while sitting, with your back straight and your arms level to the desk.
- Rest your head in the back of the chair if possible.
- Adjust your computer so that it’s at eye level
- Stand up to stretch and move every 15, 30 or 60 minutes
Exercise has been shown to reduce chronic pain. It can help strengthen your muscles and can help you to improve your posture to relieve and prevent neck pain. It’s also a great way to relieve stress that may be contributing to your neck pain.