Anatomy of Pain: the Upper Back Edition

The thoracic spine, which corresponds to what we consider the upper back, is a region of relative stability and little motion. Compressive forces are few and far between as compared to the lower back and, as such, the more common spinal disorders tend to not affect the upper back. That being said, anyone who works in front of a computer for a living can tell you that the upper back can be a problematic region: pain, stiffness and muscle spasm are part and parcel with a computer-heavy lifestyle that often involves questionable posture. As we move forward into the computer age, chiropractors are seeing more people who complain of muscular irritation and joint dysfunction in the upper back than ever before. 

There are very large muscles in the thoracic region that connect the scapulae to the shoulder girdle and allow our shoulders a range of motion beyond what the scapulae could provide by themselves. These muscles are often exposed to strain by too little conditioning and too much repetitive trauma (also known as overuse injury, for example: spending every day typing with your shoulders scrunched up). Very often, upper back pain develops in tandem with neck and shoulder pain. This myofascial pain is often irritating, but the good news is that it generally responds very well to conservative care methods. 

At Haynes Chiropractic, we would like to help people with manual treatments that seek and correct the root of the problem. Myofascial release and trigger point therapy are great at getting into the large muscles of the upper back and releasing them from tension and opening them up to an influx of healing nutrients. Our plan for addressing the pain will also include a mix of stretching and strengthening that will help prevent injuries in the future and help make sitting with good posture easier. 

Dr. Jeff Haynes, D.C. 

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