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 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. Everyone’s body is different and pain can be caused differently for each person. A commonality in everyone’s 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.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- Do I work at a computer all day?
- Do I slouch when I sit in a chair?
- Do I lift heavy items?
- Is something stressing me out?
- Do I lift heavy items with my legs or my back?
- Do I exercise like I should?
- Do I eat healthy?
These questions can help you determine where your upper back pain may be coming from.
Now that you’ve determined what's causing your upper back pain, it’s time for that RELIEF! Upper back pain relief can be as easy as doing it in the kitchen, dining room, or your bedroom! There are several ways to reduce the upper back pain. Here we will lay out 8 tips for upper back pain relief.
UPPER BACK PAIN RELIEF
Yes, it’s true. It is probably the last thing you want to do when you are in pain, but exercise can help regain the support in the thoracic spine. The muscles in the upper back can get weak, tight, and strained. This can cause the thoracic spine to lose the strength and support it needs to keep the body stable.
Strengthening the muscles in your back, shoulders and stomach can help improve your posture, stabilize your body, decrease your chance of injury, and reduce upper back pain. This upper back pain relief is important to your body's overall health!
Something COLD and something HOT
This helps your lower back pain too! Actually, it can help pain in your muscles anywhere. We mentioned this in our 7 Remedies for Lower Back Pain Relief blog post, and it is just as relevant for upper back pain relief.
Applying ice (or that frozen bag of peas that hasn’t been eaten in months) is an effective way to get upper back pain relief.
Cold will reduce swelling and pain in the upper back. It will reduce the blood flow to the area and will ease any inflammation and swelling in the muscles. Upper back pain in the muscles is almost always accompanied by inflammation or swelling. Spine Health says that as cold decreases the blood flow to the area, it will cease the pain reaction between the nerves.
Heat on the other hand should be done after cold therapy. The heat will dilate the blood vessels of the muscles around the upper back. This will increase the blood flow and allow oxygen to flow to the muscles once again. The blood flow will allow more nutrients to enter the area and heal the damaged tissue.
Again, Spine Health says, “Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means that applying heat to the lower back will decrease transmissions of pain signals to the brain and partially relieve the discomfort.”
SIT UP STRAIGHT
Or good posture. If you sit at a desk on a computer all day, every day, then slouching and poor posture have probably become a routine in your life. It’s like a bad habit, once we start having poor posture it’s hard to change and have good posture.
Poor posture puts stress on the muscles in the upper back. This will cause the muscles to tighten up and strain which will lead to myofascial pain. If you want to relieve that pain, sit up straight! Don’t slump at your computer.
Try these 4 Simple Steps For Better Posture At Work and see if it helps.
If your back starts to hurt during the day, take a break and stand up. Walk around and get the blood flowing in your body. Drop your shoulders back when you walk and pull your stomach in to support your back.
USE THE PLEXUS WHEEL
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Plexus Wheel is the BEST at-home back pain reliever. Whether it’s upper back pain or lower back pain, the wheel will help.
The Plexus Wheel will help create thoracic spine mobility. Creating thoracic spine mobility will strengthen the spine for stability. The wheel is designed to realign and fit the natural curves of the spine. This will re-correct what has been mistakenly done by sitting at a desk all day, or hunching over a cell phone etc.
The width of the wheel is 5”. We call it our 5” Rule. This allows the wheel to fit perfectly between the shoulder blades to target the tight muscles along the thoracic spine. It drops your shoulders over the wheel and helps correct poor posture.
The diameter of the standard wheel is 12”. This is the most popular, and most recommended size. The diameter allows you to get a deep stretch in your back, hips, chest, shoulders, abdomen and hips. You will feel the stretch both laterally in your body as well as horizontally.
Didn’t think that one was coming, did ya? Maybe what you eat is contributing to your back pain. Everyday Health says that many foods have been shown to either increase or decrease inflammation in the body. And inflammation can cause upper back pain. Maybe change your diet to help with upper back pain relief!
Everyday Health also addresses what can help stop inflammation. “A mostly plant-based diet that includes such things as flax and chia seeds, is probably your best bet to avoid inflammation.” Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, which can lead to upper back pain.
No, you don’t need to do the splits to get rid of your upper back pain. But you do need to stretch your body to help relieve tension in muscles. Your body entire body is connected and nerves, muscles, organs and tendons work together to help it function properly. If you are feeling pain in one area of your body, that doesn't mean you have to go to that area to solve the issue.
Just like stretching your hamstrings for lower back pain relief, you can stretch your shoulders and arms for upper back pain relief.
The Plexus Wheel will also aid in a deep stretch allowing you to stretch all the muscles you need for the upper back pain relief.
Is there something that is stressing you out? Maybe it’s work, finances, kids, back pain. Whatever it is, it could be causing more pain in your upper back than you wanted. Stress can cause your muscles to tighten, heart rate and blood pressure to rise, and make you become uneasy. This is your nervous system working to keep your body alert. It takes a toll on your body and can cause upper back pain.
Get rid of what is stressing you out! OK, maybe we can’t quit our jobs, or give our kids to someone for the time being, but we can get upper back pain relief by reducing stress.
Relaxing and reducing stress will calm your mind and relax your muscles. When you relax your muscles, the stress hormones in your blood will begin to decrease. By reducing stress, your body will feel more relaxed and less tense. Tension can strain the muscles in the upper back and can cause upper back pain. To reduce stress, begin by eliminating or dosing your exposure to the things that are causing you stress.
You don’t have to be a yogi to do yoga. There have been multiple studies that show yoga can relieve aches and pains. If done properly, the different poses and postures can help stretch and strengthen your muscles, lengthen your spine, and realign your spine. Try it out and see if it works for you!
The Plexus Wheel can also be used in yoga and can deepen your stretch and lengthen your spine. Want ideas for more yoga poses with the wheel? Send us an email at SUPPORT@PLEXUS-CO.COM and we'll send you a yoga wheel pose guide!
TO SUM UP...
So are you going to go try all these tips now to relieve your upper back pain? You better. Using the Plexus Wheel will benefit many parts of your back pain; upper, middle and lower. Use this discount code to save your back. Code: STRETCH for 15% off your order.
Consulting your physician if your upper back pain is severe is the best idea. These tips may not work for everyone, but they have been proven to help people. Try these tips and sit back and feel the upper back pain relief coming in your direction.