Did you know that the average American adult sits more than we have in any other time in history? This has a large part to do with our jobs. Jobs that require physical activity make up less than 20% of jobs in the U.S. And sitting for so long every day causes a lot of problems for your health, just one of which is upper back pain. Keep reading to find out how to combat upper back pain so you can be one step closer to a happier and healthier you.
Symptoms of Upper Back Pain
Your upper back is considered your thoracic spine, which is the part of the spine from the bottom of the neck to the lower back. In this area of the back, if you feel sharp pain, general discomfort, stiffness, radiating pain, or tingling and numbness, these are all considered upper back pain.
You should see a doctor immediately if your upper back pain causes you any of these symptoms: any problem balancing or walking, incontinence, weakness, numbness, tingling that radiates throughout the body, difficulty breathing, fever or chills, or a severe headache. You should also see a doctor if your upper back pain has lasted longer than a few weeks or stops you from performing simple daily tasks. If you have trouble sleeping because of back pain, taking a trip to the doctor is a good idea, because they can help diagnose and treat the issue so you can feel better.
Causes of Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can be frustrating, especially when it stops you from working or doing more of what you love. Here are a few common causes of upper back pain so you can stop it from the source:
- Poor posture. Sitting for long periods of time with poor posture can cause muscles to weaken and stop supporting your spine. Poor posture causes more pressure on the spine. It takes time to train your muscles to support your spine once more. Both having poor posture and trying to fix it can cause some upper back pain. Focus on practicing correct posture to get rid of your back pain.
- Lifting heavy objects wrong. Lifting or holding heavy objects incorrectly can cause stress on the muscles in your upper back. When lifting, keep your knees bent and maintain the natural curvature of your spine. Don’t twist while lifting.
- Muscle strain. Muscle strain is usually caused by overuse such as spending a day in the garden or exercising too intensely.
- Trauma. After any accident or fall, you should always get checked by a doctor to make sure your injuries aren’t serious. If you are experiencing upper back pain after an incident of trauma, check with your doctor to see what is wrong.
- Disc or spinal issues. Slipped, herniated, or bulging discs can also be the cause of upper back pain. Check with your doctor if your back pain is severe or if you experience numbness or tingling anywhere in your back, legs, or feet. Tingling or numbness can be a symptom of a disc issue from a spinal disc pressing on the spinal cord.
How the Chirp Wheel Helps Upper Back Pain
The Chirp Wheel works wonders for upper back pain. The wheel is 5 inches wide so it fits perfectly between your shoulder blades to massage deep into the muscles surrounding your spine. Rolling on the wheel for upper back pain can help correct poor posture, massage out trigger points (muscle knots), and relieve upper back pain. The Chirp Wheel comes in three sizes so you can pick from a gentle to a deep tissue massage. Using the Chirp Wheel for upper back pain relief has worked for a lot of people.
Pro tip: Use the 6 inch Chirp Wheel+ as a posture corrector while sitting in your chair. Simply place the wheel between the small of your back and the chair. It will help keep your back upright until you can transition fully from poor posture to strong back muscles that can maintain correct posture without pain.
Other simple solutions for upper back pain
Exercise. Exercising regularly can greatly improve your back’s mobility and strength. Ask your doctor what exercises you can do for your back.
Build muscle strength. Doing core-strengthening exercises can greatly reduce your back pain, especially if your poor posture is the culprit of your pain.
Maintain a healthy weight. Gaining weight puts extra strain on your back. If possible, losing a little weight can help reduce back pain.
Quit smoking. Smoking can cause additional back pain because nicotine can alter the size of your blood vessels and reduce blood flow.
Franciscan Health. (2020, February 17). 3 ways smoking is hurting your back. Retrieved from https://www.franciscanhealth.org/community/blog/3-ways-smoking-is-hurting-your-back#:~:text=Smoking%20Hurts%20Your%20Blood%20Flow&text=%22Because%20nicotine%20can%20alter%20the,Navarasala%20said.
Roberts, N. F. (2019, March 6). Americans sit more than anytime in history and it’s literally killing us. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2019/03/06/americans-sit-more-than-anytime-in-history-and-its-literally-killing-us/?sh=58643ab3779d
Sellers, J. T. (2017, November 9). Causes of upper back pain. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/upper-back-pain/causes-upper-back-pain
University of Michigan Health. (2021). Upper and middle back pain. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5320