When we think of pain, it is usually associated with an injury or trauma.
But a lot of upper back and neck pain seems to come out of the blue, leaving you uncomfortable and asking how to get rid of upper back pain.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans report suffering from back pain and another study reveals that nearly 60% of Americans wouldn’t tell a medical professional if they were suffering from chronic pain.
This pain can be caused by a number of factors — such as working at a computer or simply sitting at a desk too long — and can interrupt your life.
If this is you and you’re left asking how to get rid of upper back pain, don’t worry — we’ve got your back!
Here are ten things to try when you need to know how to get rid of upper back pain.
Take a break
Oftentimes, neck pain is the result of staying in one position too long, such as when working at a computer or looking down at a phone or tablet.
Simply taking a short walk can relieve some of the pressure on your neck and help to prevent future pain.
If you spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet, try to keep the device at eye level as much as possible to reduce how much you have to angle your neck down.
Having a general exercise routine is key to upper back and neck health as it increases the blood flow that allows the discs in your back to stay healthy.
There are also specific exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your upper back.
Arm reach: Get on your hands and knees while keeping your neck and back parallel to the floor. Lift one arm at a time and hold for five seconds — do not raise your head. Repeat ten times per arm.
Arm slides: Stand with your back, elbows, and wrists against a wall. While keeping your arms and wrists against the wall, raise your hands as high as you can and then return to the original position. Repeat ten times.
Much of your pain is likely coming from tight muscles, so possibly the most obvious “how to get rid of upper back pain” is to stretch.
Shoulder roll: Roll your shoulders forward, gradually making smaller circles. Repeat ten times and then reverse the direction ten more times.
Butterfly: Place your left palm down on your left shoulder, right palm on your right shoulder. Being your elbows together until you feel a stretch in your upper back and hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times.
Yoga is the best of both worlds: you exercise weak muscles and stretch them all in one routine.
Taking a yoga class might be a good idea so the instructor can help you get into the correct poses. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg in hopes of fixing your back and neck.
There are lots of yoga routines available on YouTube that you can watch and follow along.
While yoga is great to relieve tension from time to time, it– like any exercise — is most effective when practiced regularly.
Change how you sleep
Believe it or not there are ways to address upper back pain that aren’t going to leave you sweaty.
One thing to look at when you start having neck and upper back pain is how you sleep at night.
When you sleep on your stomach, you overextend the muscles in the neck, which can lead them to tighten and cause pain throughout the day.
Making a conscious effort to sleep on your back or side, which can help alleviate some of your pain.
Change what you sleep on
Who knew you could make so much progress toward relieving your back pain by simply just going to bed?
Make sure you have the right pillow.
You should be sleeping on a feather pillow or a memory foam pillow at night. These will adapt to the shape of your head and change shapes throughout the night as you move.
Firm pillows elevate your neck too high and that type of angle for a prolonged period is a common cause of neck pain.
Use a foam roller
You can find a foam roller at any sporting goods store (or at Elite Spine and Health Center). Look for a stiffer foam roller to really massage the muscles in your upper back and neck.
Start by laying on the ground with the foam roller under your shoulder blades and slowly move up and down across the roller.
Spend more time on the areas that feel tightest; you should feel immediate relief after using the foam roller in these areas.
If home remedies aren’t working, you may need to seek professional care.
A professional massage therapist will be able to target specific areas that are tight or causing pain.
While a massage is not a cure-all, it can certainly offer some temporary relief while you work to strengthen your back and neck muscles or seek alternative treatment plans.
Many people who suffer from upper back and neck pain seek chiropractic care.
A chiropractor will be able to help you determine the cause of the pain, which will allow you to adjust your routine to avoid those stressors.
In addition, a chiropractor can offer treatments such as adjustments that will realign the spine and reduce the tension in your upper back and neck.
At Elite Spine and Health Center, we offer a variety of services that can fix these conditions.
Stop stressing — the unexpected key to how to get rid of upper back pain
Stress causes tension in your neck and shoulders and can be a huge factor in your neck pain.
Learning to manage daily stresses and anxieties can do a lot for your overall health. Practice your deep breathing or take up yoga — bonus! You get your exercise and relaxation in all at once. Two birds, one stone.
Knowing how to get rid of back pain isn’t always as straightforward as we might like to think — think twice before applying heat to try to loosen those muscles, for example, because you might actually cause more inflammation!
But if you follow these ten tips on how to get rid of back pain, you’ll be on your way to tip top shape in no time.