A lot of pain that occurs in the upper back and neck is due to muscles becoming too tight. The tight muscles do not allow as much blood into them as is needed and therefore they do not get the energy and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Therefore tight muscles weaken and then tighten up further, so a viscous circle has begun. There are many things that can cause tight muscles, including:

  • Overuse: overuse creates small micro tears in the muscles. The muscles then tighten up to protect themselves, which may result in muscle spasms and contractures and pain.
  • Poor stretching routines, particularly after training. If muscles are not stretched to their natural length regularly they may adaptively shorten.
  • Scoliosis: If you have a sideways curve in the spine then some muscles will be put under more strain than they can cope with.
  • Bad posture: The head is a very heavy object and if you position it just a few centimeters the wrong way this can considerably increase the work the muscles of the back and neck have to do.

Another possible cause of upper back pain is Scheuermann's Disease, a hereditary disease that mainly affects growing boys. It is the most common postural abnormality of the spine in the younger athlete. Children complain of acute pain in the upper back and in later years the upper spine (thoracic) may become more rounded (this is called kyphosis).

Physiotherapy treatment for common upper back problems may include joint mobilization and soft tissue therapy including sports massage, trigger pointing and stretching techniques. Ultrasound and heat therapy may also be used to assist in relaxing the muscles. Taping may also be used to help correct posture. Our physiotherapists will also give you postural advice and will educate you on preventative strategies. Strengthening exercises for the back will also play an important part in your rehabilitation program.

See also - Jaw Pain, Shoulder, Elbow & Forearm, Wrist & Hand, Pelvic Pain, Hip & Groin, Thigh, Knee, Shin, Foot, Head & Neck, Upper Back/Thoracic Spine, Lower Back, Buttocks, Calf & Achillies Tendon, Ankle


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