A lot of back pain advice focuses on lower back pain, because this is a more common form of pain which can usually be addressed quickly and easily. Lower back pain may be caused by poor posture, pregnancy, or arthritis, and there is a lot of research into ways of preventing and easing it. However upper back pain is not discussed as often, despite also affecting a very large number of people.
Upper back pain is pain which is suffered in the upper back, starting around waist height or above, right up to the neck. This pain could be related to the muscles, nerves, tendons, or bones in the area, and could be caused by any of a large variety of ailments. However most upper back pain, like most lower back pain, is preventable if you know what you are doing.
Like with lower back pain, maintaining good posture and staying active are essential for preventing upper back pain. By keeping good posture you ensure that the weight your spine has to carry is evenly distributed. Pay special attention to how you move and hold your head. Your skull is very heavy, and your upper back has to handle the majority of this weight before sharing it out over your shoulders. Do not move in a way that lets the weight of your head pull on your neck.
Upper back pain can be caused by tension brought on by stress. Usually this sort of pain is accompanied by tension headaches. Your muscles are tensing up all over your shoulders and around your neck due to the hormones your body releases when stressed. A great preventative measure against this is making sure to stretch and even ask for a massage when you have a stressful day. The muscle tension caused by stress does not happen overnight as soon as you get stressed. It builds up slowly over time. So if you make sure to relax those muscles regularly, you could avoid back pain.
Unlike with lower back pain, upper back pain could simply be caused by overwork. Many people who suffer upper back pain have weak shoulders and arms. In this case you can safely argue that if your shoulders and arms are sore as well as your back, even if you have not worked out, your upper body is overworked. The only way around this is to make sure that you exercise your arms, shoulders, neck, back, etc. regularly, to keep your muscles big and strong. That way you know that any daily activity can be done without worrying about pulling a muscle in your back.
Also unlike with lower back pain, someone who suffers exclusively from upper back pain could benefit from more ergonomic furniture. With lower back pain it is better to avoid furniture which fully supports the back, as this discourages us from using and building our own back muscles. But if your pain is all based in your upper back, then you are probably slouching and leaning a lot, and therefore an ergonomic chair could help teach you how to sit in a way that does not put tension through the top of your spine. Another option is choosing to use pressure cushions and support pillows which can take some of your weight off your spine when you are resting. For example neck pillows.
If your body is top or front heavy, your upper back pain could be a simple matter of excess weight. Although being overweight in any part of your body causes it undue stress, overweight in your chest or stomach can cause some serious aches. There are many reasons for carrying excess weight top and front, but whatever the reason, you will probably find that it is pulling on your spine. If you have a full chest, whether or not you are a woman, you will want a supportive bra to take strain off your back. Likewise, pregnancy support bands for the belly can redistribute the weight of your stomach and take pressure off your back. It does not matter what the extra weight is, but it is essential to lift it, especially when exercising, in order to prevent upper back pain.
especially when exercising, in order to prevent upper back pain.