Upper back and neck pain

What is classified as upper back and neck?

We define the upper back to be the region between the middle of the back to the bottom of the back of the skull.

The different types of upper back and neck pain

The upper back is a large area and pain can be experienced anywhere within. Some of the most common regions of pain are the following:

  1.      In between the spine and shoulder blade,
  2.      Above the scapula and neck,
  3.      Below the scapula,
  4.      In the spine,
  5.      On the medial border of the scapula.

The signs and symptoms of upper back and neck pain

Pain in different regions may present different signs and symptoms. However, many overlap and include the following:

  1.      Burning pain in muscle,
  2.      You feel like you need to click or crack your back by twisting your shoulder or neck,
  3.      You feel like there is a muscle knot on the underside of the scapula,
  4.      It feels like you need to push parts of your upper back into a corner of some sort for relief,
  5.      It can be sore to reach your chest with your chin,
  6.      Stretching your trapezius muscles could cause discomfort and pain.

The common risk factors of upper back and neck pain

There are many ideas and theories of what causes upper back pain. These are based on research of the functional anatomy of the upper back. Many suggest that the following are the leading risk factors of upper back pain:

  1.      Carrying a backpack (especially if not worn properly),
  2.      Hunching over at a desk for long periods of time,
  3.      Poor posture,
  4.      Ergonomics of work,
  5.      Overuse of the muscles of the upper back,
  6.      Stress or status of the mind,
  7.      Trauma.

The mechanisms leading to pain

The above-mentioned risk factors do not directly cause pain in the upper back. They induce a mechanism that leads to pain. Some of these mechanisms are as follows:

  1.      Rib dysfunction,
  2.      Muscle knots especially in the different regions of the trapezius muscle,
  3.      Thoracic dysfunction,
  4.      Nerve impingement (especially in the neck),
  5.      Shingles,
  6.      Visceral Pain,
  7.      Trapped Wind,
  8.      Herniated Disc,
  9.      Osteoarthritis,
  10.      Scoliosis.

Treatments for upper back and neck pain

The treatments will vary depending on the identified risk factor/s present and the mechanism leading to pain. Most treatment methods will include:

  • massage or trigger point therapy,
  • physiotherapy and stretching,
  • thoracic spine manipulation,
  • pain killers,
  • conscious changes to posture,
  • stress relief.

Very rarely, do some undergo surgery. Surgery is typically used as an absolute last resort due to the difficulty of operating on the thoracic spine.

The MUJO upper back and neck pain treatment

We have designed our treatment plan to be the best and most efficient. It is individualised to each patient. An assessment is performed to identify any weaknesses and imbalances in the upper quadrant that could lead to ongoing upper back pain. Exercises on our specialised devices are prescribed to target the upper back and upper quadrant muscles that are otherwise difficult to train. Some of the exercises are designed to remove the need for trigger point therapy and thoracic spine manipulation.

Find out more about the MUJO tailored treatment plan


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