- Back pain can be a result of poor posture
- Take frequent breaks to relieve stress from muscles
- Do not leave upper back pain untreated for longer
Upper back pain is one of the common orthopaedic problems of the urban population. With work from home the prevalence has increased even more after the lockdown. Upper back pain is primarily caused by poor posture. With a normal posture one should have the ear, shoulder, and hip in a straight line. However, in most of the cases you assume a forward head posture. This means the neck and the upper back needs to put in extra effort to hold the head in position. Over a period, this produces upper back pain, which then progresses to neck pain and when severe, headache. The risk of upper back pain increases with certain nutritional deficiencies, stress, and sedentary lifestyle. In this article, Dr. Subhanjan Das who is a Physiotherapist at Apollo Clinics shares some tips to get relief from upper back pain.
Tips to fight upper back pain
1. Postural corrections
While it is easy to understand the concept of keeping the head, shoulder and hips in a straight line, most people find it difficult to maintain a good posture. It takes about three weeks of conscious effort to get an automatic control of good posture. The correct posture makes one as tall as possible with the shoulders drawn back and the chin tucked.
It is vital to maintain correct ergonomics while at work. Whether one is working from home or from office, correct ergonomics ensures minimum discomfort and maximum efficiency at work. Apart from prevention of upper back pain it also reduces chances of lower back pain. Correct ergonomics need not to be expensive.
3. Frequent breaks
Because the upper back pain comes primarily from overuse, it is important to take frequent breaks. Patients of upper back pain often report sitting on the computer for 8-10 hours every day. Ideally after every 45 minutes to one hour one should take a small break of 30 seconds to one minute. Many get so engrossed in work that they forget to take these micro breaks. One of the strategies to deal with this is to keep an hourly beep in their mobiles that work as a reminder.
During these micro-breaks one should do small exercises which focus on the neck, shoulder and back. Your physiotherapist should be able to tailor a proper set of exercises for you.
It is also extremely important to incorporate rehydrate oneself as dehydration produces muscle tightness and stiffness of the neck and upper back. Although the actual amount of water one should drink everyday varies on several factors, you can safely drink 3 litres of water in a day.
Also read: Exercises To Relieve Back Pain
6. Sleeping position
A good night's sleep can do wonders in reducing back pain. On the other hand, poor sleeping posture is often the triggering factor. If you often wake up with neck/back pain, there is a chance that your bed is contributing to your pain. You must sleep in a firm mattress, in a position where your spine remains straight. A good pillow is essential, which can maintain your neck in neutral position relative to your neck. A straight or side turned sleeping position is best, whereas the habit of lying on the stomach usually aggravates upper back pain.
If you are suffering from upper back pain from a long time you should do is to visit a qualified physiotherapist. After proper assessment, the physiotherapist will choose mobilisation of the spine, soft tissue release, machine-based treatment and above all, appropriate exercises. The physiotherapist will also teach you postural corrections, which is the most important treatment strategy for long term.
Although upper back pain is most often a lifestyle disease, rare but serious pathologies can present as upper back pain. If you are suffering from pain in your upper back, it is advisable to get screened from a competent practitioner.
(Dr. Subhanjan Das, Physiotherapist, (BPT, MPT, CMP, CDNP,CCP), Apollo Clinics, Bengaluru)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.