Causes of Upper Back Pain

Back pain From Stretching

Stretches / June 22, 2023

stretching-for-chronic-painAs you may have noticed in the story above, my initial treatment focused on an area (or muscle group) that seemed unrelated to the pain the lady was suffering. And at first glance, it does seem quite odd; why would anyone stretch their chest if the pain is in their back?

This is another common mistake a lot of people make when trying to treat their own pain; they focus all their attention and treatment on the pain and never get to the real source of the problem. This is often referred to as treating the symptoms and not the cause.

So how do you know if that pain in your back is caused by tight muscles in your legs, or a problem with your hips, or flat feet, or over-developed shoulders, or tight chest muscles, or whatever?

Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult for the layperson to diagnose. Even experienced professionals can struggle to correctly diagnose the true source of some pain.

The professional therapist can look for biomechanical inefficiencies, postural problems, and muscle imbalances among other things, but often times the best course of treatment is a series of small experiments (based on an educated assumption) designed to root out the true source of the problem.

When trying to uncover the source of chronic pain the best people to see for an accurate diagnosis are osteopaths, chiropractors, and physical therapists, and even they don’t always get it right.

So what can you do to try and locate the real cause of your pain? Here are two suggestions…

  1. Work around the injury: Start by doing a few stretches for the muscle groups around your injury. For example; if you have lower back pain start by stretching your hamstrings, buttocks, hips and groin. This will help to take some of the stress and tension off the muscles that are in pain, which allows them to relax, and often leads to a reduction in pain.10 Free Stretching Routines Another advantage of this approach is that oftentimes the muscle group that is in pain is too sore to treat directly, and stretching the muscles that are hurting only leads to more pain.
  2. Look for muscle imbalance: As you start to notice which muscles are tight and which muscles aren’t, aim to create a balance of flexibility between the front of your body and the back of your body, and the left side of your body and the right side of your body. For example, if you notice that your right hamstring muscles are tighter than your left hamstrings muscles, work on the right hamstring muscles until you have even flexibility in both.

As a general rule; if it’s not tight and it’s not causing you any problems, you don’t need to stretch it. There are a few exceptions to this (such as athletes that require increased flexibility for their chosen sport), but for most people this is a wise rule to follow. So if you perform a stretch and you don’t feel any tension in the target muscle group, this would indicate that you’re not tight in that area.

While the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you get my...

10 Free Stretching Routines

You'll get 10 free professionally designed stretching routines for your neck and upper back; your chest and shoulders; your lower back and buttocks; your hips and groin; and your thighs and hamstrings.

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