These pains are symptoms, (upper right back pain, pain under shoulder blades pain between shoulder blades), which left untended can cause lost nights of sleep and the sensation of shortness of breath, or the feeling that an anxiety attack is around the corner. Upper right back pain in particular can usually be attributed to one of these key postural strains:
Side Sleeping Posture (usually ON that side, but doesn't have to be)
Improper ergonomic setup at the computer-usually a right handed 'mouser' has their mouse too far forward or to the side (KEY cause of upper right back pain!)
Driving with that arm for long periods of time
Holding a child in that armHolding a book in that arm
Horse back riding
Essentially, all of these will require you to hold your arm in one position for long periods of time, and cause a strain to the muscles in the part of the shoulder, while they stabilize your arm. Upper right back pain can usually be pinpointed to a segment of the trapezius muscle. Frequently the pain between or under the shoulder blade can be linked to the strained and congested fibers of the lower trapezius, which attaches to the scapula. Usually an individual's first tendency is to want to stretch the muscle which is aching or sore. This can alleviate it sometimes for a short time, but frequently long term relief can be found by releasing the pressure pulling those muscles and your arm forward. We find with our clients, the muscles most involved with straining this group in the upper back are the pectoralis muscles. I know, it sounds counter intuitive...my back is hurting, but you are asking me to stretch my chest?? Yes, that's exactly what will alleviate much of the issues with upper back and neck tension.
Upper right back pain is frequently caused by a chronic postural strain over time...it is a 'stretching strain'. If we are on the computer, holding munchkins, writing or driving a ton (anyone who doesn't do one of those for several hours a day, raise your hand...) then the likelihood is that we can't maintain perfect, upright posture. If we are pulling our shoulders forward, after some time, our chest muscles will shorten, and because of the way they attach to our shoulder blade (scapula), upper arm bone (humerus), and collarbone (clavicle), it will strain the muscles in our upper back causing upper right back pain, pain under shoulder blades, between shoulder blades, and even up into the neck sometimes causing chronic headaches. Soon, we will have muscle charts and pictures on this page to help explain the imbalance phenomenon more visually, but for now, you'll have to trust that we work on many people EACH DAY who have their pain alleviated by our relieving pressure in their upper chest muscles.
So, other than NOT doing those things listed above when you have upper right back pain, what CAN you do to help to unravel the upper back pain pattern??
We not only suggest, but do 'pec stretches'
every day. We work with our arms in front of us, ride bikes, hold
our kiddos...all of which will shorten these muscles. My favorite is in
a door way, I put my arm against the door jam and turn away from my arm
slightly to get a stretch in my upper chest. This document is our
stretching handout at the clinic for upper back, neck and shoulder
tension. Right-Click here to download the GTS Massage Stretches for Upper Bpdy PDF file.
These stretches will help to open up the front of your body, to allow not only a more balanced posture, but frequently a sensation of being able to take a deeper breath.
Move your mouse at your computer, so that you don't have to raise your arm forward or to the side at all (you shouldn't have to use your shoulder muscles every time you move your mouse!)...but you can just raise your fore arm from the elbow. This means you will probably need a lower keyboard/mouse drawer position.
Truly, working with a massage therapist
experienced in working with these muscle groups can help, but even our
clients who see us regularly are advised to have tools like this at
home. We all sit for too long in bad positions or sleep in awkward
positions, or work at a computer, so it's necessary to have some tools
at home for self-care. Doing the stretches every day, or when you start
to feel the tension pull on your shoulders, neck or upper back will
help to keep the pain at bay.
-Identify What Factors are Making Your Pain WORSE.
-Learn Precise Stretches that Get to the Source of Your Pain.
-Create Solid Support for Your Back Using Our Simple Methods.
Testimonials from those who have used this natural solution for chronic lower back pain:
"I can't believe I've been making my back pain worse for years, without knowing it! Thank you for sharing the information in the BodyPain Matrix(TM) Program! I now can completely manage my back pain with my stretches and I've stopped sitting in 'bad' ways.I am so glad I finally have an answer after suffering with my low back pain for over 5 years." -Sheryl B.
"I've been dependent on my chiropractor and massage therapist for years. It all helped, but I feel like someone finally showed me what to do, so that I now know how to help myself. I also found out what I was doing every day to make my lower back pain worse! Thank you for sharing these tools with me." Beth F.