11 Ways to Relieve and Control Upper Back Pain
If you’ve experienced upper back pain, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from back pain every day, and it can be frustrating, life-changing, and hard. Upper back pain can be caused by a variety of factors like stress, over-exertion, and injury. Luckily, you don’t have to go through this upper back pain by yourself. We have compiled a list of sure methods to relieve and control your upper back pain, so you can get back to feeling like yourself in no-time.
- Use Ice or Heat
This surefire method of treating upper back pain can be used to alleviate pain and prevent future injury. The cold and the heat can comfort pain, but also control it. It’s recommended that you use ice/cold for the first few days after the pain begins, since it can help reduce swelling. After using ice, you can switch to heat to keep the pain at-bay. If your upper back pain is chronic or comes back whenever it chooses, you can use either cold or hot methods. The choice between these two can be determined by which feels best on your skin and which alleviates the pain best for you.
- Try a Massage or Massage Chair
People have used massage therapy for centuries to cleanse the body, release toxins, and reduce pain. You can go see a licensed massage therapist that is trained to take special care in areas that are sensitive. By massaging your upper back, you can help your muscles to relax and reduce tension. For a more long-lasting, budget-friendly option, you can purchase products like massage chairs. These products can massage areas of your back and body, allowing you to control the intensity and location of the massage.
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- Take a Bath
Just like using a heating pad or hot compress, taking a bath has a lot of benefits to your upper back. Not only do you get to relax for a little while, but the hot water in the bath can help relax your muscles and stretch them out. There are a variety of products you can find that can be added to your bath as well, that can add additional relaxing and pain-relieving benefits. If sitting in the bath is painful, you can try using a bath cushion that will offer you more support.
- Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medicines
If you have chronic back pain or are suffering from a back injury, your physician may prescribe painkillers to help keep the pain away. Beware of these types of medications however, since they can be extremely addictive. Instead, you can try using OTC medicines like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Tylenol or Motrin. You should use these in conjunction with other pain-relieving methods for the best results. Always take these medications as directed and when in doubt, consult your doctor.
- Stay Flexible
Even the oldest of us can still find ways to stretch and keep active. One of the largest causes of upper back pain is excessive tension and tightness. By performing basic stretches, participating in yoga/Pilates, or exercising, you can increase your flexibility. Having great flexibility decreases the chances that your upper back will tighten or strain itself into injury and pain. You should stretch your body’s muscles each day (even if your physical state is not that great), to help equalize the weight load throughout your entire body.
- Exercise and Practice Good Posture
Exercising regularly can help keep your body in a great position to fight upper back pain. Regular exercise can keep your muscles and nerves flexible and strong, so your body is less likely to suffer from muscle strain or injury. In addition, if your posture is not correct while you are sitting, standing, or moving around, it will put added stress on your back. Always be sure to use the proper posture, especially while lifting objects.
- Control Your Weight
Obesity can cause a wide array of medical issues, and back pain is no exception. When you are carrying around extra weight, it causes strain and stress on your muscles, bones, tissue in your back. This extra weight unnaturally shifts your center of gravity and puts extra strain on your entire back. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the possibility of future back pain.
- Change Your Sleep-Position
Sometimes the way you sleep can put stress on your upper back. Especially when you are prone to back pain, the position in which you sleep can play an important factor. Every person is different, so you’ll want to find the position that is most comfortable for you. You can try sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up to the side, putting a pillow under your knees while on your back, or placing a pillow under your hips while on your stomach.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
Though eating healthy is something you hear almost every day, many people don’t know that a healthy diet can have an extremely good impact on the health of your back. In fact, a lot of back pain can be caused by a lack of calcium or vitamin D. These two nutrients are essential to keeping your bones strong. If your bones are not as strong as they should be, the muscles, tendons and other tissue surrounding them will follow suit; causing your back stress and pain.
- Watch What You Wear
It may sound silly, but your apparel could have a dramatic effect on your upper back. Clothes that are tight or inhibit your movement in any way prohibits your body from stretching and moving properly. Wearing high heels shift your center of gravity and put unnecessary pressure on your back, so try to stick to flat, comfortable shoes. Even overstuffed wallets can cause back discomfort if you place them in your back pocket while sitting. You may also take special care when choosing a purse, backpack, or briefcase as well. Uneven, carried weight can cause discomfort and pain.
- Start a Pain Diary
If your upper back pain is caused by an injury, this may not be necessary. But if your pain is chronic or long-lasting, keeping a pain diary is a great idea. It obviously will not take away your pain, but it can provide you and your medical team with invaluable information. Each day, you should write when you feel pain, where, how severe it is, and any physical activities you performed that day. You can also add in what you eat and medications you’ve taken. These diaries can give your doctors information that can allow them to provide you with the proper diagnosis and treatment-plan.
Upper back pain doesn’t have to take over your life. The methods found above can help take away some of that pain and hopefully prevent it from coming back. As with all health concerns, it is essential to consult your medical team before beginning any treatment regimen.