If you work at a desk you have likely experienced mid back pain. This pain can range anywhere from a sense of “tiredness” between your shoulder blades to numbness and/or tingling that radiates away from your spine. Unfortunately, many activities of everyday life lead to slumping and a forward shoulder position. Think about how much time you spend at a computer, driving or sitting on couch. All of these things lead to a forward slumping mid back and tight shoulders.
There are activities that we can do to reverse these trends including stretching, strengthening and postural exercises. Recent studies in physical therapy literature have shown improvement in patient’s pain and mobility in the neck, mid-back and shoulders after manual therapy for the mid back. From my experience, thoracic manipulations can bring some of the fastest relief of any manual therapy techniques.
In addition to manual therapy and exercises there are many self management techniques that can help:
1: Stand up often. For every hour that you sit, you should stand up and move for 2-5 minutes.
2: Be aware of you posture. Just being conscious of pulling your shoulder blades back during the day is the first step to making postural changes.
3: Be aware of your desk ergonomics. Your computer screen should be at eye level and not off to either side to minimize stress on the spine.
4: When you are exercising make sure to spend as much time strengthening your back muscles as you do your chest.
Mid back pain is a diagnosis that we see great success with in the clinic. However, if left untreated this lingering pain can be interfere with your daily activities and decrease your quality of life. Also, patients who seek help while the pain is relatively new tend to see faster results.
Feel free to contact Siskiyou Physical Therapy if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment. We regularly help patients decrease or eliminate their thoracic pain quickly and our patients love it.
Jon Hill, DPT, Licensed Physical Therapist with Siskiyou Physical Therapy
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