A lot of pain that occurs in the upper back and neck is due to muscles becoming too tight. The tight muscles do not allow as much blood into them as is needed and therefore they do not get the energy and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Therefore tight muscles weaken and then tighten up further, so a viscous circle has begun.



Possible causes include:

  • overuse creating micro tears in the muscles, the muscles then tighten up to protect themselves which may result in muscle spasms, contractures and pain
  • poor stretching routines, particularly after training, can cause muscles to shorten
  • scoliosis 
  • bad posture increases the work the muscles of the back and neck have to do

Another possible cause of upper back pain is Scheuermann's Disease, a hereditary disease that mainly affects growing boys. It is the most common postural abnormality of the spine in the younger athlete. Children complain of acute pain in the upper back and in later years the upper spine (thoracic) may become more rounded (this is called kyphosis).



Physiotherapy treatment for common upper back problems may include:

  • joint mobilisation and soft tissue therapy including sports massage, trigger pointing and stretching techniques
  • ultrasound and heat therapy to assist in relaxing the muscles
  • taping to help correct posture
  • postural advice and preventative strategies
  • strengthening exercises for the back will play an important part in your rehabilitation program


See also - Jaw Pain, Shoulder, Elbow & Forearm, Wrist & Hand, Pelvic Pain, Hip & Groin, Thigh, Knee, Shin, Foot, Head & Neck, Upper Back/Thoracic Spine, Lower Back, Buttocks, Calf & Achillies Tendon, Ankle



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