How Chiropractic Adjustments Can Make a Difference
Most people sit at a computer all day and that can definitely lend itself to creating back and neck pain. But it isn’t the desk jockeys alone who suffer. Many professions have a variety of postural challenges that too create mid-back pain. The auto mechanic gets into pretty weird positions working on cars; the dentist and dental hygienist are twisted and bent over their patients’ bodies for long periods of time; I do a lot of bending over patients providing chiropractic adjustments, and when I’m not heeding my own advice, I certainly can feel it in my mid back. Fortunately chiropractic adjustments provide a solution.
I repeatedly remind my patients (and myself) to be in the anatomically neutral position (see picture to left) in all they do, as much as possible, in order to reduce stress on the joints and minimize tension in the muscles. If life demands being in non-neutral positions for periods of time, then reverse positions when you can to stretch out the incorrect tension put on your muscles and joints.
It would be great if all work places had big round exercise balls the way we have in our ‘gym’ here at HealthNOW. People could lie with their back on them to stretch their mid-back in the reverse position from the hyperkyphotic (overly rounded midback) one caused by sitting and slouching for too long.
Causes of an Aching Mid-back
The spine has natural curves that, when maintained, depict normal posture and creates the anatomical ‘neutral’ that puts the least amount of strain on the back and connecting muscles. Holding postures outside this norm, challenges these muscles. In the short term, such changes of position can be quite good for us, and is called ‘exercise.’ But, prolong these stressful periods, and have them occur daily for weeks, months and years on end results in fatigue of the muscles causing muscle tension and pain.
The mid-back is especially vulnerable to the infamous SLOUCH posture. Weakened back muscles allow the back to succumb to gravity which is pulling down on all of us. Exaggerating the slouching posture reduces the normal neck and low back curves and increases the midback curve causing a rounded back which further pushes the head forward. This creates tension of the neck and upper back muscles, which tends to worsen and ‘lock in’ the mid-back curve.
One other cause of sharp penetrating mid-back pain is a misalignment of a rib where it attaches to the spine. Usually, this is from a sudden movement (often reaching behind oneself) or even from a sudden sneeze or chronic cough. This pain can be intense, so intense that it can cause chest pain and a panicked trip to the ER.
The good news is that it can quickly be relieved by a chiropractic adjustment.
Consequences of an Increased Mid-back Curve
The rib cage that attaches to the middle back houses some important organs such as your heart and lungs. When the mid-back curve increases and you slouch, it affects the body in a number of ways:
- Leads to tight, painful muscles in the area – including the neck, head and shoulders
- Reduces movement of the rib cage due to increased muscle tension – this can lead to reduced air flow as the rib cage needs to fully expand in order to take in a deep full breath
- Causes fatigue due to insufficient oxygen exchange
- Can create panic attacks and a feeling of anxiety due to poor air flow
- Puts increased pressure on the front of the spine in this area which can lead to a fracture if a person has osteoporosis or brittle bones
What is the Solution?
- Proper ergonomics at work – make whatever changes you can to support good posture while doing what you do, day in and day out
- Conscious attention to maintaining your good posture while sitting, standing, walking, reading, working and attending to all manner of technological aids (smart phones, tablets, etc.)
- Avoid sitting in soft, deep unsupportive furniture (couches & chairs that may look pretty, but don’t support good posture), or sitting on the floor or bed without any back support
- Stretching to reverse postural slumps & slouches
- Deep breathing exercises
- Chiropractic adjustments to keep this area of the spine loose and flexible and pain-free
If you have chronic or acute mid-back pain, you don’t have to continue living with it. We can help you improve your posture and restore proper function to this area of the back with exercise, muscle work and chiropractic adjustments. You will be feeling much better very shortly.
We’re here to help. Call us for a free health analysis (408-733-0400) and we’ll tell you if we think we can help get to the root of your pain; to the cause behind the symptom.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. If you, or someone you know, suffer from pain, please show them this post. We are here to help!
Koen P. Kallop, D.C.
Director of Chiropractic Services
HealthNOW Medical Center
Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Koen Kallop & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page.