Is you back hurt every time you carry weight or a bag? Or do you feel that your back is rigid and uncomfortable by the end of every day?
It is might possible that you have a weak upper back. The pain that is witnessed in the upper back is very common but yet we mostly concentrate on lower body issues like aching calves and the soreness in feet. It is now time to bring in spotlight the upper back pain. To reach out for answers related to upper back muscles and pain, two of the most excellent Strength and Conditioning Coach Arnav Sarkar and Jivesh Shetty who are fitness expert at BCUBE also known as advanced sports nutrition were asked several questions
What does the upper back actually mean –?
Trapezius is one of the biggest muscles in the upper back. It begins somewhere from your neck up to the deltoid muscles commonly known as shoulder muscles and stretches up to the mid area of the spine. Trapezius is of three main functional regions which include – the superior region or descending part, which functions to support the weight of the arm, the intermediate or transverse part, which functions to retract the scapulae, and at last the inferior region or ascending part, which functions to medially rotate and put pressure on the scapulae.
Why Is Upper Pain Caused – ?
Muscle Cramps, Aches and Knots are some of the many signs of the pain in the Upper Back that we may or may not be familiar with. But why does the Upper Back pains?
One of the most common reason for the pain caused in the upper back as explained by Jivesh Shetty is the extremely poor posture. It is not just because you did not sit properly and ran in a wrong manner for a day. Years of practice makes the body posture so miserable that the upper back is bound to pain. With more than fifty percent of population being teenagers and the youth, the postures witnessed in this particular generation is the gateway for upper back conditions which also represents their state of mind.
For a normal healthy person the perfect posture includes keeping the chest high and back arched naturally. Standing straight and being firm on both the foot is also a part of a correct posture. This mentioned posture should be used most of the times including the times when we are playing or working in the office.
Apart from the posture the upper back pain can also find its root in the way we sit or lie down. A lot of people also fail to have a control on movement and form. Mentioned below are more reasons for the dreaded upper back pain that people should strictly be aware of.
We unintentionally do the following things with appropriate form –
· Lifting weight or anything heavy improperly
· Bending our waist without bending our knees first
· Turning or twisting improperly
· Neglecting to take care of the proper range of motion while engaged in heavy exercises.
· Carrying more weight than a body can handle
· Smoking regularly
· Playing sports without following the protocols and neglecting the warming up and cooling down exercises.
· Neglecting the essential rest if injured
Before we move on to the section which talks about the essential exercises for back pain, many of the exercises can be practiced as long as they are practiced in the appropriate form however it is important to know about certain exercises that are to be avoided by individuals who are injured or already in pain.
Arnav shares few exercises that will help in the development of the upper back. Although there are many exercises that can be extremely helpful in the upper back pain but they cannot be considered exercises as per rehab for treating the upper back pain. The normal exercises practiced for strength will include – cable scarecrow, seated cable rows, bent over lateral raises and shrugs.
Jivesh Shetty has listed some of the most beneficial exercises for maintaining a strong upper back –
1. Pull ups
2. Seated Row
3. Shrugs (for Trapezius)
4. Lat Pulldowns
5. Bent over Barbell Rows
6. Dead lifts (strong long back).
Developing the foundation of the our posture with Dead lift should ideally be the core of any training regime which is inclined on strengthening the lower back which in return will help us in maintain the entire posture.
On discussing about weight training for relaxing the pain in upper back and maintain a good posture Jivesh explained that exercising and weight training is the old school tried and fully tested way to build strength in body and develop muscle mass. Hence strengthening the upper back muscles to complement the other developing muscles is very important to successfully complete the weight training programme. A strong and rigid muscles structure is any day more functional and provides adequate protection from external injuries.
For people who are fond of Yoga, Jivesh states that Yoga is the perfect way to make our mind and body work in co-ordination and it consists of various asans which in return aids us in aligning our body and reminds us of the existence of itself. Pranayam is the most widely practiced breathing exercise which aids us to bring co—ordination in our movements and also helps our nervous system to get relaxed.
Talking about rehab exercises, Arnav states some sources of exercises which can be learned through Schiffert Heart Center that you can try anywhere.
Cheer, let your arms hang fully relaxed downwards at the side and gradually raise them moving over your head. Try to hold the stretch for few seconds before they fall back slowly to their original position form where it started.
First place both of your hands on both of the shoulders with palm facing downwards.
Secondly keep the hands in the same position and gradually move the elbows in such a manner that they touch each other. Once you touch your elbows you will feel a stretch in your upper back. Try to hold this position for few seconds before returning to the original position.
Go for a walk – Walk without thinking about anything stressful for a minimum of five to ten minutes. Focus on relaxing your body especially back and shoulders. Your thoughts should be centered on relaxing your shoulders and back. This will enhance and improve the circulation of blood till the legs and will freshen up your mind as well as body and will prepare you for the next session more efficiently.