3 Reasons for Upper Back Pain Postpartum (and really at any point in life!)
We have all experienced it...that uncomfortable feeling in our upper back when we sit for too long, have been feeding our baby or simply have been exercising a little differently. There are several reasons for upper back pain, here are the three most common reasons for it, along with some tips to help along the way.
1. Posture: We tend to do many of our seated activities in that forward flexed, "hunched shoulders" posture. This creates weakness in our upper back muscles, and tightness in our chest muscles which can lead to dysfunction and pain.
When we are breastfeeding or carrying our baby, we sometimes hike up the shoulder on one side to make our baby more comfortable. It is also common to keep those rounded shoulders as we stare closely into a computer.
TIP: Always try to have your shoulders level (not one higher than the other)- the more upright the better!
2: Tension: Many of us keep a lot of tension in our upper trapezius muscle as we hike up the shoulders when we are tense. Due to lack of stretching, sometimes this can cause trigger points/muscle spasms in that area, leading to pain.
TIP: Try to stretch your upper trapezius, levator scapula and scalene muscles as you perform deep breaths during times of high stress.
3: Lack of exercise: Or in even better words-lack of the appropriate exercises. Our upper back muscles need strengthening and stretching just like all of our muscles do. See a physical therapist for an evaluation of upper body mechanics as well as postural awareness, and find the right exercise routine.
TIP: When you exercise, make sure you are prioritizing your back muscles as much as you prioritize core, legs and shoulders!
Knowledge is power...the more we know, the more we can help ourselves! Keep posture, stretching, strengthening and breathing in mind for improved upper back mechanics.
Dr. Krisia Gattas, PT, DPT