Upper Back Pain
Ever had whiplash? Have you been in a car accident and been rear ended or hit from the side?
Chances are you have had treatment, maybe physical therapy, chiropractic or massage? Perhaps you have had to take pain medications? You’re probably somewhat better, but you’ve got that nagging headache, right…or…nagging tingling and numbness in your arm…or upper back pain…or all three. There is hope. New science has come out that tells us there are “core muscles” in your neck that need to be re-programmed to contract in the right order, then strengthen your neck.
Why is there a need for a “special” training program? If you have whiplash the order of the muscles contracting becomes messed up. Normally the core muscles contract the make your neck stable, then large muscles sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) pull on the neck to rotate it or pull on your neck as you lift your arm.
After whiplash, large muscles (the big ones you can see on the sides of your neck) contract first to splint the neck. The problem is, the right order of muscle contraction does not come back and the large muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) keep contracting, which causes headaches (see the headache referral pattern for sternocleidomastoid) and arm tingling and pain (see the scalene brachial plexus picture below).
>What can you try at home to help this pain? Nod your head in little tiny nods, like you are nodding “yes” to getting better.
If that does not clear up your pain or tingling, give us a call to schedule an appointment to get relief from your whiplash pain!
New information from a class I just took: the "core" as a piston that moves with you! Turns out that the stability of your trunk, in other words your rib cage to your pelvis, is dependent on the diaphragm working together with the transverse abdominis, multifidus and the pelvic floor.
What does this mean in for you if you have pain or you are trying to get more fit? When you are going to lift something heavy do the following:
- make sure to breathe in before you lift, letting your tummy relax and lower ribs expand as you prepare to lift.
- start breathing out by pursing you lips then quickly lift your pelvic floor and then pull your tummy in as you lift
Here is a link to a video from the instructor of the class, Julie Wiebe PT:
Enjoy looking at her video!
How does this concept apply to Muscles In-Sync(R)? It directly applies because the muscles, to work best, need to work at the right time and the right way, and we can help you feel better by getting them In Sync!
This video is an extreme example of whiplash, and it gets you thinking, what is the science about whiplash?
Mr. Villar's large neck muscles will go into spasm to protect him. The two muscles which will spasm the most are the sternocleidomastoid and scalenes.
When sternocleidomastoid spasms you suffer from headaches. When scalenes spasm you suffer from arm tingling and numbness. Mr. Villars will have both. What should he do to relieve his pain?
1) get physical therapy for stretches for sternocleidomastoid and scalenes, and for myofascial release, and
If he does both of these, his neck will probably fully recover!
The levator scapulae muscle causes a lot of pain. Stretching and giving the muscle trigger point massage will give you only temporary relief. How do you get a permanent fix? Take the strain away!
The muscle is strained, or has too much tension on it when it is always stretched. The muscle lifts the inner upper corner of the shoulder blade up towards the neck AND also rotates the shoulder blade down, so the outer corner is lower than the inner corner.
The actual treatment is to strengthen the muscles which pull the shoulder blade back as well as those that lift and stretch tight muscles which pull the shoulder blade forward.
Did you every have whiplash? Did you fall off your bike as a kid and hit you chin on the ground? (I fell head first off my bike and knocked out both front teeth). If you have had any of these happen to you, likely you have headaches and neck pain. A simple exercise you can do to help with headaches is to do this:
1) lay on your back and put a rolled hand towel under your neck and bend up your knees.
2) nod your chin 1/4th of an inch like you are saying "yes" and hold.
3) do 10. slowly build up your hold to 5 seconds, then 10 seconds.