My upper middle back started hurting and I was sure it had to do with the degenerative condition that I had been diagnosed with years ago. I was disappointed that I would have to deal with another form of back pain. I went to my primary doctor and he ordered x-rays which appeared normal and said that the upper middle back pain was most likely due to the upper spine having to take on the support that was lacking in my lower back. That didn’t surprise me.
I went to the chiropractor and what he said did surprise me…
“Tech Neck” is a Major Cause Of Upper Middle Back Pain
Have you ever heard of “tech neck”? I hadn’t until talking to my chiropractor and doing some research on my own. And besides, what did my neck have to do with my upper middle back pain? I’ll explain that in a moment.
Tech neck is the term used for bending your neck and looking down at your technology; be it your smartphone, laptop, whatever. It’s become a mindless bad habit for a lot of us nowadays.
According to a medical journal, when we are tilting our head forward to get lost in our technology, we are exerting a whopping 27 to 60 pounds of pressure on our neck and associated muscles!
I read somewhere that the average person spends about an hour per day looking at their devices. My personal thought is that is a gross understatement, or it’s outdated info. I have friends and relatives who almost never look up from their phones it seems!
Now ask yourself how many hours you’re spending looking down. What seems like innocent fun, or even necessary for work or business is wreaking havoc on our neck and back.
How the Neck Affects the Back
Take a look at this image and you’ll see exactly what the chiropractor explained to me. The neck, shoulder, and upper middle back muscles are all connected.
Now, I’m not a doctor, chiropractor, nor did I study human biology. But I’m smart enough to see how adding that extra weight on my neck for longer than it was designed to could lead to problems.
Was my doctor wrong? No, I don’t think so, he was basing his diagnosis off of my medical history of degenerative disc and joint disease. But it certainly wasn’t the full picture.
Once my chiropractor starting working on my neck, and having me do some exercises, things started feeling a lot better.
Avoiding Tech Neck
The first, and obvious answer is to quit looking at your smartphone so much! When you do, try not to look down. You could also set aside time for answering texts and other messages to limit the amount of time looking down.
Holding your phone up more and at eye level will greatly lighten the load on your neck and upper middle back.
Here comes that word again. Exercise. Yep, exercise will help strengthen your neck and other muscles that you saw in the graphic above. I will be writing an article soon that detail some good ‘tech neck’ avoidance exercises.
Other Causes of Upper Middle Back Pain
Overuse or injury – this can be from tech neck or other reasons such as a sports injury, lifting something heavy, etc.
Poor posture – this was also on my chiropractor’s list of reasons why my back might be sore. He helped me with my posture and ordered me orthotics that fit into my shoes to aid me even more.
Pressure on the nerves – A herniated disc can put pressure on the nerves that will cause pain.
Fracture – Could be a broken vertebra. Especially if you’ve had a fall. That’s why my doctor ordered an x-ray; to rule that out.
Osteoarthritis – This is one of my issues. The cartilage in the facet joints breaks down causing the bone to rub together.
Gallbladder – If you have stones, cancer, or an infection in your gallbladder, you may feel the pain in your upper middle back! Your doctor should be able to rule this out as well when you visit.
It Could Be More Serious If…
You should definitely see a doctor right away if you have any of these serious symptoms:
– Weakness in your arms or legs.
– Numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, chest, or belly.
– Loss of bowel or bladder control.
That’s it for now; I hope to have helped.
Please tell me about your experiences below. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to use the sharing buttons (bottom of page) to help your friends.
Also note – I am not a doctor and anything written here should not replace the medical advice of a professional.
Be well and in good spirits today!