One of the most common complaints that brings new patients into my Franklin, TN Chiropractic clinic is tension and pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades. This upper back tension doesn’t discriminate based on age or sex. I see it as a common complaint in the very young as well as the middle aged. Men and women present with it equally. Upper back tension and pain is often accompanied by neck pain. They very frequently go together. Arm pain, arm weakness, numbness and tingling into the fingers is another common symptom. Often patients are having episodes during the day where their hands and fingers will “fall asleep”. They often report waking up in the mornings with their hands asleep.
What’s the cause of this tension between the shoulder blades and what can be done to get rid of it? Great question! I’m going to discuss two main causes and they’re both posture related. The first is your posture at work. Most of the patients who present to my Franklin, TN office spend a portion of their day seated in front of a computer. They also spend a great deal of time looking down at their hand held mobile devises. These postures performed day after day place a tremendous amount of physical stress on the neck and upper back. This repeated stress creates tension not only on the bones of the spine and discs but also all the soft tissues in the surrounding area. Upper back muscles, specifically the large Trapezius muscle become chronically tight from continuously being placed in these postures. That’s why you feel like you always need a massage. The muscles of the upper back are always under stress and tension and never get a chance to relax.
The other posture related reason for tension between the shoulder blades has to deal with the posture you are in while you sleep. We spend roughly a third of our lives in bed, so you want a sleep posture that supports spinal health. You are supposed to wake up feeling rested and with less aches and pains. Unfortunately, for many they wake up with more neck and upper back pain then they went to bed with. This can indicate poor sleep posture. The posture that you’re sleeping in is putting too much pressure on your neck and upper back. I’m very often asked what the best sleep posture is. The best sleep posture is on your back. I like to place a pillow underneath the bend in my knees and always make sure to have my hands down by my sides. Never over my head!
You can’t stretch or strengthen away a structural problem. Thank goodness we have the Chiropractic Adjustment! The purpose of the adjustment is to restore normal joint function to the joint and to remove nerve irritation and interference. This will allow your body to heal and you’ll see that tension between your shoulder blades fade away. If you have tension between your shoulder blades give my Franklin office a call. We love to serve the residents of Franklin, Cool Springs and Brentwood!