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Question by Anish: My upper back hurts, are there any easy solutions to help the pain?
This past month I have just started a job in which I am sitting at a desk and looking at a computer screen for hours on end. When I get back home, I am again sitting down for long periods of time to either read or do some work on my computer. About 15 days ago, my neck began to hurt quite badly for a day or two and recently, my upper back has started to feel sore. Is there anything I can do to remedy the pain? Also is the pain due poor posture and lifestyle or can it be something worse?
Answer by quicentella3
*** g94 6/8 pp. 26-27 Do You Suffer With Back Pain? ***
What You Can Do to Ease Pain
Poor posture, obesity, weak muscles, and stress are four factors that contribute to the likelihood of pain in the lower back. Common activities that are done improperly, such as sitting, standing, or lifting, are other predisposing factors.
A mutual relationship exists between good posture and strong abdominal and back muscles. Correct posture allows the muscles to work properly, while good muscle tone is vital for proper posture. An alignment that follows the spine’s natural S curve is required for good posture. It does not mean a rigidly straight spine.
If improper posture is corrected, pain of postural origin can be eliminated, indicates Robin McKenzie in the book Treat Your Own Back, adding: “As time passes, however, if uncorrected, the habitual poor posture causes changes to the structure of the joints, excessive wear occurs, and premature ageing of the joints is a consequence.”
Excess weight, especially in the abdomen, can also strain the back because it creates a gravitational pull on the muscles that support the back. A regular exercise program is a key to a fit and healthy back. Even if pain is no longer experienced, exercise is essential because back pain that has gone away tends to resurface unexpectedly. A complete medical evaluation is recommended before beginning a program. A doctor may suggest the proper exercises for an individual’s back problem, or he may refer a patient to a physical therapist.
Many researchers believe that stress can also make a person vulnerable to back trouble. Stress may trigger spasms in some people because unrelieved tension tightens muscles, resulting in back pain. Managing or eliminating sources of stress can help reduce the risk of back pain.
People who spend a great deal of time sitting at work or when traveling for long distances may experience back strain. Much more weight is exerted on the lower back when sitting, according to a Swedish study. Unfortunately, this risk is increased by the use of office chairs with insufficient back support. It may be helpful to interrupt sitting at regular intervals by standing and walking around for a few minutes.
When lifting heavy or even light objects, people should guard against using their back muscles. Bending the knees is suggested when lifting so that back muscles do not bear all of the pressure.
A person who works in awkward positions is also likely to be subject to back problems. Assembly-line workers, nurses, electricians, housekeepers, and farmers are all required to bend forward for long periods in carrying out their work. To minimize the risk of back injury, physical therapists recommend resting regularly or changing positions. People who stand for a prolonged period of time are advised to use a small stool or other footrest and to slightly elevate one foot so as to straighten the lower back.
The Search for Treatment
For the majority of those who experience back pain of muscular origin, doctors recommend conservative treatment—bed rest, use of heat, massage, exercise, and, initially, anti-inflammatory pain-relieving drugs. As regards the latter, Dr. Mark Brown of the University of Miami School of Medicine offers a word of caution. He notes that in the United States, the prolonged use of drugs is a major cause of back pain suffering, that is, from the side effects of medications. People need to guard against developing a tolerance for a drug, which could result in increased dosage, possibly causing addiction.
Physical therapy and chiropractic visits may also offer help and relief to some sufferers. Chiropractic care accounts for about two thirds of all patient visits for back pain in the United States, notes the journal HealthFacts.
Surgery may be necessary to correct problems or relieve pain associated with herniated disks. More often, however, doctors will first recommend conservative treatment for the majority of back-pain sufferers. People who are told they need surgery would do well to obtain second or third opinions.
For millions of sufferers, constant but bearable back pain is a part of life. Many resign themselves to the pain but endeavor not to let it interfere with day-to-day activities. They are aware of factors that induce pain and take measures to prevent or counteract it. They exercise regularly, maintain proper weight, improve their posture, and reduce stress in their lives. Despite bouts of recurring pain from a herniated disk and from muscle spasms, Karen, mentioned at the outset, cheerfully maintains a busy schedule, spending much time in the preaching and teaching activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Like Karen, many sufferers maintain a positive attitude and work toward controlling their back pain.
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