How to Address Upper Back Discomfort


Work in an Office and Experiencing Persistent Upper Back Pain?

With millions of Americans working office jobs, it’s no surprise that so many people experience upper back pain. Working in an office is one of the most taxing jobs on your body and your posture!

When you work in an environment that encourages bad posture, you tend to have chronic upper back pain even when you’re not at the office. The actual cause of this pain is changing your posture, meaning it’s harder to correct what’s happening even when you’re no where near work.

What causes this type of back pain, and more importantly, what can be done about it? Here’s how you can counteract your upper back pain from working in an office!

How Upper Back Pain Is Caused

For people who regularly work in office environments, sitting at a desk for hours often encourages a hunched-forward posture. 

This happens for a variety of reasons. The first and foremost is that it takes more effort for your body to sit up straight than it does to hunch over. This requires effort from your core muscles as well as your spine. The second is that you may not have a chair or desk or computer that’s appropriately positioned, making it virtually impossible for you to sit any other way.

The problem is that this position causes flexion of the thoracic spine. What this means is that the thoracic region of your spine—located in the mid-upper region of your back—is forced to bend forward. This essentially weakens your core muscles and in effect, makes it harder to maintain proper posture when not at work.

Essentially, this posture causes the muscles of the upper back such as the upper trapezius and levator scapulae to elongate. Think of a rubber band: when constantly stretched, it loses its elasticity and ability to hold your body up properly.

Now that you know the problem, you can correct it with the proper techniques!

How to Stop Upper Back Discomfort

Repairing the damage done to your upper back is simpler than you think. Adjustments of your thoracic spine can restore your hunched posture that’s essentially conditioned your spine to support your body that way. The right adjustments can restore you to your normal, upright position!

Specific exercises can strengthen the muscles and help them regain their ability to keep your body straight. When you’re able to maintain this position, you can easily stop hunching over to continue having a normal, healthy posture even while working at your office job.

After you’ve been adjusted and done the appropriate exercises, here are some tips you can incorporate at your desk to help you sustain this healthy posture:

  • Aim to keep your ears in line with your shoulders while sitting
  • Take frequent breaks, getting up to walk around or perform small stretching exercises
  • Don’t cross your legs; doing this can further encourage a bent posture

If you’ve been experiencing chronic upper back pain with no relief, it’s time to make some changes. First, restore your posture and your upper back muscles with chiropractic adjustments and individual exercises. Next, incorporate changes at your office to help you maintain this posture. And finally, continue to see your chiropractor for adjustments—even the best of us still slouch!