Causes of Chest and Upper Back Pain

Sudden chest and upper back pain can be extremely frightening because most people believe that, when this occurs, they are having a heart attack. It often begins in the back and feels like someone is sticking a sword through your chest cavity. The most common causes of chest and upper back pain are not heart related but result from poor posture while sitting or standing. When the muscles connected to your shoulder blades in your upper back become painful and stressed, it can cause chest and upper back pain. If you take a deep breath and it becomes worse when you inhale, the pain is likely posture related.

By becoming familiar with your muscles, this helps you understand chest and upper back pain better. Although the upper back and chest are two separate areas, it is crucial to achieve proper muscular balance to maintain good posture. If the upper back and chest are imbalanced, this makes it very easy for injury to result. The three main muscles found in your upper back and chest is the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and trapezius. The latissimus dorsi is a flat, broad muscle on either side of the back. The largest of the back muscles, it runs from the upper arm bone to the lower back, acting as the arms internal rotator. The pectoralis major are the large skeletal muscle or chest muscles located on both sides of the breastbone. Its main job is to rotate and adduct the arms or draws the arm towards the body. The trapezius muscles are two triangular, flat muscles of the upper back and shoulders that facilitates movement of the arms and shoulders.

An excellent exercise to relieve chest and upper back pain is a shoulder raise, which you do standing straight in an upright position. With your arms hanging straight at your sides, lift both your shoulders as high as you possible can. Without lowering them, start rotating your shoulders towards your back ten times and then lower your shoulders. By doing this exercise twice daily, it can help relieve chest and upper back pain. Pinpoint massage done between your shoulder blades by focusing on the sore area or central point of pain relieves chest and upper back pain. Swimming and some types of water aerobics help relieve or eliminate chest and upper back pain without putting too much pressure on your muscles.

Any type of pains in your chest may be heart related and should be investigated by your physician immediately. A wrong self-made diagnosis could mean the difference between life and death, so always seek medical help.

Conquering the Pain Beast with Exercises for Lower Back Pain

When you have lower back pain it can feel as if you’re carrying around a beast that won’t let go. Sitting, twisting, bending and even walking can be difficult and as a result, it’s tempting to reduce the level of activity. Unfortunately that’s the worst thing you can do. The less you do the more it’s going to hurt. Think of it this way. When you aren’t doing anything to improve the pain, why would you expect it to improve? In other words, if you don’t to exercises for lower back pain, how are the muscles going to get stronger?

Lower back pain is the result of both emotional and physical factors. They are intertwined and can’t be separated. Exercises for lower back pain don’t just deal with muscles. They also deal with your mental state that makes you believe lack of exercise is the cure for back pain. Exercise can help you adjust your attitude, get some feel-good endorphins flowing and strengthen your back.

Of course, some lower back pain will need surgical correction if the result of degenerative disease for example. But even in that situation, exercise serves the same purpose. It can reduce the amount of back pain you are experiencing while waiting for surgery by strengthening the muscles. Getting your lower back muscles into good shape will also help you recover faster from the surgery. Exercise is just plain good for you whether you have back pain or not.

Exercises for lower back pain include a variety of exercises that include even aerobic conditioning. The lower back muscles and bones are just a subset of your overall muscular skeletal structure. Whatever you do for the lower back benefits the entire system, and it works the other way around too. The better shape your body is in overall, the better for your lower back. If you are out of shape or overweight, both conditions can contribute to lower back pain.

Following is a list of some exercises for lower back pain. You can do these exercises at home, but if you’re under the care of a doctor it’s important to show the physician the plan. The important thing is to do them regularly. You can’t do them for a few days and then quit and expect to see results. It may hurt at first, but if you stick with the program you’ll be amazed at how the pain beast begins to let go.

• Abdominal contractions
• Wall slides or squats
• Straight leg raises
• Alternating knee to chest
• Treadmill
• Stationary bike
• Balance ball arm and leg raises (lie on stomach)

There are others you can do too. You should start with 3 ten minute sessions a day and add time as your muscles get stronger. Exercises for lower back pain can scare the pain beast away so you can restore your lively step to your daily activities.

Finding the Best Chronic Back Pain Relief

If you have been suffering from chronic back pain, you are probably at your wit’s end looking for some sort of chronic back pain relief that will last. There are different types of treatment for this type of pain, but they may not all be right for you. If you see a doctor for the pain, your doctor will determine the best way to give you some chronic back pain relief. His decision on a treatment plan will be based on different factors such as your age, physical condition (besides the chronic back pain), life style, and location and severity of the pain.

Many times people are content to take pain medication for chronic back pain relief. Some people find themselves taking this medication for years rather than finding more permanent chronic back pain relief with a doctor’s help. There are many people that don’t like going to see a doctor, whether it’s an issue of the money, or just an inconvenience of their time. In such cases as this, they will often try every home remedy they can find. When they find little or no chronic back pain relief, they eventually end up going to see a doctor.

One of the first things the doctor will have to do is determine where the back pain is located. Most often people have chronic lower back pain, but this is not always the case. The doctor will look at your medical history to determine your life style and any possible medication allergies. Sometimes, the doctor will order an x-ray of your back to see if any obvious problem shows up. If nothing shows up on the x-ray, they will often give you a list of exercises to do for chronic back pain relief along with a recommendation to take over the counter medications. He may also give you a prescription for something for the pain.

If the back pain is not from a serious injury, the exercises, along with the medication, may help give you some chronic back pain relief. If not, you may find yourself going back to the doctor again. Often at this point, the doctor may order more in-depth tests such as MRI or some sort of ultrasound to determine if there is a more serious condition causing the chronic back pain. In some situations, surgery is the only treatment that will provide the long-term chronic back pain relief you need. The doctors usually don’t recommend surgery except as a last resort when every other method has failed. Many individuals will fight the idea of surgery as long as possible, only taking it when it’s the only answer for their chronic back pain relief. Some sufferers are content to take pain medication for the rest of their lives if it gives them relief, but doctors don’t usually go along with this idea long-term.

Doing an About Face with Low Back Pain

Almost everyone experiences low back pain at some time in their life, and usually it’s more than once. Pain in the lower back can happen to anyone at any age for a variety of reasons.

* Bulging disc
* Herniated disc
* Osteoporosis
* Arthritis
* Degenerative disc disease
* Pinched nerve

There are other causes for low back pain too, including injuries or spine defects. Degenerative disc disease is usually age related. It’s when the soft center of the disk loses water and becomes dry due to the natural aging process. This causes the bones in the spine to become misaligned as the supporting material collapses.

Low back pain can also occur when you injure the muscles or ligaments in the back. The spine itself is not causing the pain, but rather the muscles. Muscle injury can result from daily activities not handled properly. For example, if you lift a heavy object incorrectly, you can strain the muscles. But injury can also occur as a result of something more serious like a car accident or slipping and falling. Sudden falls can cause the spine to compress or the muscles to twist in ways they aren’t meant to twist.

The treatment for low back pain varies according to the cause of the pain. Pain is defined in 3 ways. There’s acute pain which is pain that occurs suddenly, lasts less than approximately three months, and then diminishes as the cause of the pain is healed. For example, you may strain a muscle in your back one day while picking up a heavy box. After a month of hot or cold compresses (depends on type of injury) and careful physical movement, the muscle will heal and the pain goes away. This is acute pain.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 3 months. It can be pain that continues even after all known causes of the pain have been corrected, or pain you live with due to an uncorrected back problem. Chronic back pain can simply be miserable for the person enduring the pain. The cause of the pain isn’t visible to anyone else, like a broken arm or leg, but it can limit mobility to a large degree.

Recurring back pain is pain that comes and goes without end.

Many times, low back pain is the result of a muscle sprain. This kind of injury is painful, but fortunately the injured muscle usually heals. A sprained low back can result in muscle spasms or sharp pains when you move a certain way. You can get pain relief most of the time from over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and movement restriction for a few days.

Of course, there can be more serious causes of low back pain. They include osteoporosis, disc disease, arthritis and spinal injuries. If you experience chronic or recurring back pain, you should work with a physician to determine which techniques for healing or pain control best fit your situation.

Physical Therapy Management for Low Back Pain

One of the first things physical therapy management for low back pain requires is that you stay active and not hunker down into your bed for days and weeks on end. This is despite the pain you are in. Physical therapy management for low back pain is a long and involved process and you and your therapist are partners working together to make your recovery a good one, and one that will last.

Why is the emphasis on keeping fit and active? You need to keep fit and active simply because it is the best way to maintain a healthy and strong back. You also might want to know that it’s been scientifically proven staying fit and active will help you heal from lower back injuries. That is why one of the major components of physical therapy management for low back pain insists that you do exercises regularly and religiously to stay in shape. It’s better in the long run for you and better in the long run for the health care system.

Sure you hurt, and sure physical therapy management for low back pain is hard work, but it will pay off for you later when you don’t have a re-occurrence of your back problems.

Take a few of these tips into consideration when working on your physical therapy management for low back pain, as they certainly won’t hurt you. If you happen to have a job that means you are standing for long periods of time, make sure you have a step to prop one foot up on at a time. Switch feet every 5 to 15 minutes. This helps your back equally bear the weight of standing for such a long time. Take short walks breaks whether you are standing or sitting for long periods. Get up and stretch your back.

One major thing you are going to get told by the therapist working with you on your physical therapy management for low back pain is to NOT lift heavy objects. However if you do need to do some lifting, then do it the RIGHT way by NOT bending down and heaving the item upwards. Bend at the knees and squat, holding the item close to your body and stand up straight. Don’t twist your body while lifting either.

Couch potato? Love the remote at the end of your fingertips and the popcorn close by? If you have back problems that soft couch will not cut it for you. Why? The soft couch does not provide support for your waist and lower back. This is also why it will be recommended that you change your mattress to one that is firmer so it provides your back with some proper support, not allows it to roll into the large scoop in the middle.

Just when you think you have done every exercise that is known to mankind for your back and then some, your therapist will come along with even more of them to keep you on the road to recovery. And while you may curse the day you meet your physiotherapist, this may be the best chance you have to recover from your lower back injury. Take it and run.

Doing the Correct Exercises for Sciatica

There are different kinds of exercises for sciatica depending on what is causing the sciatica. Sciatica is caused by spinal stenosis, herniated disc or piriformis syndrome. Each of these conditions is different and, therefore, requires different types of exercises to help relieve the pain, which may be in the foot, leg, thigh, buttocks or lower back.

Exercises for sciatica caused by a herniated disc are to help the pain and symptoms move from your lower extremities (feet, legs, thighs) back to the lower back. The best exercises for this purpose are press-ups or extension exercises.

The patient will lie on their stomach while propping the upper part of the body with the elbows and making sure the hips are on the floor. Hold this position for five seconds the first day and work up to 30 seconds each time. After the patient can do this easily without difficulty, the therapist will recommend holding up the upper body with their hands, making sure the arms are straight. This position will be held for only one second, but will be done ten times. These exercises should be done every few hours.

For sciatica caused by spinal stenosis, there is a very effective stretching exercise where the patient lies on his back and pulls his knees to his chest until he feels a stretch that is comfortable. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then go back to the starting position. This exercise should be done up to six times each session.

A strengthening exercise for the sciatic pain consists of lying on the back and pushing the lower back on the floor by tightening the lower stomach muscles and pulling the belly button in and up, holding for 10 seconds longs. Up to ten of these exercises should be done each session.

A good stretching exercise for sciatica caused by piriformis syndrome is the patient lying on their back with the legs flat on the floor. Pull the painful leg towards the chest, while holding the knee on the same side and holding the ankle with the other hand. Try to pull the knee in the direction of the other ankle until you can feel the stretch. Do not try to force it beyond this point, but hold it for up to 30 seconds. Release it and start again, doing this three times.

These exercises are just a few of the many stretching and strengthening exercises that are helpful in relieving the pain caused by sciatica. A physical therapist, spinal specialist or chiropractor will be able to give the patient an entire list of different exercises.