Tight Muscles in the Upper Back and Neck: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Exercise

Tight Muscles in the Upper Back and Neck– Majority of pain that an individual experiences in shoulders, neck, or the upper back or thoracic region is due to stiffness of muscles in these regions.

What Are The Causes Of Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck?

An individual can experience stiffness or tightness of muscles in the back, shoulders, and neck as a result of various activities like weightlifting, sporting activities, having a poor posture with sitting and standing, or as a result of twisting the back or neck in an awkward manner. Muscle stiffness occurs when the muscles of the body are stretched beyond their normal limits. In case if an individual feels stiffness or tightness in the neck, shoulder, or the upper back then performing gentle stretching exercises daily goes a long way in helping to loosen up the muscles and decrease the pain. Tightness of the muscles in neck is chronic and develops over time gradually becoming worse until treatment is sought. This muscle tightness does not allow adequate blood flow in the muscles and hence the muscles do not get adequate nutrition required for them to function normally thus making these muscles weaker resulting in further tightness.

Tight Muscles in the Upper Back and Neck

What Are The Symptoms Of Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck?

The main symptom of tightness in the muscles of the upper back and neck is aching discomfort in the upper back and neck area with diminished range of motion of the neck along with tenderness around the neck and shoulder blades. The affected individual may get relief with gentle stretching of the muscles and application of heat to the affected regions.

What Are The Treatments For Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck?

If an individual experiences tightness in the muscles of the neck and upper back, then he or she should seek a consultation with a physical therapist for routine massage to keep the muscles relaxed and well toned. Maintaining a good posture when sitting or standing is also extremely vital. One can also do strengthening exercises for the back to strengthen the back muscles. Ultrasound therapy can also be used so as to help the tight muscles of the neck and the upper back.

Exercises For Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck

Some of the exercises which an individual can do to relax or loosen the upper neck and back muscles are:

Back Rotations: These exercises help to loosen up the muscles which facilitate rotation of the spine in either direction to include the erector spinal muscles and the deep spinal muscles. This exercise is especially beneficial for individual who feel stiffness before embarking on sporting activities like golf that requires powerful torquing motions. To do this exercise, stand inside a door frame with the back about a foot away from the side without hinges. Keep the feet flat on the floor and rotate to the left and grab the door frame with both hands. The individual should maintain normal breathing and maintain the same position for about 10 seconds. One can also press against the frame so as to deepen the stretch. Now, repeat the exercise in the opposite side.

Back Rotations For Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck

Shoulder Stretching: This exercise loosens the deltoids, which is one of the most used shoulder muscles and prone to stiffness and tightness, along with rhomboids and trapezius muscles of the upper back. To do this exercise, one should stand straight with the feet kept about a foot apart. Now, cross the left arm over the chest such that the fingers point away from the right shoulder. Once can also hold the left elbow with right hand and pull the arm closer to the body so as to deepen the stretch. Maintain this position for about half a minute and repeat the stretch with the other arm.

Shoulder Stretching For Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck

Neck Rotations: Neck stiffness or tightness can be caused as a result of abrupt twisting motions of the neck which strain the neck muscles or even with poor sitting or standing posture. Neck muscles can also get stiff by sleeping in a wrong way. Neck rotations go a long way in relaxing the neck muscles. To do this exercise, sit straight in a chair looking straight. Keeping the head straight, turn the neck towards the left until the chin is right over the shoulder. Then place the left hand on the right side of the chin and the right hand behind the head such that the fingers touch the left ear. Now, slowly press backwards with the left hand and forward with the right hand together so as to twist the neck slightly more. Now, return to the starting position and repeat this by turning the head to the opposite side.

Neck Rotations For Tight Muscles In The Upper Back And Neck

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 19, 2018

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