An upper back muscular strain is when muscle fibers in the back muscles are over strained or torn. It can be caused by a sudden excessive movement, or a prolonged amount of time in a poor position. The pain may come on suddenly or it might start once you have stopped the aggravating activity. With a sudden onset strain, the pain will usually be one sided and can be quite severe. Your back may be sore upon touch and the pain will be associated with activities and relieved with rest. It can cause the muscles to go into a protective spasm, which can leave you feeling stiff and fearful of movement.
When the onset is more gradual, the pain usually comes on during activities that place sustained strain on the tissues. For example when sitting hunched, your mid back goes into a sustained bend (kyphosis). This places considerable stretching forces on the joints of your back and will gradually cause ache or pain if sustained for too long.
This will gradually cause ache or pain if maintained for too long. This is otherwise known as postural syndrome. Pain is typically experienced as a dull ache in the mid/upper back and the pain will quickly ease upon moving or changing positions.
Treatment for Upper Back Muscular Strain
Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and decrease the likelihood of injury recurrence. Treatment may comprise:
- Joint mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Spinal and pelvic realignment
- Dry needling /acupuncture
- Deep tissue massage/myofascial release
- Exercise programs to stretch, self treat and improve proprioception, balance, strength and core stability
- Biomechanical Assessment
- Neural mobilisation
- Education / training advise/ phased return to exercise
- Activity modification advice
- Orthotic/Insole advice
- Ice or heat treatment
- Clinical Pilates
- Injection advice