When you hear people complaining of back pain, the pain is usually in the lower back. However, not all back pain is low in the lumbar region. Some of it is up high. The reasons for upper back shoulder pain are usually different than the reasons why people get lower back pain. For the most part, there are some serious things that could be going on, but many that have this type of discomfort have done something to cause the pain, and there are some simple things that can help clear up the pain within a few days.
Sometimes, all you have to do is sleep funny to get upper back shoulder pain. If you like to sleep on your side or stomach, with your arms around your pillow or curled up in front of you, you can sleep in the wrong position, you can easily cause a muscle to pull or strain. This will be something that causes you discomfort for just a few hours. Usually simple yet slow stretches will alleviate some of the discomfort. If the pain does not go away in a few hours, it is more than just how you are sleeping each night. Topical lotions that produce heat can help.
If you work at a computer or desk all day long, and you suddenly feel upper back shoulder pain, it could be that you have been holding your neck, arms, and shoulders in a bad position. This often happens to people when they start a new job or get a new desk either at work or at home. They are sitting and working in a new position, thus straining muscles that may not have had much of a workout. The first clue this is happening is a sudden onset of pain.
For this type of muscle strain, it may talk longer than a few hours to get the pain to dissipate. The first thing to do with this type of upper back shoulder pain is to stop what you are doing. Allow your arms to hang and let your muscles relax if you can. If you have a muscle spasm going on, it is going to hurt not matter what you do. You should probably take some time away from your desk and apply ice to the sore areas to reduce inflammation (which causes a lot of the pain), and then heat to relax the muscles. You can try an over the counter anti-inflammatory as well.
If you have upper back shoulder pain that is not getting better with rest, medication, and heat-ice therapy, you may want to see your doctor. It could be that you need stronger medication that you can only get through prescription. Some injuries require a muscle relaxer to get this spasm to let up. You may also need to have your spine realigned by a chiropractor in some cases, though most spinal problems are in the lower back. A relaxation or deep tissue massage may also help to loosen things up and get you up and moving again.
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