Neck Pain

Neck Aches Caused by Tight Thoracic Mid-Back Muscles

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Neck aches, soreness, and pain symptoms are not always neck-related. Tight thoracic or mid-back muscles can pull on the neck muscles causing various symptoms. Upper back tightness occurs anywhere from the neck’s base to the bottom of the rib cage. The bones in the upper area don’t move or flex as much as the neck and low back. This can lead individuals to believe there is nothing wrong with the mid-back, as there are no pain symptoms or signs of discomfort. However, individuals don’t realize how tight the muscles are, which can go on for years, causing neck issues. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can relieve symptoms, release, and relax tight muscles, increase circulation, and restore optimal function.

Mid-Back Muscle Tightness

The upper and middle back is the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine has twelve small bones called vertebrae. Each vertebra on the thoracic spine is connected to a pair of ribs. The ribs wrap around the body and attach to a long, flat sternum bone. This forms the rib cage. The bones in the upper back work with the ribs to stabilize the back and protect vital organs, including the heart and lungs. The tightening and pulling eventually cause neck aches that can come out of nowhere; even when not moving and looking straight ahead, there can be persistent dull achiness or stinging sensations.

Causes

Unhealthy posture, disc problems, injuries, fractures, or other issues or conditions can cause mid-back muscle tightness.

Posture

  • Constant sitting or standing combined with unhealthy posture and being hunched over can cause the muscles to tighten, limiting mobility.

Holding Onto Stress

  • Chronic stress can cause muscle tightening, whether it is in the low back, mid-back, neck, or elsewhere.

Hereditary

  • Individual genetic makeup may make the body more susceptible to muscle tightness.
  • For example, individuals with a lot of muscle tone vs. individuals with less muscle tone may experience muscle tightness more often.

Adequate Hydration

  • Being properly hydrated is important for muscle and joint lubrication.
  • Water provides nutrients to contracting muscles.
  • This keeps the body loose and ready for movement.

Muscle Imbalance and Underlying Weakness

  • Individuals that tend to work one side of the body more than the other or have repeatedly been moving in a certain way for years can cause muscle imbalances and trigger points to develop.
  • If muscle tightness continues, even after stretching, it could be an underlying weakness.
  • The muscles can sometimes seize up and guard, so they feel tight when they have become chronically weak and not strong enough to meet the physical demands.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care involves various therapies to address the root cause fully and relieve neck aches. These include:

  • Massage therapies to break up compacted muscle tissue.
  • Remove trigger points.
  • Relax the muscles to a pliable state.
  • Perform chiropractic adjustments to realign the spine.
  • Stretching and strengthening.
  • Posture training that includes stretches/exercises.
  • Nutritional plans to help strengthen muscles.

Thoracic Tension Release


References

Gatt, Adrianna, et al. “Anatomy, Fascia Layers.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, Jul 25, 2022.

Liebsch, Christian, and Hans-Joachim Wilke. “How Does the Rib Cage Affect the Biomechanical Properties of the Thoracic Spine? A Systematic Literature Review.” Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology vol. 10 904539. Jun 15, 2022, doi:10.3389/fbioe.2022.904539

Maciejewska-Skrendo, Agnieszka et al. “Genetics of Muscle Stiffness, Muscle Elasticity and Explosive Strength.” Journal of human kinetics vol. 74 143-159. 31 Aug. 2020, doi:10.2478/hukin-2020-0027

Modes RJ, Lafci Fahrioglu S. Anatomy, Back. [Updated 2022 Feb 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539746/

Page, Phil. “Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation.” International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 7,1 (2012): 109-19.

Petrofsky, Jerrold et al. “The Efficacy of Sustained Heat Treatment on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness.” Clinical journal of sports medicine: official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine vol. 27,4 (2017): 329-337. doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000375

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The information herein on "Neck Aches Caused by Tight Thoracic Mid-Back Muscles" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.

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