Upper Back Pain Caused
By Military Spine...

› [Upper Back Pain]

A condition called Military Spine can bring on an array of back pains ...you can check yourself with the simple, easy to do assessment below...

The upper back, or thoracic spine, is at the root of our stability and balance. Due to a limited range of motion, this area of the back is not naturally prone to damage unless it sustains a direct hit…

So if you are prone to upper back pain when sitting, or repetitive motion such as painting, plastering, cooking or other movement with a repetitive theme...Military Spine may be the cause...

A Simple Assessment
You Can Do...

 Have your partner or a trusted friend:

Refer to the picture on the right and...

  • Place two fingers at the bottom of your skull…
  • Run your fingers down the length of the neck, is there a curve that moves inward?
  • Then down the mid back, or thoracic spine, is there a curve that moves back out?

If one or both of these are absent, then you a Military Spine, also called Ramrod Spine or Straight Spine…

And when there are no front to back curves in the spine, this will ultimately lead to upper back pain...

 Causes Of
Military Spine...

  • Direct impact to the top of the head...
  • Whiplash injury...
  • Bad posture and sitting long hours at a desk...the most infamous cause of upper back pain...
  • Sleeping on several pillows (neck area)...
  • In rare cases, infection in the neck...

If you are in the plus forty age group and/ or a smoker, and there has been a slow or sudden onset of persistent upper back pain...if the cause is not an obvious one…

it is correct action to get professional advice quickly, and possibly diagnostic imaging (x-ray, CT scan, MRI)...

Your thoracic spine, or mid and upper back houses your vital organs...

You could be experiencing referred pain along the pathways of the nervous system to indicate a more serious condition…

Why Those With Upper Back Pain
Due To Military Spine Suffer More During 
Work And Everyday Activity...


To put it simply, if you have a Military Spine, you have a spine without a shock absorber...

The front (anterior) to back (posterior) curves of the spine absorb shock when we run, walk, sit...the curves distribute the load bearing outward instead of straight through the spine...


And that is why when the spine has straightened or become Military Spine you may experience:

  • Shooting pains and stiffness in the upper back and neck...
  • locked shoulders...
  • tight, burning trapezius and scalene muscles (those muscles on the top of your shoulders, and the muscles that run up the front of your neck)…

If you work as a laborer and have a Military Spine, your neck and upper back pain will be worse than other people's, who work in the same type of job ...

Taking these actions each day will help! :

  • Ice packs on your upper back (thoracic spine) will help at the end of your workday...
  • Massage the area; have a willing partner do this, or use one of the many massage tools sold on the market today, just do anything you can to unwind that upper back around your shoulders and neck on a daily basis...
  • Then put yourself into a hot bath or steam, use salts, essential oils (high quality please: cheaper versions tend to change to less beneficial compounds under heat.) for detoxification of the muscle tissue...

If the middle of your back (the thoracic spine) feels flat with no outward curvature (kyphosis) the possibility for a total correction is limited...and...

...continued abuse will increase the chance of disc degeneration early in your life...which will add to your pain. So, taking care each day now, will preserve your spine and save you from suffering more later in life!

The good news is this: Upper back pain from Military Spine responds well to the chiropractic techniques I have listed further down the page...

If it is a case of Military Spine in the neck there is a chance your neck can be re-shaped to the normal curvature with responsibly applied chiropractic…

And, you can do some stretching and strengthening at home or in the gym for neck pain relief... 


Other Helpful Strategies
For Relief...

 Taking measures to stay flexible and strong now, will pay off for the rest of your lifetime…

Doing any or all of these will make a significant difference in the health of your spine and how your body will feel on a day to day basis...

  • Chiropractic – 1x per week...
  • Massage/ trigger point therapy to detox the muscle tissues – 1x per week...
  • Yoga or stretching – 3x per week – home DVDs are a good way to start – I recommend Howard Napper for beginners and Jeanette Jenkins if you are in better shape. Sorry to have to mention this, but there are many yoga cults who thrive on people who are in pain, or who want a perfect figure and so on… this is why I recommend these two instructors as they are on my list of 'safe people'. I also have had great results from these workouts myself….
  • Swimming – as often as you like for as long as you like: This is useful non -impact movement that will also force a stretch in the intercostal muscles of the ribs...and this is beneficial to for your lung space as well as .
  • Cycling - If you are a cycling enthusiast, please make sure your bike fits you like a fine pair of Italian made leather shoes and no less! Riding a bicycle not fitted to you can cause pain...

 
Some Specifics If You
Choose
Chiropractic Care...

Activator Methods Chiropractic is an appropriate adjusting method for people who have a military spine.

 I recommend these techniques For Upper Back Pain:

  • A.R.T. - Active Release Technique
  • Activator
  • Thompson
  • Logan Basic and Acupuncture Combination
  • SOT – sacral / Occipital technique

I think these are the best methods to be treated with if you have upper back pain due to Military Spine, because they are far less aggressive than the traditional techniques you may associate with chiropractic…

The use of these methods offer more refined angles and lines of drive and a lesser chance of aggravating toxic muscle tissue during the adjustment...

That is chiropractor speak for saying that these methods avoid having the practitioner thrusting straight down into your mid-back....this move often causes nearby muscle groups to spasm and make the situation worse as soon as any tension, such as standing returns...So

If you have a Military Spine, please avoid those methods of treatment...

When you call for an appointment with a chiropractor, it is a good idea to ask which methods are used...don't settle, look around to get what you need...

  Joint pain can become a serious issue and it is up to you to select who will best serve you...


What Will Hurt...

  •  Running
  • Walking for over ten miles
  • Heavy impact sports – rugby, hockey, American Football...
  • Heavy, physical labor...

Impact on the spine from sport or endurance exercise will weigh more heavily on your spine and add to the array of  back pains  you may experience as a result...

I am sorry that is not happy news and I empathize with you; I have this condition myself...

So at the risk of being repetitive and redundant in my writing; I will repeat...

 when there is diminished front to back curvature, instead of getting the even, outwardly distributed shock absorption that the curves provide...

Your vertebrae (the bones in your spine) and your inter-vertebral discs (the spongy bits between the bones) are taking direct shock with no absorption as your body encounters impact…which, if ignored, will eventually lead to early degeneration in the disc material...

So please do everything you can to take care of your back now!

Know How To Take
Care Of Your Back...

In Summary...

If you want to do the five day hike, run the marathon, or play the football game...that is ultimately up to you, but it would be an intelligent move to…

  • Have your chiropractor and your massage therapist booked for treatment within 24 hours…

  • Have some ice packs on hand for your lower back and neck, because the pain will refer to those areas…
  • Do gentle stretching that your body is accustomed to immediately afterwards …

And most of all, make it your business to learn about your back and how to protect it...

Treating yourself as well as the professional athletes do would be a real plus...and...

even if you are limited by finances for the moment, a DVD and a bag of ice can make a huge difference in how you feel on a daily basis and for the health of your spine for the long term...

› [Upper Back Pain]

Disclaimer – This is information on joint pain. I teach, but I do not diagnose, prescibe or treat people who contact me. You are responsible for your condition using your own best judgement combined with what you have learned. Just a heads up - bodies carry unusual differences from time to time, in saying that, you could be one of those rare and unusual beings; if you are in doubt, please contact a physician in your area, so you can rule it out.

Move Freely and Knowledgeably and Be Well!

Dr. Jo

P.S...    “Greater certainty of your condition alone can be a powerful form of pain relief.”