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Upper Back Pain After Sleeping

Postural Upper Back Pain - Upper Back Pain While Sleeping

Postural mid back pain is a common and often painful problem. The upper back is the nexus of lots of moving parts. Your neck above is supporting the fifteen pounds of your head, your shoulders are dealing with the stresses you place on your arms, and your mid- and low back are moving the rest of your body.  Usually related to weak or poor posture, it can begin with an injury, accident or from long-term habits.  Over time, posture stress causes pain and breakdown ( i.e. Arthritis /Degenerative Joint Disease) in the spine and other joints from daily wear & tear.   Then, during a lifetime of moving certain ways habitually, along with any new injuries you suffer, your motion becomes restricted to certain patterns only, rather than throuunbalanced posture figuregh a full range of motion, and your body becomes more and more unbalanced.

Upper back pain is usually positional-- it gets better, worse or different as body position changes. Frequently episodic, pain may come on after over-activity or without apparent cause, and is triggered as body adapts to mechanical stress, weak posture and inefficient motion. e.g.

  • Upper back pain after sleeping
  • Upper back pain while sleeping
  • Excessive sitting or hunching over a computer for hours at a time
  • Standing, bending or being in an “awkward position”
  • Upper back pain when moving
  • Chronic posture stress such as carrying a heavy backpack, pocketbook, or child

You get better at doing whatever you do—right or wrong—as your habits shape your body. The modern sitting lifestyle most of us practice, whweak sitting manere we drive to work, slump at a computer all day, then drive home and slouch in front of a TV, provides all of the ingredients for shaping your body in profound and painful ways.  Maybe your head juts forward from staring at a screen and the traffic ahead, perhaps you slouch with poor posture while doing so, and/or your shoulders roll in from typing and holding a steering wheel.  Those stresses, individually and especially when combined, can result in occasional or chronic upper back pain.  And when you’re in pain, you compensate and adapt your body motions in even more unbalanced ways, creating a vicious spiral that makes you weaker and more prone to injury.

See Posture Science for more info on body compensation, adaptation and how posture distortions tighten overused MUSCLES, weaken underused muscles, stretch and distort ligaments, and pinch and traction nerves teaching the body to move in uneven, stressed motion patterns.

Related Conditions: Postural adaptive muscle strain; Pinched nerve in back; Intercostal Neuralgia; muscle imbalances, muscle pulls, muscle strains, muscle weakness, myofascitis, Rib out of place; Thoracomyodynia; Thoracic neuralgia

Self-Help Solutions: Upper Back Pain Relief

posture ball exercises>Do Posture Exercises every day to strengthen posture. Posture exercise can help restore the full range of motion your body needs to thrive. To counteract forward head posture, rolled-in shoulders and the like, start with StrongPosture® exercises such as BALL TILT and progress to the BALL STRETCH.

Read Stand Taller Live Longer to begin a 7 week self-help posture exercise program to improve posture.

>Be conscious of your posture

  • Head tall and strong
  • Shoulders back and chest open
  • Pelvis Tucked and centered

>Change body position and posture frequently

  • Adjust your chair,car seat or anyplace you spend time often during the day
  • Alternate which arm you use to carry loads such as a pocketbook or child


>KEEP MOVING- The Body Is Made To Move

  • Take frequent body-stretch breaks
  • Stretch your body opposite to the way you have been using your body.


>Best Sleeping Position for Upper Back Paincorrect sleeping position

  • On your side, with a pillow under your upper arm, and a contoured cervical pillow under your neck to keep head aligned with your spine.
  • Consider an upper back pain pillow of memory foam or supportive fiberfill or waterfloat pillows.
  • Change your sleeping position if you are a stomach sleeper!
  • Upper back pain when sleeping is a strong indication you need to change your sleeping habits, and work to improve posture during waking hours!

>Avoid regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen, etc) and over the counter pain medication to avoid stomach, liver and kidney damage associated with frequent use of these drugs. 
58% of people using NSAIDs more than 3 months have ulcers. NSAIDs cause 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths/year (Wall Street Journal, 10/2006)
Try Topicals for equal or superior pain relief.  Also, try alternating hot and cold compresses (15-20 minutes) to relax tight muscles and relieve pain.


Consult a professional if pain is severe or persists over two weeks

Posture Specialists relieve upper back pain sleeping by freeing locked joints to restore full-range mobility and alignment.  Chiropractors reduce mechanical stress to balance motion and nerve function.
Massage Therapists apply gentle pressure to relax muscle spasm and break up soft tissue & fascia adhesions to remove restrictions to full, balanced joint motion.
Osteopaths, Physical Therapists, Trainers, Coaches and other Posture Professionals also help sufferers of upper back pain

SITE DISCLAIMER & Health Note : If there is no trauma and pain initially begins in the chest, if the pain is not affected by motion, or if there is fever, nausea, vomiting, uneven pulse, anxiety, a sick feeling, burning urination, loss of bowel or bladder control, or severe pain, call your Physician.


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