Sitting at a desk with tense muscles, pelvic misalignment, and a tight low back all contribute to upper, mid back, and rib pain.
Pain between the shoulders blades or up near the base of the neck is a common complaint. When we look at the X-rays of people who experience this chronic tension and pain, we find that spine is pulled tight against the shoulders. This allows for very little freedom of movement and exerts a pull into the neck. If the pull is tight enough, we may experience nerve pain down into the arms.
We will often find that the pelvis is not level and the lower back is very strained. Any structure needs a stable, level foundation. The pelvis is the foundation of the spine, and any instabilities or unevenness here is translated into deformation of the curves of the spine. Chronic pelvic misalignment pulls on the low back until it is forced to recruit the midback for support. For more information on how important your feet are to this process, read the Foot Spine Connection.
Sitting at a desk enforces this deformation as we bring the head and the arms forward, often tensing our shoulders and upper back at the same time. When we are really concentrating, it’s very normal for us to tense the muscles of the body. This is a habit that can be unlearned, and taking the time to consciously relax our shoulders and neck will create new subconscious programs that keep our muscles relaxed even when our mind is focused. The best way to do this is to practice - give yourself 10 minutes a day where you can consciously focus on keeping your whole body relaxed even while you type or use the mouse. Choose a simple activity that doesn’t require much focus so that you can use that attention to monitor your muscle tension as you use your hands. A small foam roller can be used to provide back support. Its placement will differ depending on whether your spine is neutral, has too little or too much curve.
In any chronic pain situation, frequent and consistent chiropractic care is needed. There really is no better way to unwind the spine than by finding a skilled chiropractor. Realize it’s not the force or “cracking” of the adjustment that’s important, it’s identifying and adjusting a particular subluxation, or joint misalignment, when that force will be beneficial. Over time, this will allow fluid movement in the muscles and joints of the body and restore the nerve impulses that are part of the brain - body connection to optimal levels. The time required is dependent on how long the problem has been there and the severity of its impact on the body.