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.
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.
Unhealthy posture, disc problems, injuries, fractures, or other issues or conditions can cause mid-back muscle tightness.
Chiropractic care involves various therapies to address the root cause fully and relieve neck aches. These include:
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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