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For the week of: 6/19/99  

by Christine M. Booras, B.A., LMT, CPFT

 

Question: "Can lower back pain contribute to a mid/upper back pain"

 

Answer: The answer to your question depends on several factors such as how you injured your back, if you are doing stretching or physical therapy,  nutrition, ergonomics, etc.

But, in general, it is very common to have pain and discomfort "travel" to different regions of the body, especially in the back. Muscles of the spine run from the base of the sacrum (near the buttocks) to the base of the skull. Changes of any kind in any portion of the back due to tightness, postural distortions and "favoring" can contribute to tightness and discomfort in areas other than the original problem spot.

Many times, the area where you feel the most pain is NOT the most injured or tight muscle, but the pain has been referred there from the injured region. There are many well known pathways for "referred pain" to travel from one part of the body to the next. I frequently use charts of these pathways to educate my clients about pain patterns.

If you are in pain, the best action to take is see a physician to rule out a major problem. If you have already done that, or if it is just uncomfortable or bothersome you may want to work with someone to release the tight soft tissue as well as learn some CORRECT stretching techniques.

In the case of soft tissue work, you can contact a Licensed Massage Therapist. For proper stretching instruction, you can meet with a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer or Physical Therapist. You may be able to find a LMT that also knows proper stretching, but ask them first if they have had training in it.

Improper stretching and ergonomics can actually make a soft tissue condition a lot worse.

Good luck!

by Christine M. Booras, B.A., LMT, CPFT

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