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Upper back pain while sitting down/at computer

Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:09 am
by IceDane
I know the topic sounds like it's a classic case of wrong computer posture, but the thing is that I've been at the computer for several hours a day for years now, and I have never, ever had a back ache from sitting at it.
On top of that, I do have some problems with my tailbone that I won't go into as they're irrelevant, for everything else but the fact that they force me to sit upright, so I'm not slouching or anything.

I'm not entirely sure when this started happening, but it probably just around last weekend. If I were to describe its location, I'd put it around the lower part of the "Rhomboideus Major Muscle" on this picture: ... uscles.jpg.
Paraphrased, it's not very far below where the spine meets the neck, where you can feel a slight 'ball'.

What do you think this could be? I did a maximum attempt for the deadlift last wednesday, but nothing went wrong and I did two reps and I'm even going to try for more weight. I have, however, not done any upper back work since friday before last, and I was wondering if this could be something due to imbalances? Isn't 2 weeks a bit short for that to develop? I also just started sleeping with a new pillow, in case that can have any relevance.

I'm also pretty sure that my general posture when standing up is correct - I've been checking myself since I started working out and I'm almost 100% sure that it's correct.

As always, I appreciate everyone's input and the time you've taken to read my post. I really don't want this to become a problem so I figured I'd nip it in the bud.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:17 am
by Onlyethic
It sounds like everything you think is irrelevant (tail bone) or maybe-relevant (pillow, deadlifts) is almost certainly very relevant.

The tailbone thing might be forcing you to sit bolt-upright, but if you don't have proper development across the back (particularly in mid-back), obliques, and transverse abs, you might be pulling yourself up with upper-back muscles, instead of pushing or propping yourself up with midsection muscle.

The pillow sounds like a very likely cause as well -- 8 hours of pressure, especially if it's the wrong kind, can do damage.

And of course, a DL max could have been an acute trigger to all the chronic causes that created a build-up.

This, of course, is only a layman's view (some of the professional trainers here will be able to be more accurate), but I've also suffered from severe upper-back pain (see my last post) and can relate.

My folk-advice: change out the pillow for a week to the old one; stay off DL's, and pay attention to the way you sit -- not just the posture (the visible effect), but also how you're creating that posture.

Good luck.

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:36 am
by frogbyte
It seems unclear what kind of pain this is. Does foam rolling help? That would probably indicate it's a soft tissue pain.

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:41 pm
by IceDane
Sorry for the late reply - decided to let it play out.

I'm not sure what it was, but whatever it was, it's gone now. I have a feeling I may just have slept in some awkward position and then woken up and then perhaps tried to sit awkwardly to rectify it, which may just have worsened the pain.

The advice is much appreciated, though.

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:47 pm
by ApolytonGP
I started getting both tight back and some discomfort after several months of weightlifting (and about a 50% strength gain). I did a few things to work on it, but I think what helped the most was FOAM ROLLING, kind of concentrating on the upper back and getting a crack to it. and I do side to side on each side (which feels weird because of shoulder blades and spine, but might as well). I really think it was getting a little flexion in that helped me. Not posture. I am good to go and had no exercise decreases. Just one data point, but FWIW...

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:44 pm
by caangelxox
^^^I use a golf ball too between the shoulder blades

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:01 am
by Ironman
That reminds me of a joke. There was this guy with some golf balls in his front pants pockets. He was sitting down at this country club. He noticed this lady staring at his crotch. He said "It's golf balls". The lady look at him sympathetically and said "Oh I see. I've got tennis elbow, myself".