Many times when someone with either neck or low back pain comes into my clinic, they are shocked to discover that there is another place on their body that hurts. Usually this place is in their mid back where their ribs connect to their spine. What many people don’t realize is that the muscles that run up our spine start just above our tail bones and connect to the base of our skulls. So, if there is tension, say in the middle of the back, it is not such a reach to see how that could cause pain either above OR below that area. This is the case for many people with spinal pain.
Today’s story continues to highlight patient’s who I have treated recently with trigger point dry needling. The person I am focusing on originally hurt her back in late 2015 picking up some heavy chairs. Shortly thereafter, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that exacerbated her mid back pain and caused whiplash on top of that. Her symptoms were treated with muscle relaxants. Although the neck pain and headaches eventually disappeared, the mid back pain continued to plague her. She reported that sitting for any length of time (she has a desk job by the way) increased her symptoms and that whenever she attended a class at the gym, she had to be very careful not to do specific activities or work out “too hard” because it would ultimately flare her up. All this mid back pain has ultimately led to a life of behavior modification and dissatisfaction.
After I had my initial evaluation of this person, it was obvious that she was in very good health with the exception of some very tight, very painful muscles in the middle of her back. She could not bend backwards, sit for long periods of time or pick something up heavy off the ground. The years of not treating the dysfunction (tight muscles) and only treating the symptoms (pain) with meds had caused weak, tight and ropey muscles that wouldn’t allow her to sit, stand or workout the way she wanted to. We identified the spot that seemed to be the tightest and most restricted, then with just three needles, we treated the painful tissue. At the conclusion of the treatment, we assessed her movement and symptoms. She already had a 25% increase in backbend and the tenderness to pressure had greatly subsided. The very brief period of discomfort felt while the needles where going in were totally “worth it” by the way she felt afterwards.
Testing your own body for these types of symptoms is easy. Simply press on the muscles directly in the middle of your back. If you can’t reach, have a friend or family member do it for you. If you feel any tight, ropey or painful tissue, chances are, you have knots. The good news is, they can very easily be addressed with some trigger point dry needling or other types of soft tissue treatment techniques we use. If you want to get rid of tight ropey muscles in your back, give us a call today so you can start feeling better. 479-268-6040.