Inflamed Cervical and Thoracic Muscle Attachments

Muscles attach to the spine via tendons. These tendons can become inflamed, often through overuse. The muscles in the upper back and neck are prone to this due to poor posture (see Scoliosis / Kyphosis).

Symptoms

  • Pain in the upper back during and after exercise especially between the shoulder blades.
  • Pain when you press into the bony bits on the spine.
  • Pain is mostly aching although may occasionally be sharper.
  • Pain may be worse in static positions such as sitting at a desk or driving.

Causes

If the small postural muscles are not strong enough to hold the spine in a good position, then the larger, global muscles (such as the Trapezius and Rhomboids) have to work harder to try to maintain a good position. This results in them being overworked, becoming tight and pulling on their attachment points to the spine.

Treatment

What can the athlete do?

  • Rest until there is no pain when you exercise.
  • Ensure you have correct posture at all times.
  • Apply heat to ease muscle tightness (only once pain and inflammation have gone).
  • See a sports injury professional.

What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?

  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Use sports massage techniques.
  • Use joint manipulation techniques.
  • Apply ultrasound therapy.
  • Tape the back to encourage good posture and relieve pain.
  • Prescribe a full rehabilitation programme.
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