middle back pain

Why Does My Mid Back Hurt When I Look Down?

From Gray's AnatomyDoes your mid back hurt when you tilt your chin forward to look at your toes?  Do you feel a pull and a strain between your shoulder blades?

Pain in the mid back between the shoulder blades is quite common, but massages on your tight, sore muscles won’t alleviate your discomfort.  It’s logical to expect that pain in your mid back would be caused by tight muscles in this area, but to really get an understanding of what’s going on here, we need to back it up a step and look at more than just your back.

First of all, we need to understand the two kinds of tight muscles: those that are locked short and those that are locked long.  Muscles that are locked short are just that – muscles that have contracted and won’t let go.  Locked long muscles, on the other hand, are being stretched, usually by the muscles that are locked short, and they’re hanging on for dear life to keep you in some semblance of balance.

This is exactly what’s happening when you experience pain in your mid back while looking down toward your toes.  Those muscles in your mid back and along your neck are already being pulled to the greatest length they can manage; when you add the increased strain of looking down, it’s more than they can handle.  The pain that you feel is the same kind of ache that happens when you try to stretch any tight muscle – you reach the end of your flexibility and the brain sends a signal to the muscle to contract.  At that point, you’re engaged in a tug o’ war against your own body.

Your mid back pain is a result of tight shoulder and chest muscles.  In many cases, it’s also a result of your rib cage being pulled down by weak obliques and tight hip flexors.  Whenever you feel pain in one area of your body, it’s very likely related to far more than just the localized sensation.

To get lasting relief for mid back pain, you’ll need to stretch your hip flexors and open up the front of your shoulder.

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