Middle Back Pain

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    Middle Back Pain

    Hello!
    My husband is in his mid-50s and has middle back pain, mostly when we walk, which he doesn't want to give up but other times too. He's had a desk job (working at a computer) for 24 years that is a definate contributor. X-rays and MRIs only show slight athritis and small curvature. He's done physical therapy, chiropractic and uses an inversion table. He does light stretches and very light yoga (easy twists). He is working on building strength and his core. Sometimes, the pain is better than other times but it can get pretty bad. Does anyone have any experience with this type of pain? Or any suggestions of what kind of exercises\stretches he can do? The obvious options of a different job\retiring and giving up walking\hiking are not viable. Thanks in advance!

    #2
    This may sound weird (and it is more my lower back) but squatting (conventional and front) really helped out my back a ton. As the weight goes up you have to brace with your whole trunk (really watch that form) and it strengthens everything. Deadlifts also help around the low back/hips but I do more volume than weight on those.

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      #3
      CODawn that sounds painful. That said, the inversion table looks like an instrument from the Spanish Inquisition... Does he find it beneficial?

      The desk job is the scourge of the modern world (but most of us seem to have them so I guess we'd better get used to it).

      If he finds the stretching and twisting helpful then I would suggest to gradually extend the range of motion and perhaps the hold time as well. What I would also suggest (if this hasn't been done before) is to keep a "pain diary" - a bit like a food diary; if he tries logging when it comes on, what he's doing and how intense it is - this may provide some insights as to what's happening.

      Damer - any suggestions?

      EDIT: has he tried Pilates?

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        #4
        I am not sure about middle back pain, most of what I get is lower back. I had a slipped disk for the first time when I was 18 or so, and have thrown it out every 5 years or so since then. Part of the problem is a specific movement when playing basketball or soccer that I try not to repeat.

        For me, carrying around the extra weight up front was a huge contributor. I am pretty sure it changed my body mechanics enough that my back had to compensate.

        A job that requires sitting is the worst. One time a doctor recommended that I get up to walk for 5 minutes out of every hour. That helped, plus it helps against the other drawbacks of sitting all the time.

        Incidentally I have discovered that what I thought was back pain was actually stiffness in my hip joint. It was not u til getting into better shape that I could differentiate the two discomforts, but that could be part of the problem too, in that it is not just one problem

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          #5
          Thank you Azercord, Martyn and CaptainCanuck. I will pass on all the info. And I think the inversion may help but it doesn't feel great on the "ex" hernia area that was repaired a few years ago.

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            #6
            Appart the exercises you mentioned, I'm thinking in some others that will help to relieve the pain and stretch the muscles in that area. In fact, I'm sure he's already doing them. For example some "hold poses" from yoga like Cat-Cow, Child’s or Cobra. Maybe Opposite arm/leg raises (doing on the knees mode), Bridges and W-extensions. One more can be to hold the arms in W-pose and hands in the doorframe, and go forward and back with the torso, stretching the back (see here corner chest stretch).

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              #7
              Thanks Cabriel. I will let him know. He is doing some of these but I didn't even know about the W-pose with the stretch.

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                #8
                Martyn thank you for tagging me here. CODawn this sounds like a weak core and possible tight hip flexors. We have a number of workouts that address back mobility issues: https://darebee.com/workouts/lower-back-workout.html and https://darebee.com/workouts/back-pa...f-workout.html and https://darebee.com/workouts/back-pa...a-workout.html. Like in most such cases it is a question of increasing physical activity to counter physical muscular and skeletal deficiencies but doing so in a slow, structured way so you can see what works best. I hope this helps.

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                  #9
                  Thanks Damer! I will pass this information on to him.

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                    #10
                    My tip for your husband's back would be to lie on the floor on his back and rest. Find what bits touch the ground and which don't. Do the knees need to be bent while lying on his back?
                    Explore ranges and planes of motion, slowly and stop where there's resistance or pain. The more you do it the more the back will relax and you can then build the strength up to support the torso better.
                    Best of luck

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                      #11
                      Thank you Rathgar.

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                        #12
                        I also spend quite a long time in a sedentary state at the computer. And this has a negative impact on my health. I didn't notice it at first, until the pain was like hell. I tried for a long time to find a way to get rid of this pain. I turned to a large number of doctors. But often I was sent to massage courses, which only temporarily relieved me of pain. After that, I decided to find some recommendations on the Internet. So I found this forum) After a while, I found Larson Chiropractic. At first, I thought that this was a fake site that would not help me in any way. But since I had no choice, I tried. To my surprise, my application was reviewed quickly, and treatment was prescribed. I attend these sessions periodically and I am happy with the result.

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                          #13
                          TimPaige see the post by Damer above.

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                            #14
                            I've had 3 hernia's so far (all in 2 years time) and still have some lower back issues now and again. I also have a mostly sitting desk job. For me it helps to have a desk on which I can switch between standing and sitting. At the office I have a desk that I can 'crank' up to the desired height. At home I have built a stationary desk topper with 2 'levels': one for sitting (using my laptop screen and keyboard/mouse on the desk) and one for standing (using external monitor and a removable plateau for the keyboard/mouse). If you have IKEA in your country, my mom bought a sit/stand desk there that she likes very much and her budget isn't that big (for work-at-home, of course). At the office you may be able to ask/negotiate about better work equipment.
                            Also I recently invested in a saddle stool. So when I sit, I sit more active. (i.e. not slumped)

                            I also continue to do the exercises my physiotherapists gave me through the years. So that's what I start each day with. My exercises are for the lower back, however. So repeating them here might not help much. If your husband has the opportunity to see a physiotherapist to get some specific exercises for his back problem, that would probably be a good idea. But he'll have to continue doing those. (some people have a hard time keeping to their given exercises, according to my last physio)

                            I know how wrecking and tiresome recurring back pain can be, so all the best to your husband.

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