Do Your Arms Make Your Back Hurt?

Uncategorized Sep 21, 2022 your arms can make your back hurt?

Check out the picture below:

Does your overhead motion look like the model under suboptimal when you lift your arms overhead to get a glass from an upper shelf or serve during your tennis game?

Maybe you are unsure.... Let's find out.
Place your left hand on the bottom of the right rib cage. Next, lift your right arm straight up in front of your body and then all the way up, so it is next to your ear while keeping your elbow straight.

Did you notice your ribs moving underneath your left hand? If not, try again and see if you feel them moving.
Did you feel movement now? Not sure?

Place your left hand on your low back where you feel the arch in your back. Lift your right arm again as described above.

Do you feel the arch in your back getting bigger or moving away from your hand?

If you answered yes to either the hand on the rib cage or the hand on the back, you are using a lot of effort, primarily through your back muscles, to move your arm. This motion will create excess pressure and movement through your spine and back muscles, which can create tightness and discomfort in your back.

In the picture above, the model under 'optimal' stops moving his arm when he no longer has motion in his shoulder joint versus using excess movement through the rest of his body, creating compensation, discomfort, etc.

So how can you get more or improved shoulder motion so as not to have your arms make your back hurt?
Last week we covered a two-step exercise for the neck and shoulders.

Guess what?

This simple process has many benefits, including helping decrease tension in your low back while helping improve shoulder motion.
If you missed last week's blog post, we have included it below.

Before you start, check your motion in your rib cage and low back when you move your arms overhead. Then compare after you complete the process below.

Find a comfortable place to lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Be sure to support your head and neck as pictured below.  

  1. Place your hands on your upper ribs near your armpits. Inhaling and exhaling gently and slowly through your nose, send your breath towards your hands on your upper ribs. Repeat for eight gentle breaths.
  2. Hold a small towel or yoga strap between your hands with palms facing each other. Continue breathing as above and after you start your exhale, imagine you are pulling the strap apart between your hands. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
  3. Recheck how your head and neck motion feels now.

Hopefully, after doing this simple two-step process, you found your shoulders easier to move and noted fewer restrictions and discomfort and less tension through your back.

Have questions about this exercise or the next step to improve your shoulders and back?  Be sure to reach out.  We can help.


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