Fibromyalgia and Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain is another area that can cause a lot of grief with fibromyalgia. Often the culprit could be trigger-points.
Trigger-point pain is caused by specific areas that usually stir up trouble in different areas of the body. You could rub a spot and get very little relief if the pain originates somewhere other than the upper back. This is very common with fibromyalgia.
There are several good books that explain in detail what trigger-point pain is and how to relieve it. Along with diagrams and pictures of the human frame pinpointing common locations where trigger points may occur. I highly recommend the Frozen Shoulder Workbook. I use this information to do self massage myself. If it weren't for the clear illustrations and material I don't think I would really understand the shoulder area well enough to do this type of work on myself. It has been invaluable to me. There are also illustrations of different massage tools with specific instruction on how best to use these items for your benefit. Massage therapists also weren't able to help me here and sometimes just made the pain in my neck and back get even worse. Understanding these principles will help you if you do decide to work with a therapist. At least you will understand it enough for yourself to know if "they" know what they are doing and are qualified to do trigger-point therapy without the risk of causing spasms to get worse.
Here are some specific tips that you may find helpful. This is especially true if you do understand the basic fundamentals of trigger-point massage.
Upper back pain between the spine and shoulders
If you have tightness or muscles that feel like hard ropes it may be very unproductive to rub these bands of tissue. The best thing often is to search the scalenes for tender areas that will often be enflamed and sore. Often you will find these spots along the collar bone. I find that you will get a release of pain in the upper back if you massage these other areas in the scalenes.
Your goal here is not to force or rub vigorously, but to tease the muscle into letting go of the tension. You will get greater results if you relax and keep this in mind while you do trigger point massage. Breathe deeply and imagine the knots loosening and releasing.
It is often recommended that you use your fingers to do scalene trigger point massage. To do this, you must constantly keep your fingernails clipped and filed very short indeed.
I often find it helpful to use small wooden balls with pegs in them for this or the Jacknobber. Another tool that works in a pinch is the end of a toothbrush that has a rounded rubber handle.
Just remember to relax, stay warm enough, and always breathe deeply.
You could also listen to soothing music, pray and keep a positive and loving attitude.
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Often it is advisable to try massage after a nice warm bath. Your muscles will be warmed and relaxed. Only work on one muscle for a few massage strokes at a time.
Be aware of tension and relax.
Always stretch gently after trigger- point massage for a few minutes. This will ensure long lasting upper-back pain relief.You may find that during your stretching, many areas in your upper back begin to release and open up. Pain may subside. Your range of motion may increase. Afterward you should sit or lie down quietly and during that time your muscles may continue to release.
Having a cup of chai tea with lots of fresh ginger in it would also be very helpful. It will warm the muscles and ease tension.
This could be especially important also in colder weather to keep your muscles from having spasms which are common with trigger-points and fibromyalgia and can be very painful. Particularly with trigger points anywhere in the upper back area.
Recipe for chai tea:
Boil 5 minutes, then steep 10 minutes:
1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/4" ginger root, sliced thin
1/4 tsp black pepper corns
7 Cups water
Add, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes: 2 Tbsp Darjeeling tea or other high quality black teaAdd: honey or natural sweetener (to taste)1 Cup milk or part half and half
Heat to serving temperature.
I don't recommend you buy instant chai tea because it has lots of sugar which knocks out your immune system. That’s the last thing you need with fibromyalgia. Besides, they taste horrible compared to your own fresh brewed tea made just the way they make it in India. By the way, chai just means tea in India.
Trigger-points that cause pain in the upper back can be very frustrating and aggravating. But you can find relief from upper back pain that may be caused by fibromyalgia.
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