You are here: Orthoped » Back and Spine (Chiropractor) Questions » Upper back tight, trigger point: Computer work

Upper back tight, trigger point: Computer work


I’m suffering from a tight upper back that I assume is tied to my computer work or some injury.
It becomes aggravated when i work on the computer or sit down with my arms in a certain position (forward?).
I’m going to have my right shoulder scoped for an impingement that hasn’t gotten better for abut 1.5 years.
I hate the stiff upper back because I can’t sitdown on my sofa without feeling the tightness and at times my lats (or at least a strand of muscle in that location) twinge and spasm.
It’s not painful but very annoying/aggravating.
I tend to try to stretch my lats and strengthen my middle back but I can’t seem to get the muscles to relax.
Plus if i tilt my head back I feel alot of tightness strain in my neck..Just wondering what I should try.
I’ve gone to a massage specialist but it only relieves it temporarily.
Went to another chiropractor but I felt like she was doing the same thing all the time without any results…


  1. When your upper back feels as if it has “knots” in it, you may be experiencing upper-trapezius strain, a common “repetitive straininjury” (RSI) of the upper back. A repetitive strain injury (RSI) occurs when too much stress or strain is repeatedly placed on ajoint or musculoskeletal tissue. In the case of tightness in the upper trapezius, causes could be linked to prolonged use of thecomputer or the telephone over extended periods of time, or to participation in recreational or sports activities. The uppertrapezius muscles are a large pair of triangular muscles that you can feel at the back of your neck and top of your shoulders.They move the head and the shoulder blades. Tightness and tenderness can result from simple everyday activities that occurover and over again (for example, cradling a telephone between your ear and shoulder). Targeting the strength of these andrelated muscles can be undertaken with the help of a personal trainer.The following simple exercises should help with upper-trapezius tightness in your work situation.Sitting with upright posture, perform 15-20 repetitions of each of the following exercises every hour that you are at a desk.1. Shoulder blade (scapula) pinchesRoll the shoulders back and pinch the shoulder blades together. (Repeat 15-20 times)2.Shoulder shrugsRaise the shoulders up toward the ears, then slowly lower them back down, avoiding “dropping” the shoulders. (Repeat 15-20times)3. Neck side-bendingTilt one ear toward the shoulder and hold briefly. (Repeat 15-20 times) Repeat on the opposite side for 15-20 repetitions.4. Neck rotation.Look over one shoulder, and pause briefly in that position. Repeat movement on the opposite side. (Repeat to each side 15-20times)If you feel any tightness or soreness in the upper trapezius after performing the above rotation exercise, do 1-3 repetitions of thefollowing static stretch. Hold each repetition for 30 seconds.5. Neck side-bending/rotation stretch In a standing or seated position, place the right hand on top of the head and let the left arm rest at the side. Gently press the head toward the right shoulder with the right hand. While the head is still in the side-bending position, rotate the chin down toward the shoulder so that you are looking atyour right hip. (The stretch should be felt on the left side of the neck/shoulder area. If the neck were a square column, thestretch would be felt in the opposite back corner.) Make certain to keep the both shoulders pressed downwards away from the ears. Repeat on the opposite side. (1-3 repetitions on each side for 30 seconds each).

  2. my shoulders tend to click/snap whenever I feel my upper back/lats get tight. I can feel my muscles snap when I lean back on a tennis ball to relieve the trigger point. At times the pressure of the ball on the back muscle feels painful up to my shoulder.