Close links between lower back and neck and shoulder pain

22 August 2016

Do you suffer neck and shoulder pain and/or lower back pain and possibly headaches or migraines?

They are among the most common areas of pain treated by remedial massage therapists like myself.

You may experience pain in just ONE of those areas (eg. neck and shoulders) on its own and you could probably justifiably assume that is where the major focus of the massage would or should be.

So it often comes as a surprise when I explain things in detail and show you the close connections between lower back and neck and shoulder pain.

In other words, there’s no point just massaging the main problem area. In many cases, it’s even best not to work too hard or too long in the sore areas. Soreness (pain) means those areas are inflamed – even if not noticeably – and it makes no sense to inflame that area even more.

If you go to any physical therapist who only works in the already sore areas, is it any wonder they won’t really make a difference and may in fact be making the problem worse or prolonging it!

I always like to ask the question “Why?” Why is an area sore? What has caused or contributed to that problem in the first place?

Many clients tell me they carry all their tension in their neck and shoulders. That would seem logical – particularly with university students and jobs such as admin, call centres, other computer work, and extended driving such as taxis and trucks.

However, more often than not, the pain you feel in those areas is caused by those jobs aggravating an already existing problem you are not aware of.

If problems start lower in the body – say feet or hips/lower back – and travel upward, they simply can’t go any higher than neck, shoulders or head.

When people mention pain, the NECK/SHOULDERS and the BACK are often singled out as if they were individual entities. However, the neck is the CERVICAL SPINE, so anything affecting the neck area also will have an impact on the lower back, and vice-versa.

One very strong connection often overlooked by many remedial massage and other physical therapists is the Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) muscle. It assists the Pectoralis (Pec) muscles to draw the arms around to the front.

Think about how much time you spend during any average day with your arms around the front.

But the Lats also attach to the lower half of the spine, to a number of ribs and also to the top of the hips.

So any time your arm is drawn around to the front (most of an average day), the Lats are active and therefore impacting not only in your shoulder area but also right down into your lower back.

That will usually end up helping to pull one hip higher than the other, which then helps cause muscle imbalances in the legs.

When people complain of lower back pain, one contributing factor almost certainly is imbalances in their neck and shoulder muscles – although there may be no regular or noticeable pain there – and VICE VERSA.

That’s why with every remedial massage I look at the big picture and treat not just the pain areas but also look at ALL the contributing factors.

Fill out the details on my CONTACT page, give me a call or text on 0438 774819 or email me at [email protected] to make a booking. Treatments are by appointment only.

David Hall ©


Mount Louisa-based Townsville Massage and overall musculoskeletal therapist specialising in Remedial Massage for headaches and migraines, all types of muscle and/or joint aches and pains, and preparing for and recovering from all types of exercise, sporting and fitness activities including the range of Defence fitness tests. Guaranteed best value for money remedial massage in Townsville. CALL NOW on (07) 4774 6973 or 0438 774 819 to book an appointment.