Hi, I have been dealing with this problem now for the past 3-4 years. It is mostly my upper back, shoulders and neck that get extremely tight, sometimes muscle spasm, and sometimes cause extreme pain surges so bad that I can't move.
My upper back, shoulders, ribs and neck are pretty much constantly sore to the touch and have a ton of knots.
I have tried massage, dry needling, chiropractor, muscle relaxation medication all with varying level of success. Chiropractor has probably been the most helpful however, when everything gets extremely tight, it seems to be less effective.
Any ideas on what I could try to fix this? Could dehydration be a cause for any of this? I know that I do a poor job of hydrating daily but wonder if that could be part of the problem.
I am an athletic 31 year old male with no other health problems.
The parts of the body you mention is where most people carry the tension and stress of their daily lives. I think you might find it useful to learn some deep breathing exercises and general stretches that are designed for people who work at a desk all day...and start drinking lots of water to see if that helps. The Mayo Clinic says men should drink 3 litres per day of liquids (and beer doesn't count!)
A lot of people "hunch" their shoulders without even realizing it. One "exercise" you could try that helps the spine in general is to lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet on floor. Place arms by the sides, palms facing up toward the ceiling, and keep the chin very slightly tucked (you want your spine to be in alignment, so be sure you aren't lying "crooked.") Breathe deeply from the belly so your stomach is rising and falling....and just lie like this for about five minutes, or longer if you find it enjoyable.
This is a position that allows the discs in the spine to unload and for all the supporting muscles to relax. I try to do this at least twice per day, once when I get up to get my spine in alignment for the day (I do it after my "back exercises") and then I do it again in the evening when watching TV. People generally find it very relaxing and feel better afterward...so give it a try.
You might find moist heat applied across your shoulders and neck to feel good as well. Otherwise check yourself as you go about your daily tasks to see if you are carrying tension in your shoulders and neck. Do some shoulder rolls, shrugs, etc. and breathe deeply to see if you can get things to relax....