Upper Back Pain – Causes and Relief Methods

If you find yourself frequently visited by pain or discomfort in the back, usually located from the shoulder blades or on the part where the rib cage and the chest are connected, then you are experiencing upper back pain.

The major causes of this type of back pain are muscle irritation and joint dysfunction caused by stress and wrong posture. When you are overworking yourself, especially with the wrong posture, then you are giving your upper back so much strain and burden. This results in upper back pain.




Upper back pain is a condition that should never be taken for granted, especially if you are a frequent victim. When you experience this pain most of the time, you won’t be able to work normally as you will be bothered by the pain. This type of back pain can also make us feel more fatigued even when we did not do anything strenuous at the moment. This is because it is located near the chest, giving pressure to your lungs, making you breathless when the pain attacks.

This is the reason why treating upper back pain is important. You shouldn’t put your health on the stack by ignoring the pain. You can get relief from this pain through massage, especially if the pain is not severe. There are also medications aimed for the relief of this type of back pain. You can also do some back exercises that are also effective in releasing the stress from your body and chest area so that relief from back pain can be achieved.

But most of all, when it comes to treating and getting relief from this back pain, you should never ignore the importance of consulting your doctor to know what treatment is best and necessary for you. Or better yet, you can prevent the hassle of looking for the best upper back pain treatment by taking an ounce of prevention, which is always better than a pound of cure.

Things to Learn About Upper Back Pain

Even if upper back pain is not necessarily a type of spinal disorder, it can still create tremendous pain and discomfort when it occurs in a person. Therefore, it is also beneficial that we learn about the causes of this type of pain in order to be able to prevent it from occurring.

Causes of back pain

The most usual causes of upper back pain deal with irritation in the muscles and dysfunction of the joints. Although very rare, it is also possible that the pain can be due to injury on a disc such as the degenerated disc or the thoracic herniated disc located in the upper back of our body.

It is crucial to remember that the thoracic spine is not similar in function and form with the lumbar spine or the cervical spine. The main function of the lower back and the neck is to provide mobility to our body, while the thoracic spine provides us with the stability and strength to stand upright and serves as protection for our vital internal organs located in our chest.

Since the thoracic spine has great stability, but limited movement; there is a minimum risk of having injury or degeneration in the upper back over time. In most cases, due to the lack of motion and stability anatomic causes of upper back pain can’t be established, and a CT scan or MRI scan will seldom image an anatomic concern that would need a surgical solution for the pain in the upper back.

Thoracic means the chest and thoracic spine cover the mid back and upper back section of the spinal column that match up to the chest region. There are twelve vertebrae in the middle of our spine and ribs that compose the thoracic spine. The joints between the top lumbar vertebra and the bottom thoracic vertebra are the part that allows our body to twist from side to side.

Known Causes of Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can take place as a result of sudden injury or trauma, or it can appear through improper posture or strain over time. Often, this type of pain happens in association with shoulder and neck pain.

All the known causes of upper back pain can be grouped in the two following causes: Muscular irritation and Joint dysfunction.

Muscular irritation or myofascial pain occurs at the large upper back muscles that are prone to being irritated that can be very painful and not easy to work out. More often than not, the pain at the upper back and muscular irritation are caused by either lack of strength or injuries due to overuse as in repetitive movements.

Sports injuries, muscle strains, vehicular accidents, or other injuries can all lead to pain due to muscular irritation. This kind of upper back pain will not be remedied using manual treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, or passive physical therapy.

Since the pain in the upper back is in connection with the large muscles located in the shoulder area, stretching and strength exercises will minimize the pain.

How to treat?

When you suffer from this type of pain, it is helpful to see an osteopathic physician, a chiropractor, or a physiatrist to help you eradicate the pain in your upper back. You can also check this program which helps back pain patients to get rid of sciatica by doing 8 proven stretches.

If ever there is a particular point that is very soft, the pain might be caused by an active trigger point. Acupuncture, massage therapy, a trigger point injection or a combination of these can work to eliminate the pain in your upper back.

The ribs are connected to the vertebrae in the thoracic spine by two joints which connect with each side of your spine. Therefore, dysfunction in these two joints will lead to upper back pain.

Manual manipulation is the usual treatment for this type of upper back pain. To help move the joint and minimize discomfort, you need to see a chiropractor, physical therapist, or an osteopathic doctor. In addition, pain medicines can also help eradicate the pain.

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