Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is pain felt in the upper back region, also called middle back pain or thoracic pain that is pertaining to the chest that comprises the upper portion of the spine and corresponds to the chest area. Upper back pain can occur along with neck pain and/or shoulder pain. It is as common and troublesome as lower back pain due to the high probability of it occurring from our daily life activities.

The upper back region is the most complex area of our body because of the many joints in that area and how they work together. Upper back pain can cause a lot of discomfort and frustration because it hinders our ability to perform daily activities like brushing our teeth, or driving a car.

The most common causes of upper back pain are due to muscular irritation/imbalances or joint dysfunction, the former also being responsible of postural dysfunctions. Postural dysfunctions cause abnormal alignment of the head and shoulders and abnormal positioning of the joints that further leads to increased wear and tear of the joints, muscles, and ligaments, even disc. A trauma or injury can also result in upper back pain.

Muscle irritation and upper back pain is most often caused either by de-conditioning (lack of strength), or overuse injuries such as repetitive motions. Lack of activity, poor posture, overuse of the back, whiplash (injury from a car accident), sprains and strains to the muscles from a sports injury or fall, and exertion caused by sitting at a workstation for too long, are all common contributors to upper back pain.

Treatment for upper back pain can be a combination of physical therapy such as exercise, massage therapy, chiropractor treatment or joint manipulation, acupuncture, ice and/or heat therapy (applying ice or heat packs to the painful area), taking pain relieving medicines or muscle relaxants and anesthetic injections or trigger point injections can be helpful in relieving the pain.

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