How to Treat Your Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is the pain originating from the neck to the middle of the back. It is caused by a sudden injury or trauma, strain and poor posture. However the major reason for pain in the upper back is due to muscular irritation and joint dysfunction. The shoulder girdle is attached to the large muscles to the shoulder blade and the back of the thoracic rib cage. The muscular irritation in these areas is caused by overuse injury or de-conditioning.

The problems you are experiencing may be felt as a dull burning ache, or a more sharp pain that can be accompanied by a tightness of the muscles and a restricted range of movement within the upper back area. There are a range of other less common but more serious causes for pain in the upper back such as cancer, gallbladder issues (gallstones) or an infection in or surrounding the back.

Upper Back Picture

Causes of Your Back Pain

  • Sitting in the same position for a longer time.
  • Lifting heavy weights or objects.
  • Lung and respiratory illness.
  • Muscles spasms due to the strenuous activities.
  • Shoulder problems like bursitis, arthritis, separation, fracture and tendonitis can also cause upper back pain.

Conditions common to other areas such as within the back can also be common to the upper back area. Regular bad posture or hunching can put strain on the vertebrae, and these combined with the possibility of an injury can all cause pain in and around the upper back. Having spinal disc issues (eg: herniated disc) can also put pressure on the nerves in the spine and cause a sharp pain, or an ongoing chronic pain. It is important to realise that everyone experiences symptoms differently, and so you shouldn’t rely on trying to diagnose the condition yourself. Proper medical attention is always recommended.

As with other types of back and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis can also be a prime cause for a painful upper back. Common in 40+ individuals, this condition gets worse over time as the joint degrades and cartilage breaks down, resulting in a painful rubbing of the various joints. In the spine this can be particular.

Treatments that May be Prescribed to Relieve Upper Back Pain

When your upper back is painful you may be prescribed various types of treatment, the simplest of which could simply be to get more rest! Improper sleep position, inadequate sleep and stress can be a trigger for your back hurting. Ice packs can be placed on the upper back area for 20 to 30 minutes. Similarly applying hot packs can also prevent pain progression. Alternatively if you feel your back is inflamed then a coolpack or ice would help to reduce the inflammation and hence the pain. Painkillers and anti inflammatory medication can be advised to minimize the pain. Other alternative treatment can include chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture.

If your pain is not intense or severe, then you may be directed towards some general painkillers such as Advil, aspirin or Tylenol. You can also help alleviate your symptoms by resting your back, but making sure not to completely avoid using it. Complete avoidance of movement will result in more back stiffness and may actually worsen your pain.

Beside passive treatment for this type of pain includes massage to deep tissues, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) and ultrasound. You can also go for rehabilitation exercise which improves the flexibility of the joint and strengthens the upper back muscles. And most of all it is very important to correct any of the body’s incorrect postures.

Neck pain is also a common medical condition. It can arise from a number of diseases and disorders such as neck strain, degenerative disc disease and neck injury. Pain localised to the neck can also be caused by the infection of the spine in the neck (meningitis). This type of pain is commonly referred to as cervical pain, as it is in the area of the cervical spine.

The treatment for cervical pain includes neck strengthening exercises and sometimes further investigation. The injured area in the neck should be used as little as possible and you should take rest for a speedy recovery. At times when you’re experiencing pain in your neck, applying an ice pack works excellently at relieving pain. Pain control medications like ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help encourage a fast recovery.

Please note the above forms our personal opinion and does not constitute professional health advice. Before commencing any treatment regimes it is essential you consult a doctor or other health professional.

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