The 3 Most Common Causes of Upper Back Pain

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The upper back region is located between the bottom of the neck and the bottom of the ribcage. The upper back is made up of 12 bones. The upper back is often referred to by doctors and medical specialists as the thoracic spine. The upper back begins at the bottom of the neck and stretches down to the bone right below the ribs.  Thoracic back pain can occur in any area of the back that is between these two bones.

The most common descriptions used to explain upper back pain is a pulling or burning feeling in one spot. The area of pain is often the place in which a strain or injury exists.

Upper back pain is not as common as pain in other areas of the neck and back, yet 1 in 5 women and in 1 in 10 men still suffers from this condition.

3 Common Causes of Upper Back Pain

Poor Posture and Muscle Deconditioning

Just as our muscles can be conditioned with weight training and exercise, the opposite is true too. Our muscles can be deconditioned by not properly using them. Back muscles can be deconditioned easily, such as by sitting with poor posture at a table or desk with poor posture for a long period of time. Slouching in a chair can cause a loss of muscle strength, leading to pain, weakening and other complications.

The good news is that you can condition or re-train the muscles to where they should be to ensure better posture and less back pain by doing corrective exercises and seeing a chiropractor regularly, to help ensure that the spine is in correct position so the muscles can be reconditioned to support a properly aligned spine.  Back pain treatments like chiropractic are proven to be highly effective.

Traumatic Injury

Traumatic injuries can also contribute to pain in the upper back. Situations like the following can result in pain in the upper back:

  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Falling
  • Auto accidents
  • Work accidents
  • Working out

Sometimes a back injury is obvious, with pain appearing right away. But sometimes the pain may develop over a longer period of time. Traumatic back injuries can range from mild to severe. More severe injuries to the upper back can increase a person’s risk of long-term complications, including nerve damage, chronic pain and paralysis in severe cases.

Chiropractic care can help to speed recovery in mild to severe upper back injuries by aligning the vertebra in the spinal column, helping to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord and improving blood flow. This encourages healing while reducing back pain.

Muscle Overuse

The overuse of back muscles can also contribute to upper back pain. This often happens when the same motion is repeated over time. Repetitive activities like pitching a baseball with the same motion every time the ball is pitched or lifting things above the head over and over again (like at work) can lead to muscle tightness, irritation or strain. This also can lead to the development of chronic pain if the signs are ignored.

Rest the area to treat and use hot/cold therapy to promote blood circulation to the muscle tissues that are overused. See your chiropractor to ensure that your spine is in proper alignment.