Although upper back pain is not a very common spinal disorder, it can cause significant discomfort and pain when it does occur. The most common causes of upper back pain are muscular irritation (myofascial pain) and joint dysfunction.
Back problems are the most common physical complaint among American adults. Nonspecific back pain is a leading cause of lost job time, to say nothing of the time and money spent in search of relief. And it’s all because of one characteristic that makes us different from other animals: our upright posture.
Upper back pain, also called middle back pain or thoracic pain, is pain that is felt between the bottom of the neck and top of the lumbar spine. The upper spine is very strong and stable to support the weight of the upper body, as well as to anchor the rib cage which provides a cavity to allow the heart and lungs to function and protect them.
Lack of activity or poor strength of our muscles is a very common cause of upper back pain and can be treated through chiropractic cure, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy and various types of stretching exercises. Again an injury or strain in the joints between the ribs and the upper back can result in severe pain. Such a situation can be rectified by exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles and loosening the back.
Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips
Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back or lower back, especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity
Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods
Poor posture can lead to weakened muscles and strained joints and ligaments, setting the stage for more upper back pain.
Among the most common areas of pain are the trapezius—the large, triangular-shaped muscles of the upper back—and the shoulder blades.
The first step in determining upper back pain causes is to understand the different structures and conditions that may be affecting the back. Upper back pain causes can vary significantly which is why understanding the various and symptoms and components of upper back pain can help to determine how the back was injured. This understanding will also result in valuable insight when considering treatment options.
Joint dysfunction means a change in the actions of the joints that attach the ribs to the thoracic spine. Treatment usually includes spinal manipulation by a chiropractor, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication. It is possible that this joint dysfunction could be due to a trauma injury, usually a road traffic accident and could be a symptom of a vertebral fracture.
A generally less serious cause of upper back pain is back spasms. Spasms are characterized by spontaneous, abnormal contractions of the muscles in the upper back. Sometimes, these contractions may be a response to another type of injury, particularly in response to muscle strains.
One of the causes of upper back pain is poor neck posture which ultimately pushes the area between the shoulder blades out as the head goes forward.
Upper back pain can also be caused by arthritis.
Most commonly, arthritis affects the knees and other joints throughout the body, but it can also be a cause of upper back pain. Arthritis is any inflammation of the joints. The most common form of this disease is osteoarthritis. Sometimes symptoms of this condition can develop early on between the ages of 30 and 40, but most often it affects elderly people.