Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain is unusual than lower back pain. But upper back pain can cause significant discomfort and pain to the person who does suffer from it. Often muscular irritation, or what is termed as myofascial pain, and joint dysfunction is the cause of upper back pain.
However, injury to a disc in the upper back, such as a herniated disc or degenerated disc can also be the cause of upper back pain.
About the Upper Back
Your upper back is sometimes referred to as the thoracic spine, middle back or mid-back. “Thoracic” means that it pertains to the chest. Your upper back is not built for much mobility, unlike the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (lower back).
Instead, it is there mainly for support: to keep us stable as we stand upright and to protect the vital internal organs in the chest.
Upper back rarely suffers the risk of injury or degeneration because of this unique design of it. But as what has already been shown, upper back pain does occur and the symptoms can be as bad as lower back pain.
Upper Back Pain Treatment
Most cases of upper back pain are open to manual treatments. If the upper back pain is due to muscular irritation caused by de-conditioning (lack of strength) or overuse of injuries (such as repetitive motions), this type of upper back pain may be treated by:
- Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
- Exercise/active and passive physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Deep massage
Most of the rehabilitation programs available for upper back pain treatment are heavy on stretching and strengthening. The reason is that upper back pain is related to the large muscles in the shoulder area which must be targeted when exercising to treat the pain.
There is also another technique used for upper back pain treatment. The technique identifies a source of the upper back pain in a particular tender area, called the trigger point.
Upper back pain relief can be achieved by treating these trigger points. Massage therapy, acupuncture and trigger point injections with a local anesthetic (such as Lidocaine) are the treatments that use this concept.
Manage the Pain Yourself
Not many people want to consult the doctor immediately after feeling any discomfort that may well turn out to be nothing. With upper back pain, you can take self-care steps to provide relief, such as:
- Proper Sitting Position –Instead of bringing your eyes, head and neck to the paper you are trying to read, bring the paper to your eyes. Hubert Rosomoff, M.D., D.Med.Sc., medical director of the University of Miami Comprehensive Pain and Rehabilitation Center in Miami Beach advises people to adopt this method.
- Sports Bra – In women, upper back pain relief is achieved by wearing a sports bra that provides better support. Karl B. Fields, M.D., associate professor of family practice and director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina suggests this technique.