Fortunately Upper back pain is not be as common as lower back pain but it can also prompt extreme discomfort and possibly pain just as severe. It is frequently caused by myofascial pain or muscular irritation and dysfunction on the surrounding joints, including naturally the joints of the upper spine and the neck; the joints of the shoulders. Degeneration on the upper back discs may occur but this condition is too rarely observed among upper back pain sufferers. A slight dislocation of one of the bones in the shoulder girdle can cause enough strain on the upper back muscles to lead to serious upper back pain, even headaches.
Both the myofascial pain and the joint dysfunction can best be helped with treatments in the forms of:
- Active and passive physical therapy and daily exercise – stretching the arms above your head; rotating your shoulder sockets separately or together, forward and backward; rotating your head slowly and holding it in place for a count of ten in different positions; bending forward to touch your toes (or as close to it as you can) a hold it for a count of twenty. These are some of the easiest and safest active passive exercises you can do to relieve upper back pain. They will stretch and help relax the muscles of the mid back, upper back and neck regions.
- Chiropractic Adjustments – if the above mentioned exercises don’t relieve your pain, a visit to a competent doctor of chiropractic surely should. Very often when I had a patient who had trouble falling or staying asleep, I often found the reason to be a vertebra between T2 and T12 (Midback/Thoracic spine) to have been displaced anteriorly. The segment moved forward to where it is supposed to be. A doctor who knows how to identify and move it back into place will be your miracle worker.
- Massage therapy or deep massage – a deep, slow massage that will relax the muscles so much that it will even pull bones into place in some cases. Get a good recommendation. I can’t tell you how many massage therapist I have gone to who did not know what they were doing. If you can’t identify a muscle how can you massage it? Frankly, you can never go wrong with a great massage for whatever is ailing you.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a complementary clinical practice that necessitates stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions. It is identified with Chinese Medicine because it was developed thousands of years ago in China, numerous recent studies conducted by scientists in Europe and the United States have found that acupuncture is more than moderately effective in treating pain and nausea.
The back bone is divided into several categories and each are at risk to different factors. As much as lower back pain is a condition that affects the lower portion of the spinal bones (lumbar), the upper back pain is mainly due to irregularities or impairments on the thoracic (mid back) spine. While the lower spine and the neck are intended to allow us for greater mobility, the thoracic spine is designed to protect the internal organs that the section covers and to help the framework of the body to hold itself in its respective postures. The mid back is less movable than the other parts of the spine. It has more joints because along with the intervertebral joints there are also the costovertebral (ribs) joints. A dislocated costovertebral joint is extremely painful because it restrict your movements. Breathing can be painful in those situations.
Because this section of the spinal cord are created for limited movement and more stability, it’s susceptibility to injuries and degeneration is much too less when compared with what the lower back is facing. Additionally, upper back may develop lesser disorders and like herniated spinal disks, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.
Upper back pain is often the results of poor posture or extreme trauma. Unfortunately, the most recent cases documented for upper back pain typically came from people who work continuously in front of computers. Upper back pain often occurs with neck and shoulder pain.
There is another cause of upper back pain that Doctors encounter and only in women with excessively big breast. That is when the breasts are so big they are putting strain on the upper back muscles and bones. One of my patients referred to it, with humor, as the painful blessing. In some women it is the natural large size of their breasts that causes the pain when the rest of their body does not catch up. A breast reduction surgery will take away the pain, some mothers are happy for the recommendation because they can also use the opportunity to get perkier.
Women who had small breast and did an enlargement that was too large, often prefer to continue to suffer rather than get a reduction to a more tolerable size. My recommendation is often looked upon with distain.
Bad sleeping postures can also cause neck and upper back pain. Since we are unconscious of what we do when we fall asleep, we can only prevent upper back pain by what we do prior to falling asleep. We can avoid sleeping with more than one or too high of a pillow. Try not to sleep on your stomach. Try not to watch TV in bed – often you have to prop your head up to watch TV and subsequently fall asleep in that position.
Rarely, thoracic disk disease is the cause for upper back bone. Though this often is the case with lower back pain, the case is the opposite with thoracic back pain since lesser mobility is created with this spinal bone part.
Another less occurring condition responsible for upper back pain is the trauma that may cause the fracture or extreme injuries on the thoracic vertebrae. In this case, there is no room for neglecting the condition. This needs immediate medical assistance via early diagnosis to measure the damage incurred and to formulate the ideal treatment plan.
The upper back carries nerve supply to the heart, lung, head, stomach – pain in the upper back can be a signal to future trouble in those areas. Take care of your upper back.