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.
What Causes Upper Back Pain
The human spinal web is divided in three major sections
The thoracic spine which exists to not only give the body its stability but also to protect the major organs and for that reason, is much stronger that the other two.
The cervical spine is closely related to the neck area and its main purpose is to allow the body to move and flex.
The lumbar spine is associated to the lower back and its main role, as with the cervical spine, is to give the body its flexibility and movement.
Joint dysfunction - Joints are the connection between each rib and the thoracic spine. Sustaining an injury to the joints can cause them to stop functioning properly and cause upper back pain.
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.
How to Treat Upper Back Pain
The recommended treatment for myofascial pain is deep tissue massage, manipulation of the spine by a qualified physiotherapist, very light shoulder exercises and even a dose of acupuncture. Stretching and strengthening your shoulder muscles are a must if you want to be finally free from upper back pain.
Joint dysfunction is usually best treated by direct injections of steroids in the problem area or areas, light aerobic exercises, prescribed medication and manipulation of the spine by a qualified physiotherapist
Upper back pain causes are very hard to diagnose and should you be unfortunately suffering from it, the best professionals to see are firstly pain management specialists like chiropractors and physiotherapist and if the pain still persists, an orthopedic surgeon.
Exercises for upper back pain
If your pain is bad and lasts for a few days, go and see your doctor. Chances are that he will start you on exercises for your upper back to help recover from injury. Exercises that are often recommended include the following which should only be done after being advised by your doctor:
Standing in the corner of a room, about two feet or so from the wall. Put your hands on the walls at chest height. Then lean in to the corner until your shoulders are level with your hands. You will feel the stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. Don't lean in past your shoulders though since this can cause injury.
Stand or sit up straight. Now pull back your shoulder blades so that it feels that you are trying to touch them. Feel the stretch across your chest and shoulders.
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