Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can be caused from a number of different conditions. Generally, upper back pain is not as common as lower back pain, but there are still conditions that may affect this portion of the back. Increasingly, upper back pain can be attributed to poor posture, particularly when sitting for long periods of time at work, as well as overuse and not lifting objects properly. However, there are serious conditions that could be responsible for various types of pain throughout the upper back.
To better understand back pain, it is important to be able to identify the specific parts of the back. The spinal column of the upper back is composed of the cervical spine (neck) and thoracic spine (directly behind the chest) segments. Each of these can be affected by a number of ailments. In addition, there can also be damage to the vertebrae and cartilage, such as with a herniated disc. Additionally, the area is also made up of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that can each be affected by various conditions or diseases, as well as by injuries or trauma to the upper back.
Most cases of upper back pain involve the ligaments or muscles that attach to the vertebrae. Usually, this can be due to a number of different factors including poor posture, overuse, repetitive lifting of heavy objects, or a related injury. Also sudden, awkward movement can also cause upper back pain, such as when twisting or bending.
There are also other ailments that could cause upper back pain. Scoliosis is a disease that causes the spine to have an abnormal lateral or sideways curve in the spine. Serious pain can result with this condition and it can lead to serious deformities if left unchecked. In addition, arthritis is sometimes the culprit of pain in the upper back. Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and could occur in the spinal column between the vertebrae. This condition could cause cartilage to become worn and inflamed, causing pain or difficulty during movement.
The main symptom of upper back pain is usually pain that is localized to the upper or middle portion of the back. Muscle spasms might also occur, which is when there are involuntary, uncontrolled contractions of the muscles. When taking a beep breath, coughing, or sneezing, pain might also be felt in the back. You might also feel discomfort when the area is touched, and it could move to other portions of the back such as the neck or shoulders.
Muscle spasms might signal the early stages of upper back pain. In many cases, intermittent ice packs or heat pads might help to reduce pain that might be associated with soreness. This generally helps to reduce pain and helps to loosen muscles that might have become stiff. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications might also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. Special exercises are also available to help reduce pain from the affected area and also strengthen the upper back to prevent further episodes of pain. Physical therapy might also be considered to treat pain and help with stretching and strengthening the back.
In the majority of upper back pain cases conservative treatment methods, such as those already mentioned, are needed to treat the back and reduce pain. If pain continues or gets worse after several weeks of conservative treatment, your physician may need to recommend further treatment methods to help relieve pain associated with your specific aliment. Preventing further upper back pain can also be done through regular stretching and exercise. Sitting in front of a computer is increasingly the cause of upper back pain so it is important to make sure to get up and stretch regularly to keep upper back pain from occurring.
Questions & Answers on: Upper Back Pain
QUESTION: Hi, I have localised upper back pain between the scapula and spinal cord for over 10 years now also palpitatios dizziness and pepperish sensation all over the body what is wrong with me?
ANSWER: Chronic back pain can be caused by many different spinal problems. Since you are experiencing the pain in the upper back it is possible that you have a pinched nerve, which would result in the "pepperish" sensation, but since you say it is all over your body, along with dizziness and heart palpitations, it is possible that you might have a growth of some kind along your spinal cord, which could affect the blood flow and cause the palpitations. Have you ever seen a doctor about this problem? Normally, it would be suggested to gently stretch and exercise the area and see if that helps, but the chronic nature of your problem suggests that it could be a larger problem.
Degenerative disc disease is a not really a disease but the degeneration of the protective discs in between the vertebra of the spine. It is possible that slowly over the ten years that your discs have become thinner and weaker, allowing the bones to rub together and cause pain in your neck and upper back. Degenerative disc disease can eventually lead to bone growths (or bone spurs) because the bones are rubbing together. These bone spurs can put pressure on spinal nerves, causing numbness, a "pins and needles" effect and also sometimes sharp pain.
Since you have experienced this pain for a very long time and it is increasingly getting worse, you should definitely see a doctor and have a MRI done or a Cat scan to see if there is a more serious problem.