Upper Back Pain

Pain experienced anywhere from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage is called upper back pain. It’s not as common as neck or lower back pain but can be equally troublesome and stressful.

Upper Back Pain Symptoms

Upper back pain symptoms may vary as per the severity and cause of the pain. For example, mild to moderate upper back pain symptoms include:

  • Aching pain
  • Muscle stiffness & tightness
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Headache

Whereas chronic upper back pain symptoms comprise:

  • Intense pain or muscle spasms
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in the legs/buttocks
  • Fever, weight loss due to unknown reasons
  • Bladder or bowel-related issues

Chronic upper back pain requires immediate medical attention to prevent the worsening of symptoms and physical deformity.

Upper Back Pain Causes

A variety of medical conditions and injury-inflicted trauma can cause upper back pain. Common upper back pain causes include:

Strains & Sprains Back sprains & strains are quite often the reason behind upper back pain. They are generally a result of injuries to muscles, ligaments, or tendons, sudden awkward movements, repetitive actions, or heavy lifting with poor form.

Improper Posture Maintaining a poor posture over a prolonged period of time leads to different types of back pain, including upper back pain. It also culminates in long-term issues such as finding it difficult to keep a straight back, walking in a bent manner, etc.

Spinal Disc Problems Spinal disc issues such as herniation, degenerative disc disease, etc., can cause chronic upper back pain.

Bone Fractures Bone fractures in the spine suffered during a fall, injury, or accident can cause severe upper back pain.

Arthritis Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis is among the top causes of upper back pain.

Upper Back Pain Diagnosis

Upper back pain diagnosis generally begins with the healthcare professional enquiring about your medical history, lifestyle, and symptoms.

A short physical examination may be conducted to gain insight into the type of pain and its potential cause. Depending on the results of the physical exam, one or more of the following diagnostic tests could be prescribed:

  • Spine X-Rays
  • MRI Scan
  • CT Scan
  • Bone Density Test
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Blood Tests

Upper Back Pain Treatment

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