Even though upper back pain is not as common as lower back pain, it can still cause a lot of discomfort and pain for those who are affected by it. Upper back pain which is commonly known as thoracic pain is mostly caused by muscle irritation. A herniated or ruptured disk can also cause upper back pain. In between each vertebra is a disk cartilage that cushions the vertebra. Over time these disks become harder and less elastic due to wear and tear. When one of these disks begin to bulge out from the spinal column it can cause pressure on the nerves and sensitive tissues and cause upper back pain.
Upper back pain can be caused by trauma due to a car accident, sports injury or other type of injury. A strain due to twisting, bending, sitting in the same position for long periods of time or carrying heavy items can all lead to pain in the upper back. It is also possible to have a strain that may be posture related. By having poor posture you can be putting undue stress on the muscles and the spine. Shoulder and neck pain are generally seen with upper back pain. The shoulder blade and the back of the thoracic rib cage are attached together with a large muscle. Therefore these large upper back muscles are more prone to muscle irritation and can be painful.
Scoliosis is another cause of upper back pain. Scoliosis is a condition that causes an abnormal curvature of the thoracic spine. There are a number of causes for scoliosis. Some include neuromuscular problems, genetic conditions and spinal deformities. The majority of cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning doctors don’t know the cause.
Upper back pain can also be caused by arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that is usually affects the knees, elbows and other joints, but can also affect the spine as well. One of the most common forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown and loss of cartilage. Another cause of upper back pain is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the breakdown of bone tissue. This is a degenerative disease that causes the loss of bone tissue density.
Fibromyalgia is another condition that causes upper back pain. This condition can cause inflammation of the connective tissues which results in chronic upper back pain. A less serious condition that can result in upper back pain is a spasm. A spasm is a contraction of the muscle, this could be a result of a injury or strain.
What can you do for upper back pain? Finding the cause is the first step to treating upper back pain. Consult your doctor to rule any out serious conditions. If it is just a strain, rest as much as you can. Taking over the counter pain medication like acetaminophen could possibly relieve the pain. There are also topical pain relief creams that you can buy at the drugstore. You can also try heat or ice to relieve the pain. If the pain is more severe your doctor might try muscle relaxers, these are used to release muscle tension. Steroid shots are sometimes used to reduce inflammation. Seeing a chiropractor is another form of treatment.