Also known as the thoracic spine, the upper back is the region between the neck and lower back. This part of the body is responsible for carrying the weight of the upper body as well as connecting parts of the skeleton to each other such as the rib cage to the spine.
Upper back pain usually manifests in three stages. It can either be mild, moderate, or extreme in which case you’ll need to consult a spine surgeon in Santa Ana, CA or your local area. The level of upper back pain is usually dependent on the causal factors.
Symptoms of Upper Back Pain
The main symptoms of upper back pain include:
- Muscle stiffness in the region
The article below will highlight some of the top reasons why you may be experiencing pain in your upper back.
Reasons Why You May Be Experiencing Upper Back Pain
1. Poor Posture
Naturally, the spine should be neutrally aligned. Hunching shoulders for too long while seated or standing can lead to increased pressure on spinal discs, muscles, soft tissues and ligaments found on the upper back hence inducing discomfort and pain.
Ideally, when seated, you should push your shoulders back. When standing, you should try to stay upright so that your weight remains evenly balanced on both feet. Additionally, if you usually remain seated for a long period of time, use an ergonomic chair that keeps your spine upright.
2. Traumatic/Severe Injuries
Severe injuries can lead to herniated spinal discs in the upper back and in the process induce pain. These injuries can occur as a result of incidences such as a car accident, slip and fall accidents and improperly lifting items for a long duration of time.
In case your upper back pain has been caused by a traumatic injury, it is important that you visit a doctor immediately. This is because when left unchecked, traumatic injuries can lead to more debilitating injuries such as nerve damage.
3. Overuse of Muscles
Repetitive overuse of muscles can lead to upper back pain which can manifest itself in the form of strained muscles, tightness in muscles and irritation.
If the culprit for your upper back pain is overused muscles, you can try DIY treatments such as resting often and use of heat/ice packs on the affected region. You can also visit a masseuse or a physical therapist to know of the exercise you can undertake to relax your muscles and improve blood circulation.
4. Muscular Atrophy
Just like exercises help to strengthen muscles, failure to use muscles for a long time can de-condition them and put more pressure on the upper back hence leading to pain.
To get rid of pain caused by this condition, consider taking part in exercises that keep your muscles active and strong such as weight lifting.
5. Herniated Disc
The upper back is part of the spine’s musculoskeletal system. The spine is made up of different bones – and in between these bones there is usually a rubbery cushion (disc). When the discs in the upper back become misaligned and poke out, they can put pressure on the spine which can lead to pain.
A herniated disc can be treated through surgery, taking anti-inflammatory medication or rest.
It is important to take steps to mitigate upper back pain no matter the level of pain you may be suffering. Note that when left unchecked mild pain can quickly become chronic. As always it’s recommended to consult a local specialist or spine surgeon in Santa Ana, CA like Hamid Mir M.D. to decide on the next best steps.