What is Upper Back Pain?
Upper back is a region between the base of the neck and the rib cage bottom. Any pain in this area is known as upper back pain. It can happen anywhere between the thoracic spine, which is the group of 12 bones that make up the upper back. Upper back pain is quite common among people of all ages and is less frequent. However, if it occurs persistently and becomes severe, it might be due to an underlying condition. Upper Back Pain SymptomsUpper back pain symptoms can be different from person to person. For some, the pain might last for some hours, while others can experience it for a couple of days. The intensity may also vary. If the intensity is high, you may find it difficult to do daily tasks without any discomfort. People often experience the following symptoms along with upper back pain:
- Sharp pain with knife-like feeling
- Discomfort due to throbbing pain that can spread to other areas like the neck and lower back
- Numbness or tingling sensation from the thoracic spine
- Stiffness in the muscles, ligaments, and joints
Who is at Risk?
There are a number of factors that can increase your chances of experiencing upper back pain. Below are major risk factors that can make you prone to upper back pain:
- Age: As we get older, our muscles experience wear and tear that may result in upper back pain.
- Weight: Excessive weight puts pressure on the lower back and often increases the chances of upper back pain.
- Occupational Hazards: People whose job required repetitive bending, lifting heavy objects or long hours of standing or sitting are at higher risk.
- Genetics: Certain types of genetic spinal disorders increase your chances of upper back pain.
- Lifestyle: Lack of mobility, smoking, and poor posture are some other risk factors.
In some cases, there are no risk factors involved. For instance, women experience upper back pain during pregnancy. It usually occurs during the third trimester since the baby grows in size and it increases pressure on the back.
Upper Back Pain Causes
Most of the people experience upper back pain at least once in their lifetime. One of the most common reasons for upper back pain is a muscle or ligament sprain due to overstretching. Some other upper back pain causes include:
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Facet joint dysfunction
- Degenerative disc disease
- Acute fractures or dislocations
- Muscle deconditioning and poor posture
- Myofascial pain
- Stress and anxiety
How is Upper Back Pain diagnosed?
Upper back pain diagnosis usually involves a simple process. Here is what you can expect during the diagnosis:
- Medical History: The doctor will ask you about the symptoms and your health history to determine the actual cause behind the pain. This also includes your lifestyle habits and injury history.
- Physical Exam: After collecting details about medical history, the doctor will conduct a physical exam by observing your body posture and checking any abnormality in the spine.
- Diagnostic Tests: To find the underlying cause, the doctor may also recommend tests such as X-ray, MRI and bone mineral density exam among others.
How is Upper Back Pain treated?
In most of the cases, people tend to alleviate the pain on their own if there is no emergency. The self-care treatments for back pain usually involve:
- Taking rest
- Ice or heat therapy
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for upper back pain
However, if self-care treatments do not reduce the pain, you must consider visiting a health care professional. Depending on your diagnosis, your upper back pain treatment may include:
- Physical therapy
- Medicine prescriptions
We, at Care.Fit, have a team of qualified orthopedicians who can provide you the best upper back pain cure. To book an online consultation, visit our website or app, and get the chance to avail discounts and cashback as well.
How can Upper Back Pain be prevented?
Preventing upper back pain can be done through various simple activities. Below are some of the easy and effective measures you can take to prevent upper back pain:
- Perform warm-up exercises and stretching before activities
- Avoid twisting your body while lifting heavy objects
- Take frequent breaks to stretch while working
- Have a balanced diet
- Quit smoking
- Maintain good body postures
- Regular massage to relieve muscle tension
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