When you suffer from upper back pain this means that you likely experience pain in the muscles between your shoulders and the middle of your back. This pain can be due to injury, strain, stress or trauma to those muscles or the surrounding area. Those who suffer pain in the upper region of the back may often experience a stiffness or discomfort in the neck and sometimes the arms as well. This can often accompany a limited range of motion in the neck and pain when moving the arms.
Without an effective pain management plan to relieve your pain and therapy to improve mobility, your upper body strength may diminish significantly. Failure to find ways to cope with pain to the upper back can lead to thoracic outlet disease.
Causes For Upper Back Pain
Because the neck, shoulder and upper back muscles are all interconnected, pain in one area can often expand to the other regions. So stiffness in your neck or shoulders and the subsequent tension can eventually lead to pain, stiffness and discomfort in the upper back area.
Of course injury in one of the main causes for pain to the upper region of the back. An injury or trauma, a pulled muscle or stress to any of the muscles connected to the back can produce this pain. Oddly enough, lower back pain can also cause pain all over the back, which can expand to the neck, shoulders and upper back. These muscles are a team and they can only be as strong as the weakest among them.
Although poor posture is often to blame for lower back pain, it can also cause long term upper back pain. Your standard posture determines where the main source of your back pain will originate, but eventually it will spread to the entire back, neck and shoulder muscles. Hunched shoulders can cause strain on the neck and upper back, constant slouching can affect the shoulders and neck.
Do you see how it’s all related?
Regardless of the exact causes of this type of back pain, there really are just two: joint dysfunction and muscle irritation. These two causes are rooted in damage to discs, tendons, muscles, ligaments or a combination.
Pain Relief Treatments
Is there anything that can be done to help those with upper back pain find relief? Of course there are medical and alternative back pain treatments that you can seek out with the help of your primary care physician or physical therapist.
The first course of action for any kind of back pain is immediate relief, usually in the form of painkillers. Whether you use over the counter pain relievers or pain creams, this is usually the first step in alleviating back pain. If you find that over the counter pain relief is unsuccessful you can talk with your doctor about prescription pain meds. These pills come in higher doses, can be habit forming and provide no long-term relief.
The best way to cope with back pain and relieve it is to employ regular stretching and exercises. Stretching will relax the muscles in the back, shoulders and neck so that tension isn’t keeping the muscles tightly—and painfully—coiled. Exercise will strengthen the muscles so they are less susceptible to future injuries and pain.
Unless there is a spinal injury, there are many non-traditional methods to treat back pain. Massage therapy can help relieve the pain and tension in back muscles, and when coupled with regular exercise and pain relief can be quite effective. Other non-traditional methods of pain relief include physical therapy, acupressure, chiropractic medicine, yoga and acupressure.
Many holistic treatments can help provide short and long-term relief from pain. Not all treatments will be effective for all back pain sufferers, but these non-invasive treatments can easily be switched up until you and your doctor have found a pain relief plan that works.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011