St. Louis Upper Back Pain Chiropractor
Most pain associated with the back generates from the lower back but that does not mean it can’t come from other places like the upper back too. Upper back pain is not as common because the ribs limit a person’s mobility here so it’s a very stable part of the spine. The upper back (thoracic spine) is located between the neck (cervical spine) and the lower back (lumbar spine).
When injuries or other conditions impact the upper back the pain they cause can quite easily be referred to the shoulders, neck and even cause headaches. Conditions like stiff necks can be a direct result of thoracic spine problems. Upper back problems are also known to cause numbness, weakness, stiffness and can even lead to a loss of mobility in the areas of the body it impacts.
Causes of Upper Back Pain
Much like lower back pain, the causes of upper back pain are not always obvious and the origin of the pain is sometimes hard to determine. The most common source of this type of pain has to do with the ‘mechanical disruption’ of muscles and joints in this area. Muscle and joint injuries such as sprains and strains are also key contributors to upper back pain. Trauma to the upper back, looking down in the same position for a long period of time (such as when working or texting on a cell phone) and even bad posture can be contributing factors to pain that originates in the upper back also.
Another possible contributor to upper back problems is a person’s lifestyle. Being overweight, lacking in back strengthening types of exercise, improper lifting and even excessive levels of stress have been known to bring on stiffness and upper back pain.
Certain medical issues can lead to upper back pain also. Slipped discs, entrapped nerves, arthritis or rheumatism often result in painful upper back conditions.
Just like the lower back, the upper back has a wide range of conditions which can act upon it and lead to anything from mildly annoying to extremely severe and debilitating pain.
Upper Back Pain Symptoms
There are a wide range of symptoms that are associated with upper back problems. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Muscle spasm
- Pain that gets worse when lying in bed at night.
Due to this area of the spines attachment to the ribs, it is not uncommon for someone to experience pain in the upper back when coughing, sneezing or taking a deep breath also.
Contributing Factors to Upper Back Pain
There are a variety of contributing factors and activities that can lead to upper back pain; these include:
- Bending in excess
- Whiplash type injuries
- Improper lifting
- Poor muscle tone
- Repetitive movements
- Carrying too much weight
- Overloaded backpacks
Constant poor posture, not taking stretch breaks at work, muscle fatigue, muscle strains and other factors like these can also contribute significantly to upper back problems that lead to various levels of pain.
How Serious is Your Upper Back Pain and What can be Done about It?
A large percentage of the time upper back pain is not too serious and will heal on its own if treated properly. By saying that it does not automatically mean that there is never a time when upper back pain does not require immediate medical attention or at least being seen by a doctor. If your upper back pain seems to come on suddenly and gets progressively worse, then you really should seek medical attention right away to rule out anything major being wrong with you; this is especially true after you have been subject to some type of trauma such as an automobile accident.
For most other cases of upper back problems the pain that accompanies them is usually just bothersome, inconvenient and very uncomfortable.
Here are some home treatments that work well for upper back pain:
- Gentle stretching
- Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Always take with food and strictly stick to the recommended dose.
- Ice(to reduce pain and swelling).
- Heat(only apply after the first 72 hours of first experiencing your upper back pain).
There are also additional treatments that your doctor may order. These will include such things as taking prescription medicines (such as muscle relaxants) or getting trigger point therapy to help alleviate muscle spasms. Other effective but all natural forms of upper back pain treatment include chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage and acupuncture; these types of treatment will promote natural healing and pain free living by means of hands on manipulation that will free up the body’s natural energy pathways.
Most cases of upper back pain will resolve themselves in 1 or 2 weeks when using the home treatments mentioned, getting some form of natural therapy done or by following a doctor’s advice.