Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain, also called thoracic back pain (AKA middle back pain), is becoming more of a problem for many people. This is not surprising for people who spend most of their time hunched over a laptop while they work. Upper back pain can also be due to a trauma to the neck, such as whiplash from an auto accident or even herniated discs and can range from mild to moderate. It affects people of all ages, but it does not get the same attention as the lower back pain or neck pain even thought this pain is serious.
The pain in the upper back develops gradually. Some of first symptoms of upper back pain may include a dull pain between the shoulder blades, which slowly spreads to the shoulders over time. The pain becomes more noticeable as time goes by, getting worse, and you will also experience neck pain and stiffness in the middle and upper back, difficulty with deep breathing, feeling short of breath perhaps even weakness in your arms, stiff joints or even muscle spasms as the pain gets worse.
What causes upper back pain?
The main function of the thoracic part of the spine is to provide stability in the trunk. As such, the primary cause of upper back pain is muscle strain and tension. Here are some other causes of pain in the upper and middle back:
- Bad posture
- Herniated discs
- Rib joint dysfunction of the rib cage
- Weakness of muscles ligaments
- Degenerative disc disease
- Car accident
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fracture
- Degeneration of the facet joints
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Lung cancer
- Bad diet
- Emotional stress
- Lack of exercise
- Environmental pollutants
How to treat the upper back pain?
Muscle strain and tension can lead to pain and a slight dislocation of the vertebrae, which puts pressure on the nerve. Anti-inflammatory pain medicines (or overthecounter pain medicines) can help relieve the pain, but it does not address the underlying cause. The absence of pain does not mean it is already healed, and when not treating the underlying condition, the pain will become chronic increasing the chance of injury.
One of the best ways to address the upper back pain is with chiropractic care. The treatment involves making adjustments on your vertebrae, realigning it based on your needs to relieve pain. You will notice that the adjustment alleviates the pain, as it reduces joint restrictions and misalignment in the spine, reduce pain and swelling. In turn, the inflammation decreases, and the function of affected joints and nervous system improves. Aside from decreasing inflammation, pain and discomfort, chiropractic care also improves your range of motion, flexibility, improve blood flow, reduce numbness or tingling and muscle tone and strength.
You may also receive suggested changes in your diet and exercise from the chiropractor. Depending on your condition, chiropractic care may also involve massage therapy, physical therapy, and primary care from a physician.
How often should you visit a chiropractor?
Chiropractic care may not be completed in only one visit. It is a progression, so you may have to visit the chiropractor once or twice a week at first. When your condition is acute, the visit could be as frequent as every day. As your condition improves, the chiropractor will give you things to do on your own at home, such as using an ice pack, exercises to strengthen the muscles (which may also include stretching and strengthening) so you will only have to see him once in a while. Depending on your condition, you may have to come back after some time or never again, unless you have a new problem.
When you experience upper back pain, you must pay attention to it as much as you pay attention to lower back pain and neck pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines and pain relievers will not cut it. You need to seek treatment to address the root cause for proper healing. Ignoring your pain will make it chronic, which could lead to a more severe issue.