Two Types of Upper Back Pain and How They Impact Your Life

Upper Back PainUpper back pain is not as common as lower back pain, but it can cause a great deal of pain when it does occur. An injury to a disc in the upper back, such as degenerated disc or thoracic herniated disc, can cause upper back pain, but these types of injuries are rare. The most common causes of upper back pain are joint dysfunction and muscular irritation (myofascial pain), which we will discuss below.


The thoracic spine (upper back or middle back) is functionally different from the cervical spine (neck) or the lumbar spine (lower back), both of which are designed to provide people with mobility. The thoracic spine is very stable and strong and allows people to stand upright; it also serves to protect the vital internal organs housed in the chest. The stability and limited movement of the thoracic spine keeps it from getting injured often, and even prevents the degeneration often found in the neck and lower back. However, trauma or sudden injury, along with strain and poor posture over time, can lead to upper back pain.


Here are the two most common causes of upper back pain:


1. Joint Dysfunction


One of the most common causes of upper back pain, joint dysfunction, involves abnormal movement of the thoracic joint vertebrae’s facet joints. This movement can create a lot of discomfort and pain and can limit range of motion in your shoulders.


2. Muscular Irritation


Our “shoulder girdle” is attached to the scapula (shoulder blade) and the back of the thoracic rib cage by large muscles. Unfortunately, strain and injury can cause irritation to these large upper back muscles. The pain, or irritation (myofascial pain), created by this strain is often difficult to work out.


De-conditioning (lack of strength) or overuse injuries, such as repetitive motions, are common causes of muscular irritation. Sports injuries, auto accidents, or other injuries can also create this type of upper back pain.


If you are experiencing upper back pain, please get in touch with Dr. Sharma today. There are a number of treatments that can help to alleviate this pain, and Dr. Sharma can work with you to find a solution so you can get back to normal activities.