Causes of Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can occur as a result of trauma or sudden injury, or it can occur through strain or poor posture over time. As an example of the latter cause, in recent years, upper back pain has become a familiar complaint from people who work at computers most of the day. Often, upper back pain occurs along with neck pain and/or shoulder pain.
The vast majority of cases of upper back pain are due to one (or both) of the following causes:
- Muscular irritation (myofascial pain)
- Joint dysfunction
Muscular Irritation Causing Upper Back Pain
The shoulder girdle attaches by large muscles to the scapula (the shoulder blade) and the back of the thoracic rib cage. These large upper back muscles are prone to developing irritation (myofascial pain) that can be painful and difficult to work out. Often, muscular irritation and upper back pain is due to either de-conditioning (lack of strength) or overuse injuries (such as repetitive motions). Muscle strains, sports injuries, auto accidents, or other injuries can all result in pain from muscular irritation.
Because the upper back pain is related to large muscles in the shoulder area, most rehabilitation programs will include a great deal of stretching and strengthening exercises.
A conservative care (nonsurgical) specialist such as an osteopathic physician, a physiatrist/physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, or a chiropractor would be appropriate to see for treatment of upper back pain.
If there is a specific area that is very tender, the source of the upper back pain may be an active trigger point. Trigger points are usually located in a skeletal muscle and can be worked on by either one or a combination of the following treatments:
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point injections with a local anesthetic (such as Lidocaine).
Pain medications can also be helpful. Muscular irritation usually includes some form of inflammation, so anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen or COX-2 inhibitors) can be helpful to reduce the inflammation.
Dr. Adam Sainato
Port Orange Florida
3959 S Nova Rd Suite 9
Port Orange, Fl. 32127
Phone: (386) 761-4001