Some Common Causes Of Upper Back Pain

In: Health and Fitness

8 May 2011

Some of us may occasionally have discomfort in the upper back. The spine is made up of 24 vertebrae and the thoracic spine (upper back) is 12 of these bones. The thoracic spine is not as flexible as the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back). Because this section of the spinal column has a great deal of stability and only limited movement, there is generally little risk of injury or degeneration over time in the upper back.

Because of little motion in the thoracic spine, this section of the spine does not tend to develop common spinal disorders, such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or spinal instability. These conditions can occur but are exceedingly rare in the thoracic spine.

What are some common causes of upper back pain? There seem to be two main groups of discomfort coming from this region. One general group is joint dysfunction. The other is classified as muscular irritation. In the case of joint dysfunction, this generally involves the state of the bone in the spinal column. The spine consists of many small bones and the soft tissues in between. Discomfort can result when these joints are misaligned and function is compromised.

The other common cause of discomfort in the upper back has to do with the soft tissues. The soft tissues/muscles hold the vertebrae together and maintain the flexibility of the spinal column. Pain can result from over exerting this area or from injury. Such examples include working at the computer for extended period of time or being in an auto accident.

Some of the typical treatments for upper back pain are stretches, exercises, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatment. 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. A conservative care specialist such as a chiropractor would be appropriate to see for treatment of upper back pain. Chiropractic manipulation can straighten out the misaligned spine to provide better joint mobility and reducing pain.

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