When Your Upper Back Hurts – The Possible Culprits

Upper Back PainIf an achy upper back is bothering you to no end, it’s important to know what’s causing it.  The remedies that may help will depend on the dysfunction, injury or condition that may be causing your upper back to hurt.

In many instances, people suffering from a bad back instinctively reach out for painkillers, which may ease the pain somewhat. Drugs, however, only mask the symptoms and merely provide temporary relief from the pain. Read this interesting article on the pros and cons of back pain medications.

Anyone with severe back pain that lasts several days must definitely see a doctor to help determine what is actually causing pain in the upper back area.

Upper Back Pain in Young People

Upper back pain is experienced by people of all ages. In many cases, everyday habits are the underlying causes of many of these types of back issues.

School aged kids who lug a heavy backpack to school, or who may have developed scoliosis (a spinal curvature) may complain of upper back pain sooner or later. Certain exercises may be recommended by the doctor for kids diagnosed with scoliosis. In some severe cases, custom-fitted orthotics may also be suggested. Another common cause for upper back pain for kids are injuries arising from certain sports activities.

Kid with BackpackIf you have children complaining of recurring upper back pain, medical consultation is necessary. The doctor will most likely inquire about the type of pain experienced by your child and check for symptoms as well as past medical history.

Note that any strain on your kid’s spine may be the culprit for upper back pain. A very heavy backpack carried by your child to school several days a week is a no-no. The doctor may proceed to administer tests like a simple radiograph, blood tests, and bone scan, and in the process rule out certain disorders that may be suspected of being the cause of the upper back pain.

Pre-adolescents who have had traumatic injuries, ailments, or extreme emotional stress may look fine on the outside and laboratory tests may reveal no telltale sign of illness. However, there have been a number of kids between the ages of 11 and 15 years who actually have fibromyalgia, which doctors detect by noting the symptoms. Fibromyalgia may cause upper back pain, as well as other discomforts like anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances and other health issues.

Common Causes of Adults’ Upper Back Pain

In the case of adults, upper back pain causes may range from poor posture, overuse of muscles (like during regular workouts, heavy lifting, or through sports activities), to certain conditions like osteoporosis or acid reflux.

Pain in the upper back area may also arise from a vertebral fracture or when pressure is placed on the vertebrae, such as during a bad fall that may occur from activities like gymnastics or in-line skating.

There have also been cases of individuals who sit at their desk without taking time to stretch or move, or who may drive for hours without a break, thereby causing their upper trapezius muscles to get sore. In these types of situations, maintaining proper posture or doing some simple exercises can help in soothing sore muscles. Could the cause of your back pain be caused by the type of work that you do? Click here to learn what occupations tend to cause back pain.

Bad Sitting PostureAdults face a variety of risk factors that may contribute to upper back pain. These include being obese and sedentary; regular use of high heels or shoes with worn-out soles that can affect the wearer’s gait; undue pressure on the spinal discs caused by staying in a certain position for an extended length of time; constantly lifting heavy items like a bag of groceries or an attaché case; slouching or slumping positions; and a bad mattress.

In many instances, adults develop upper back pain by accident when performing normal every day activities such as yard work, running errands or even something as simple as reaching for an item on a shelf. It is usually very surprising to individuals that something as simple as an everyday task can easily strain a back muscle.  In such cases, orthopedic experts may use corrective remedies using modern technology to help relieve the pain.

For most upper back pain causes like a bulging disc, a doctor may prescribe palliative measures such as an analgesic, exercises, and heat therapy.  In cases of back pain emanating from muscle strain (like trapezius strain), taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine or better yet, reducing inflammatory activity through various nutrients or herbs like ginger can offer much relief.

Good lifestyle habits like eating well and trimming down to a healthy weight, and also avoiding smoking can greatly ease back pain. Taking care of the body by not overexerting during exercise, and avoiding doing things that may cause strain or damage to the spine, and maintaining good posture at all times are all very important. Minor causes of upper back pain can be prevented by keeping these tips in mind.

Even the performance of some low-intensity exercises like brisk walking or swimming may also help alleviate chronic back pain (especially if the cause is excess weight).

When Pain & Discomfort Emanates from Other Organs

Some people think they may be having upper back pain because that’s how their brain interprets it.  In truth, however, the pain may be emanating from problems with other parts of the body like the heart or lungs.

It is important that you remember that most health issues can cause pain in many parts of your body.  Until you find the root cause of the pain, it will probably not go away.

A thorough medical examination by your doctor will help determine the actual focal point of the cause of the pain. Once this is determined, your doctor will recommend remedies that should help eliminate your discomforts and pain.