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 what 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. Getting temporary relief is great, but it is important to find out the actual cause of the pain. Once you know the cause, you can effectively obtain long term relief.

Anyone with severe back pain that lasts several days must definitely see a doctor. It’s very important to 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 may complain that their upper back hurts. Children that have developed scoliosis (a spinal curvature) may also have 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.

Another thing to consider with kids is the social pressure that is rampant today. They may be kids, but they can also experience a lot of stress while growing up. We know that stress causes a lot of health issues in adults. It would seem reasonable that stress can also affect your child’s health.

Think about it. Your child has to adapt to a lot while growing up. Adapting to everything in this world is hard on us adults. Why wouldn’t it be hard on your child?

Should Your Child See a Doctor for the Pain

Kid with BackpackIf you have children complaining of recurring upper back pain, medical consultation is necessary. Your doctor will ask a lot of questions to help narrow down the possible causes of the pain. These questions might include:

  • Is the pain sharp or dull?
  • Does the pain occur occasionally or is it a constant pain?
  • Has there been any sports injury recently or in the past?
  • What is the family history for back pain?

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. For many of us, this thought never enters our mind, but it should. A child’s body is constantly changing and it’s very important that the changes be for the good.

The doctor may also proceed to administer tests to help rule out certain health disorders. These medical tests may include:

  • Radiograph
  • Blood Tests
  • Bone Scan

Pre-adolescents who have had traumatic injuries, ailments, or extreme emotional stress may look fine on the outside. Medical laboratory tests may even 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. Since this disease is often considered as adult related, many doctors don’t think about asking certain questions. 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 can be caused by many things. Some of the common causes are:

  • Poor Posture
  • Overuse of Musles (like during regular workouts, heavy lifting, or through sports activities)
  • Injury
  • Poor Sleeping Habits
  • Acid Reflux
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Herniated Disc
  • Stress

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

Bad Habits that Can Cause Back Pain

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?

Bad Sitting PostureAdults face a variety of risk factors that may contribute to upper back pain. These include:

  • Being overweight 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 while standing or sitting
  • Sleeping on 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.

 

Simple Things You Can Do to Relieve the Pain

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 your body can relieve the pain that you have and can prevent future problems. Here are some simple tips to keep your back happy:

  • Don’t overexert yourself while exercising.
  • Maintain good posture at all times
  • Eat foods that are nutritious
  • Make use of ergonomic products such as chairs, pillows and mattresses.
  • Do some simple stretching throughout the day.
  • If you’re stressed, do something that relaxes you.

Even the performance of some low-intensity exercises like brisk walking or swimming may also help alleviate chronic back pain. This is especially true if you’re somewhat overweight or stressed.

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 your doctor has determined the potential, he or she will recommend remedies that should help.