Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Upper Back Pain

Do you feel like your back is way older than the rest of your body because of the constant pain? Millions of adults in America have been experiencing back pain for decades, which has been made worse by the work-from-home setups for many people. You may have even given up and just accepted the pain as something normal and just hope it will go away on its own. 

Upper back pain is also known as thoracic back pain. It is felt in the area between the neck and the waist, most commonly between the shoulder blades. While lower back pain is more common among the adult population, many also suffer from upper back pain for many reasons. 

Causes of Upper Back Pain

The most common cause of upper back pain is postural dysfunction or poor posture. Here are other things that may be causing your upper back pain:

  • Injury (whiplash)
  • Postural dysfunction
  • Strained muscle or ligament
  • Longer time in front of the computer
  • Heavy backpack, shoulder, or sling bag
  • Repetitive movements due to a job or sports
  • Lack of muscular strength

Your doctor may also request you to undergo a radiology procedure such as an X-ray to see if there is a problem with your spine. Here are the more severe causes of upper back pain that needs to be addressed immediately:

  • Slipped disc
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal tumor
  • Spinal infection

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

You may not bother identifying what type of back pain you are experiencing—all you want is to lay comfortably again. However, honing in on specific symptoms can help you determine the kind of treatment that you need. 

You can quickly identify muscular upper back pain when a large area of your back feels sore. It can be felt on one side of your back, but it is commonly experienced on both sides. Meanwhile, you are experiencing joint pain if you are feeling an ache in the spinal area. Visit your family doctor to help you identify the symptoms. 

Treatment for Upper Back Pain

Usually, upper back pain is not too severe and can be easily treated at home. If you have tight and tense muscles, apply a hot compress to relax them and relieve the pain. If there is inflammation, put cold compresses but be careful not to put the ice directly on your skin. 

If the pain becomes unbearable for you, you may take a painkiller as you wait for your doctor’s appointment. It is also important to do stretches every day to exercise your spine and back muscles. 

If you are suffering from upper back pain following an accident or trauma, these home treatments might not work and could worsen the pain. Severe back pain must be looked at by an expert. If needed, you may undergo physiotherapy treatments such as joint mobilization, muscle treatments, or even acupuncture. 


Back pain is becoming more common among Americans, regardless of age and occupation. While postural dysfunction can be the leading cause of back pain, it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look at the condition of your muscles and ligaments. Sometimes, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something requires medical attention. 

Have you been suffering from pain lately? Garden State Medical Group provides comprehensive and individualized care for what ails people physically and mentally. Our primary care physicians will help you get rid of whatever it is you are suffering from. Consult us through telemedicine today!

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