What Causes Upper Back Pain?

What Causes Upper Back Pain? Integrated Pain Consultants, Scottsdale

What Causes Upper Back Pain?

Lower back pain is the most common back complaint, but the Integrated Pain Consultant specialists know that upper back pain is just as frustrating. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat it. What causes it, and what’s the best approach for your pain management solution?

The upper back is made up of the thoracic spine. The spine itself consists of a bony vertebra that surrounds the spinal cord nerves. Between the vertebrae, you’ll find small discs made up of cartilage that are a cushion for the bones and offers a range of motion. You also have muscles, ligaments (between bone and bone) and tendons (between muscle and bone). Your back is a complex part of the machine, and if any of the parts are damaged, it can cause a chain reaction.

Back Pain Conditions

One of the most common causes of upper back pain happens when you move quickly when working on home improvement projects or playing sports. It can also be caused by arthritis in the spine, a herniated disc, or fibromyalgia. A bulging disc might put pressure on the nerve roots, although the lower back is usually where disc issues take place. The pain might even be caused by a tertiary problem, like the heart, which leads to “referred upper back pain.”

Injuries, infections, and inflammations can all cause upper back pain. It might be from a severe muscle spasm, Paget’s disease, a spinal fracture, sprain/strain, or a spinal canal narrowing. Rarely, deadly causes might be at the root such as a heart attack, multiple myeloma, kidney stones, and tumors or cancer. However, these causes are few and far between.

Am I at Risk For Back Pain?

Anyone can suffer from upper back pain, but if you’re over 30, obese, or have a family history of back pain, you’re more likely to experience it. Stress, anxiety, smoking, poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle are also contributing factors. Having weak core muscles can exacerbate or even cause it at times (which means it’s time to start working on those planks).

Usually, the cause of back pain isn’t serious or long-term. A holistic approach to treatment might include physical therapy and self-care. Until it’s treated, you might miss school or work, have a poorer quality of life, and experience mental responses to the pain. Sometimes, permanent nerve damage can occur, which is why it’s important to treat it quickly.

Treatment Options for Upper Back Pain

Your doctor might recommend a variety of pain management approaches which can include epidural steroid injections, a medial branch block via facet injection, or radiofrequency ablation. You might be a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, or medication management.

There’s no reason to live with upper back pain. Call 480-626-2552 to schedule an appointment with the pain management experts at Integrated Pain Consultants. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie CosijnsDr. Lisa SparksDr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.

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