Causes of upper back pain
Most upper back pain is caused by faulty functioning of the joints and muscles that go from the lower neck to the mid back. This is not a very sensitive area, so pain here tends to gradually sneak up on
Upper BackPain Conditions
you. In fact, the pain is often intermittent, making it seem like problems
in this area come and go. That typically indicates a structure that is always
a problem, but that is only irritated enough to feel after certain types of use.
What exactly hurts?
There are a lot of little joints in the upper back; they mostly reside inbetween the vertebrae which go up the middle of your back and neck. Problems with these structures often cause pain at the midline. The joints where the ribs meet up with the back are a more common problem. Most people don't realize that their first and seconds ribs are right below that back of their neck, where the shoulder area starts. The ribs continue all the way down the back, almost to your hips. When you breath in and out, the ribs tip up and down to allow you to take a larger breath. That means that they have to be able to move continuously if you are going to be able to breathe properly. The upper ribs are the anchoring point for the muscles that hold your head up against gravity. When your head is forward for prolonged periods of time, like with computer use, or you look down a lot, like with paperwork, crafts, or texting, you end up with rib joints that have been pulled up for so long that they eventually don't work properly. This causes pain a little to the side of the spine that is usually somewhere between the shoulder blade and spine, but can be lower as well. When present for a while, this causes pain that extends up into the back of the neck, often causing headaches that stem from the area right below the back of the head. If left long enough, this also causes numbness and tingling in the arms and hands. By the way, once you develop joint problems like these ones, the muscles of your upper back and neck start to tighten to protect you. That causes a lot of pain and stiffness itself.
So what do you do?
You get us to fix you, of course! Correcting the joint and muscle problems of the upper back is what we do all day long. The more complicated issue is sorting out the things you do that caused these problems in the first place. Sometimes that means changing your habits. Sometimes you can't entirely change everything you need to in order to stay free of this type of problem. if that's the case, we help you strengthen the area so that it can hold up longer, and we work with you periodically to keep things functioning well.
Pinched nerves usually occur in the lower neck, although where you feel the pain is more likely to be between the shoulder blade and spine. This feels like a typical rib joint problem, but isn't. The difference is that a pinched nerve causes pain that radiates into the side of the shoulder and arm, and often down a narrow strip in the forearm and into the hand. This radiating pain most often involves one or two fingers only, most commonly the fourth and fifth. This is a more serious problem in that it can become a surgical issue if not addressed. This is something that we treat all the time with great success. Don't wait until it becomes a nightmare.