Upper back pain relief is most often sought for muscle injuries in the area between the shoulders, at the base of the neck or in the entire thoracic zone. Patients often complain of agonizing symptoms when moving their arms or head. This can be a very miserable condition and can greatly diminish the upper body strength and physical mobility of the patient.
The spine in the upper back is thick and strong. It is designed to provide a solid foundation for the torso and is not easily injured, nor is it subject to the same degree of age-related changes common to the cervical and lumbar regions. Disc injuries are possible, but unlikely in the upper thoracic area, except in cases of known extreme trauma. Sometimes pain might be felt in the upper back due to a neck injury and come from muscular interactions or radiating nerve pain.
I have experienced times when my lower back would feel better and my upper back would hurt. My doctors and chiropractors said that it was normal, since sometimes the upper back muscles hurt due to compensating for the weakness of the lower muscles. My chiropractors often said that it was proof that their treatment of my lower back was working, since the lumbar area felt better. Unfortunately, the relief in the lower back caused my upper back to “go out”. This logic is ridiculous and I saw through this weak explanation even then.
Knowing what I do now, these guys are lucky I did not pursue legal action!
I have had lots of upper back pain radiating into my shoulder blades from martial arts injuries. I found that conservative movements and some Tiger Balm would cure the problem in a few days. The pain could be severe, but the actual damage usually seemed minimal.
In my past, relief from upper back issues was not too hard to achieve, although in recent years, the symptoms have returned quite severe in some instances and are obviously related to some very significant structural concerns in my cervical spine.
In early 2011, I suffered an incident of having to catch myself when tripping carrying a box. The pain registered immediately in the right shoulder scapular, linked to movement of my neck. So unbearably painful! It has continued recurrently and episodically since then, without any seeming provocation… Ouch.
Pain in the upper back is often a byproduct of a pulled muscle. This type of pain can be very punishing and limiting, but often resolves itself with little or no treatment. Chronic upper back pain is often the result of muscular and neurological ischemia. In many patients symptoms are non-structurally motivated and may be a primary or secondary complaint due to oxygen deprivation.
When part of a larger all over pain syndrome, fibromyalgia is often diagnosed and many FMS sufferers cite the thoracic region as particularly troublesome.
Of all the spinal zones, the upper back holds the distinction of being the region which is least likely to be blamed for falling victim to structural irregularities deemed causative for pain. While some patients do have potentially or actually causative anatomical concerns here, most do not and symptoms often puzzle both doctor and patient alike.
Just remember that many cases of chronic pain are not spinally-motivated, regardless of where they occur in the body. Accepting this proven fact will certainly increase your chances of finding eventual relief and minimize the risks of undergoing unnecessary treatment or surgical barbarism.