The pain in the upper back muscle occurs anywhere from the base of the neck towards the bottom of the rib cage. However, the upper back pain is not as common as the neck pain or lower back pain.
Causes of the pain
Upper back muscle pain can be a result of a sudden injury or trauma or because of poor posture over time. The ribs wrap around the back and are attached to the sternum, a long, flat bone in the center of the chest. If any nerve in this area gets irritated, pinched or injured, one may feel pain in other parts of the body, such as arms, legs, chest, and belly. Any kind of muscle strain, injury to ligaments and muscles or an injury to discs that support the spine can lead to pain in the upper back. Other reasons include pressure on the spinal nerves or the fracture of one of the vertebrae.
Symptoms of the pain
Common symptoms of upper back muscle pain include a dull or sharp pain with the stiffness of muscles. More serious symptoms could include a numbness in arms, legs, chest, or weakness in arms or legs. There could be a loss of bowel or bladder control. Contact your doctor for if the pain refuses to go away or is severe. He will inquire about your symptoms, work, physical activities and past health. He will carry out a physical exam and may order an imaging test, to know if there is a broken bone or a herniated disc. He may need more tests to make sure about any other causes for the pain in upper back.
Cure for the pain
As the upper back muscle pain relates to large muscles in the shoulder area, the rehabilitation program will focus on stretching and strengthening exercises by the conservative care specialist, for the right treatment of upper back pain. If you see a very tender area, this might be an active trigger point for the source of the upper back pain. Trigger points are typically situated in a skeletal muscle and can be taken care of by trigger point injections, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Pain medications also help in case of Muscular irritation and inflammation.
Taking care at home
If you or your loved one are suffering upper back muscle pain, there are several things one can do at home to help lower the pain and get comfort.
- Take rest and lie down. Do not perform any physical activities and give yourself a break from whatever you are doing.
- Take any of the over-the-counter medicines for pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help lower the pain and swelling.
- Use an ice pack and heating pad to reduce pain and stiffness.
Do some easy exercises as all that stretch can strengthen the muscles in the back and shoulders. This will help improve your posture and lower pain.
Don’t slump or slouch when standing or sitting and always practice good posture.
Try relaxation exercises and deep breathing to lower stress.