Back Pain Back pain (also known “dorsalgia”) is pain felt in the back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. The pain may have a sudden onset or can be a chronic pain; it can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. The pain may be felt in the neck (and might radiate into the arm and hand), in the upper back, or in the low back, (and might radiate into the leg or foot), and may include symptoms other than pain, such as weakness, numbness or tingling.
Upper Back Pain Relief
When most people hear the words “upper back pain relief”, they immediately think of treatment measures that would alleviate pain in the neck and shoulder area. Ironically though, this area of the neck and shoulder is more correctly termed as the “cervical” region. The TRUE upper back is what is also called the “middle back” or the thoracic region (from T-1 to T-12). However, in terms of symptomatology, certain pains in the middle back may originate from pathologies in the neck. So that, in a way, it may also be correct to call treatment measures in these areas as “upper back neck pain relief.”
Prior to institution of upper back pain management,it is necessary to determine the cause. Given that the region of the thorax contains vital organs, specifically the heart and the lungs, it is important to rule out conditions in these organs that could cause referred pain. A good example of this is angina or the symptoms of a heart attack, which may also manifest as neck and/or upper back pain.
In comparison to the lower back, upper back pain is not so common, most often occurring as a result of poor posture, a bad lifting position, or carrying heavy loads such as back packs. Other causes of pain include abnormal spinal curvatures, trauma or injury, infections or abscesses in the thoracic spine, and osteoporosis.
Pain Symptoms That Need Immediate Upper Back Pain Relief
Symptoms of upper back problems are related to strain, sprain or tension in the muscles and supportive tissues of the thoracic spine. Pain is the most common symptom, which may be elicited by deep breathing, sneezing or coughing. Upper back pain is more often accompanied by neck and shoulder pain. Other symptoms include muscle tightness or stiffness, spasms, and tenderness when the affected area is touched.
There are similarities in the treatment modalities for lower and upper back pain. First is the use of ice and heat therapy for the acute onset of pain. NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen are also given pain and inflammation relief. Deep soothing topical preparations like mentholated rubs and capsaicin creams have also been helpful. Complementary treatments like acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation have also been effective in relieving upper back pain.
Exercises for Upper Back Pain Relief
Lower and upper back pain relief exercises are integral to treatment. In the case of the upper back, exercises help to strengthen the muscles in the thoracic spine and also helps in correcting spinal misalignment.
The main difference between lower and upper back pain treatments is that physicians do not give epidural corticosteroid injections to patients with thoracic pain. If injections are warranted, they are directly given to the area of pain or tenderness (known as “trigger point injections”).
It is a comfort for patients to know that upper back pain relief measures are available that would help alleviate pain and other bothersome symptoms.