Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is less common than lower back pain . If there are back pain here , they are very often combined with neck pain. The muscles in the upper back has the task of keeping the upper body despite the gravity upright and is therefore exposed to a strong constant load. The most common cause of upper back pain are poor posture , especially the so-called ” stop-reflective attitude “.

In the process, the upper back pain and the neck area are drawn more strongly upwards in the long term, forming a similar picture as in the case of a hump . This results in a permanent tension and an inappropriate pull on the muscles of the upper back and neck, which sooner or later start strong pain.

upper back pain

Causes of upper back pain

This posture is often taken in special situations, especially when it is very cold, which is why this type of pain is more prevalent in the cold season. But other conditions, such as trauma to the front of the body, sudden loud noises or negative notions can cause this stop pattern, which generally serves as a protective response of the body: The raised shoulders and the bent posture, the head is protected and the environment the smallest possible surface offered for ” attacks ” of any kind.

Another reason for Upper Back Pain and shoulder area may be trauma . These do not necessarily have to precede the Upper Back Pain directly, but can also be many years ago until the Upper Back Pain occurs. An example of this are whiplash or falling on this section of the back, for example, from the swing.

The treatment of this pain requires first and foremost a correction of the malposition, otherwise they can never completely disappear and afflict the affected persons again and again. There are special back exercises that relax the posture and allow an upright posture. The corresponding muscles should be strengthened, which can be achieved, for example, with the help of a Thera band or fitness equipment , where you can train from top to bottom.

Some massages, yoga or connective tissue treatment can also relieve Upper Back Pain. Generally, a physiotherapy should only be under the expert guidance of a physician or physiotherapistdone to get a good result.

Blocking the cervical spine as a possible cause

Blockages of various vertebrae of the spine occur relatively frequently. By a careless movement in the area of ​​the backit comesto a raising of a vertebra of the cervical spine and an oblique reassignment on the underlying vertebra. The blockage of these two vertebral bodies is a mechanical problem and is sometimesaccompaniedby the most severe pain . Often there are neurological complaints, such as tingling or numbness , which usually radiate into the arms.

The treatment by tablets or spraying is usually unsuccessful, as the pain is due to amechanical blockagebased. With every movement, which can not be completely performed for this reason, there is also an accompanying muscle tension laterally in the area of ​​the spine, which in turn leads to an increase in pain.

One possible measure that often helps to loosen the cervical spine is osteopathic treatment. To do this, the osteopath approaches the patient from behind, places his flat hand against the right and left ear of the patient and pulls the patient’s head slightly higher, before returning it to the correct position.

When pulling up the head, the blockage usually resolves by itself. When recurrent cervical spine blockages, which lead to Upper Back Pain, should always be a physiotherapeutic treatmentbe carried out for prevention. It is important in any case, the muscles in the spine, and here especially in the field of cervical spine aufzubrainieren. Corresponding exercises are performed by the physiotherapist and given to the patient for their own use.

Localization of upper back pain

Left-sided pain in the upper back

Upper Back Pain is now one of the most common complaints that lead patients to the doctor. Almost every person over the age of 20 has ever had stronger or weaker back pain in his life. Most causes of upper back pain are not dangerous . However, it is very important to consider and treat the dangerous course of Upper Back Pain and its causes.

Upper Back Pain that starts at the left upper part of the upper back usually has nothing to do with the intervertebral disc. Laterally on the spine are strong muscle strands, which are responsible for the stability of the spine and the movement. The most common cause of Upper Back Pain on the left side are muscular tension or strains . One speaks also of a Myogelose .

The Upper Back Pain can occur during exercise or at rest, they can continue from the left side over the middle to the right side. Muscular tension usually does not cause neurological deficits, such as a radiation in the arms or legs. Such neurological abnormalities would then fit into a possible herniated disc , but usually leaves a centrally directed pain.

In terms of differential diagnosis, a kidney problem should always be considered and excluded in the area of ​​the left upper back . Thus, kidney stones but also so-called renal pelvic inflammation can lead to left-sided, stinging or oppressive upper back pain. The examiner taps on the painful area, causing the patient to do corresponding flexing exercises ( torso and lateral flexion ) to see how mobile the spine is.

If there are doubts, whether it is a spine problem or a kidney problem, an ultrasound examination of the back should be carried out on the one hand, and a urine test on the other hand, which would provide evidence of abnormalities in the kidney excretion.

Right sided Upper Back Pain

Right sided upper back pain in the upper section is just as common as left-side discomfort. Again, it is mostly due to muscular indurations that the patient indicates moderate to severe pain in the area of ​​the right side during rest, but also during exercise.

When examining the patient, it should first be checked to what extent his spine is mobile and where there are limitations . For this purpose, the orthopedist will allow the patient to perform movements in the area of ​​the spine, which mainly consist of a forward bending , a backward bending and a lateral flexion .

In addition, the examiner will also tap the right-sided back of the patient to see if this area is particularly painful and sensitive. If this is the case, it should also be thought of a disease of the kidneys , which are at this level both left and right of the spine.

In addition to the upper back pain fever , nausea and vomiting , so should also be thought of a pyelonephritis . Also, a strong weakness accompanying low back pain indicates kidney involvement. To exclude renal involvement one should definitely ultrasound of the kidneysand urine tests are performed.

Central pain in the upper back

Also very often described are upper back pain, which are mainly located in the middle. It is very important to find out, since when the symptoms are present, if the pain radiates , if so, where , and if the symptoms occur at rest or during exercise . Finally, it should also be found out whether there are newborn abnormalities , ie whether the patient indicates pain in arms or legs. This could also indicate a herniated disc , which would then have to be diagnosed using an imaging technique ( MRI or CT ).

Even if the patient indicates that he feels numbness or tingling in his arms or legs , a herniated disc must be considered.

The middle part of the upper back pain may also be affected by muscle tension and cause severe discomfort in this area. Sometimes it can come in the area of ​​the vertebral bodies to an inflammation. It is also called a spondylodiscitis , which is not safe and must be treated urgently. A vertebral body inflammation can spread untreated and lead to further serious progression.

An X-ray in this context provides crucial information as to whether it is an inflammation of the vertebral bodies. If it is such an inflammation, an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatment must be started immediately , which sometimes even has to be stationary.

Illustration of upper back pain

A – Neck pain
B – Upper back pain
C – Pain in the lumbar region lumbago (lumbago)
D – Lumboglutalgia (radiating into the buttocks)
E – Lumboischialgie (radiating into the leg)

  1. First cervical vertebra (carrier) – Atlas
  2. Seventh cervical vertebra – Vertebra prominens
  3. Trapezius muscle – Trapezius muscle
  4. Latissimus dorsi – muscle latissimus dorsi
  5. First Lumbar Vertebra – Vertebra lumbalis I
  6. Fifth Lumbar Vertebra – Vertebra lumbalis V
  7. Sacrum – the sacrum
  8. Coccyx – Os soccygis
  9. Iliac crest – Crista iliaca
  10. Median gluteal muscle – gluteus medius muscle
  11. Gluteus maximus – Gluteus maximus muscle
  12. Big attractant – adductor magnus
  13. Two-headed thigh muscle – Biceps femoris muscle – Herniated disc – Nucleus pulposus prolapse (from above) 
    b – Vertebral fracture (vertebral fracture)
    c – Spinal osteoarthritis – (Joint wear)

Accompanying symptoms and diseases

Upper back pain and lung cancer

The most dangerous thing about lung cancer is that it usually goes unnoticed for a long time. The main reason for this is the absence of symptoms before it comes to complaints under a lung carcinoma. Upper back pain, if any , is also a very late symptom of lung cancer.

Upper back pain caused by carcinoma in the lungs usually only occurs when either the tumor has spread so much that it puts pressure on a nerve tract near the back, or if the tumor has settled and has metastases and these appear in the vertebral bodies.

Here, too, in very severe cases, a pathological fracture of the vertebral bodies may occur. In the diagnosis of bronchial carcinoma, the entire skeleton is always scanned and looked for, if there is already any metastases at any point. These would then be noticed in back pain mostly in the area of ​​the ribs or vertebral bodies .

Upper back pain and cough

After bronchitis or even pneumonia , heavy back coughing can cause severe back pain. The reason is that with each cough the Atemhilfsmuskulatur between the ribs is massively compressed and stretched, so that the coughing stimulus can be correspondingly strongly converted. The cough can become so strong and hard that it can come also to a break of the ribs . Such a fracture would also radiate painfully into the upper back.

The muscles between the ribs are supplied with nerves, which can also pull into the area of ​​the back. A hard cough and irritation of muscles and nerves can also lead to pain transmissionto come in the back.

Back pain after cough usually disappears very quickly. If not, a detailed examination of the back should be made. Symptomatically, this type of pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory analgesics, such as ibuprofen or diclofenac.

Upper back pain and breathing problems

If breathing problems are associated with back pain, attention should always be paid to the strength and onset of the symptoms. It can be a postural problem in the spine that causes a shortness of breath due to constriction ( in case of a rounded back, the lungs do not have so much room to expand and breathe in enough air ), it can also be a dangerous pulmonary embolism , if a blood clot has formed in the lungs.

Especially after long long-distance travel or previous leg vein thrombosis, the combination may include severe shortness of breath and pain in the back, and pain on inhalationcome. However, back pain is usually absent in the complete picture of pulmonary embolism.

Furthermore, should a sudden onset of shortness of air with severe back pain also an aortic aneurysm be excluded. However, this disease is still associated with a severe pain on the chest .

What to do for upper back pain?

In addition to muscle-building exercises, it is also very important to observe certain everyday behaviors during the day. So as back-friendly shoes should be worn, so no high-heeled. Furthermore, especially at the desk work on regular breaks should be paid attention. It is not necessary to leave the workplace. Every 20 minutes, the usual sitting position should be changed and bent forward and backward and sideways.

If you do not want to do this, you can also take a short ride, tense the muscles of your back and then relax.
Such exercises should be integrated into the work several times a day. Furthermore, it should be very special on the type of sittingbe respected. Knee chairs are said to be a special back-friendly. Also, instead of these chairs gymnastics balls can be taken.

After work, a balancing sport should be carried out. Swimming or cycling arerecommended, while the bicycle on a suitable handlebar saddle distance should be respected.

Finally, at least once should be found out orthopedically, whether a malposition of the spine is present. Optionally, by an orthopedic shoe insert already corresponding, recurring back pain can be prevented.

Exercises for upper back pain

Most back problems occur at regular intervals and are also known to patients from the course. Since there are usually muscular problems behind the back pain, there are numerous exercises that can be used both as a preventive and as a treatment measure .

If muscular problems are responsible for recurrent spinal pain, it is mostly because the muscles in the spine are either too weak , ie they can not maintain the spine upright and in stability and in motion or the muscles cramp and there are hardenings on the side of the spine column.

Spasms can also be consequences of muscle weakness. So to strengthen the muscles at the same time but also to relax, it is particularly important to perform the exercises on the one hand very regularly and on the other hand to warm up the muscles before the exercises.

A possible back exercise to train your back muscles is walking on the toes . Here you stretch as far as you can and try to reach the ceilings with your fingertips. This gait can be quite springy and should be done for a few minutes.

Then bending and stretching exercises both forward ( fingertips to the floor ) and backwards ( bridge exercise ) are very important in order to train the back muscles. Lateral bends to the side ( the left hand moves down the left leg ) will train the muscles in the area of ​​the spine.

Another exercise is feasible with a large gym ball. Here, the patient lies with his back on it, his legs are firmly on the ground, his arms are crossed. By trying to keep the balance on the moving ball, appropriate back muscles are inevitably trained up.

Upper back pain in pregnancy

Upper back pain during pregnancy is very common. The main reason is that the growing child also causes a weight redistribution of the woman’s body. In order to be able to lift the increasing weight of the child, the pregnant woman initially takes on quite unusual postures while sitting and walking. Since often the muscles can not adjust so quickly to such new postures, it can very quickly lead to cramps or hardening of the muscles in the spine, which are then perceived as pain.

Lighter pain in the area of ​​the back in pregnant women can be with heat pads or massagesbe treated well. Some pregnant women also put on a supportive, slightly adjusted corset around the belly.

In principle, pregnant women can perform the same back exercises as non-pregnant women. However, it should be noted that these exercises are more likely to have a long-term effect, which means that you have to do the back exercises regularly for many weeks before the muscles have regained their strength.

The pregnancy-related back pain disappears after the birth of the child. If it comes to unreliable pain in the spine, also approved for pregnancy pain medications can be used. Paracetamol should be mentioned here in the first place . For example, a reduced dose, such as 250 mg twice a day for 3 days, can relieve the pain if other measures do not help. The use of ibuprofen or diclofenac should be avoided because of the child.

Very severe back pain in pregnancy, which also does not respond to analgesic medication and can not be alleviated, should also be examined by an orthopedist. In some cases, it may have come under a pregnancy to a herniated disc , which should then be treated. Whether such an intervention should take place before or after the birth of the child depends on the severity of the incident.

In recent years, acupuncture techniques have been adopted for the treatment of Upper back pain as a whole but also for the treatment of back pain in pregnant women , which can relieve the pain in the back or even completely eliminate. Read more on our page Acupuncture for back pain and acupuncture in pregnancy .

2 exercises against upper back pain

Upper Back Pain: Exercise 1

You place yourself in a 90 ° corner and put your arms stretched on each wall. The arms and elbows are fully extended. The fingers are all on the wall. Furthermore, a leg is placed in a lunge forward.

Now slowly move your upper body into the corner. The front chest area is stretched. Stretch slowly and walk piece by piece towards the corner more and hold this posture for about 2 minutes. The pain is usually felt clearly in the chest, but can also pull into the shoulder joints and upper arms.

At the same time, you should still feel “comfortable” and not have an uncomfortable feeling or unpleasant pain. Nevertheless, a distinct pain should be felt. Perhaps borderline “feel-good pain” is a good term for it.

Upper Back Pain: Exercise 2

Get on your knees. Now blow through the mouth all the air from the lungs. Then, when you realize that there is no more air, lean your upper body forward and release the residual air. Once all the air is out of the body, hold your nose and close your mouth. Now straighten up your upper body.

At the same time move your stomach slightly to the right and left. How to solve the matted fascia again. Then try inhaling with the nose to hold. This does not work, but it creates a vacuum inside. This is how our diaphragm tenses, which becomes much more supple after 2 to 3 repetitions of the exercise. Then release your hand from the closed nose, breathe 2 to 3 breaths normally and repeat this exercise.

Upper Back Pain
5 (100%) 1 vote