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Upper Back Pain

At Mountain Land Physical Therapy, we want you back to living life’s most meaningful endeavors, that is why our experienced therapists treat a variety of conditions. Based on your situation, potential symptoms, and goals, we can create a customizable treatment plan just for you. Found below are potential causes and symptoms for this condition to better help you understand what may be causing you pain.

Upper back pain is a common condition that various factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, injury, or underlying medical conditions can cause.


Causes of Upper Back Pain

  • Poor Posture: Poor posture is one of the most common causes of upper back pain. Sitting or standing in a slouched position for long periods can lead to strain on the muscles and ligaments of the upper back.
  • Muscle Strain: Straining the upper back muscles can result from lifting heavy objects, sudden twisting or bending, or overusing the muscles.
  • Injury: Trauma to the upper back can cause pain, such as a fall or car accident.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and herniated discs can cause upper back pain.

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

The symptoms of upper back pain may vary depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Some common symptoms of upper back pain include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the upper back
  • Aching or burning sensation
  • Sharp or stabbing pain
  • Difficulty moving the upper back or shoulders
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or hands
  • Headaches

Treatment of Upper Back Pain

  • Manual therapy: This involves hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and stretching to help reduce pain and improve the range of motion in the upper back.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage therapy can help to relieve muscle tension and improve blood circulation, reducing pain and stiffness.
  • Exercise therapy: Specific exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in the upper back and improve posture. Examples include scapular retractions, rows, and shoulder blade squeezes.
  • Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy can help to relax tight muscles, while cold therapy can help to numb the area and reduce swelling.
  • Ultrasound therapy: This involves using high-frequency sound waves to help reduce pain and promote healing in the upper back.
  • Electrical stimulation: This involves using electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles and reduce pain in the upper back.
  • Posture education: A physical therapist can help to educate you on proper posture and ergonomics to help prevent future upper back pain.

Prevention of Upper Back Pain

To prevent upper back pain, it is essential to maintain good posture, especially when sitting for long periods. Regular exercise can also help to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and improve flexibility.

Upper back pain can be caused by various factors, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you are experiencing upper back pain, it is recommended that you consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


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