Upper back pain is actually not quite as common as lower back pain, but it can be just as difficult and frustrating to deal with. The pain level can range from a mild discomfort to agony every time you stand up or stoop to pick something up, or it can be excruciating to sit at your desk for long periods of time. If you’re searching for how to fix upper back pain, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several drug-free methods that can relieve your backpain fast and get you back to doing the things you love.
Common Causes of Upper Back Pain
The upper portion of the back is also referred to as the thoracic spine. This is the portion of the back that relates to the chest area. While the lower back and neck are designed to allow movement such as bending and twisting, the upper portion of the back focuses on stability. Since this portion of the back doesn’t contain many moving parts it’s typically less susceptible to degenerative conditions and strain.
So what causes pain in the upper back? There are a couple of common upper back pain causes, including joint dysfunction and muscle strain. Strained muscles in the upper back are usually a result of poor posture. With joint dysfunction, the joints that attach the vertebrae to the ribs may not work properly and can become immobilized or stiff, which leads to chronic upper back pain.
Typically, stress can also be the culprit. Physical stress such as stooping over your PC for hours on end can definitely exacerbate any preexisting back problems. However, emotional stress can also be to blame. This kind of stress results in tensed shoulder blades and shoulders, which irritate the nerves in the back, causing pain. Chemical stress is another type of stress that can cause back pain. This type of stress involves inhaling toxins, such as smog, or consuming unhealthy foods.
Treatment for Upper Back Pain
How to relieve back pain fast can be a matter of taking pain medication, applying cold and hot treatments, or switching to a softer mattress, but many of these quick fixes won’t prevent reoccurring pain if you fail to treat the underlying cause.
Anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers will reduce inflammation and pain temporarily, but they won’t help to heal malfunctioning joints or strained muscles. They also wear off after only a few hours.
Exercise can certainly be beneficial in helping to prevent back pain, but once the pain is present it’s a surefire indicator that something else is going on within your body. Exercising a strained area can put additional stress on joints and muscles, which will create even more nerve irritation and can worsen your condition.
Shots of a local anesthetic called trigger point injections are administered directly to areas of acute pain. But like other types of pain relievers, all they do is relieve pain temporarily. They don’t actually work to take care of the underlying problem.
You can enjoy surprising results through natural back pain treatments. For example, there are several stretches you can do that are designed to minimize back pain. These can be done early in the morning and before bed. Your doctor can discuss what types of stretches you can do that would be best for your type of back pain.
Changing the way you sleep can reduce the amount of strain that you place on your back. A physiotherapist can provide you with tips on how to position yourself using pillows to improve your sleep and minimize tension in your upper back.
Acupuncture for sciatica and back pain is another treatment option that’s gaining popularity in America. Developed in China, this treatment involves pricking the tissues or skin with tiny needles in order to relieve pain, stress, and tension in the muscles. People who practice acupuncture believe that when the body’s energy force becomes blocked it results in pain. This type of alternative treatment is supposed to unblock the energy force, releasing the pain. Other specialists believe that acupuncture works because the needles release neurochemicals that can kickstart the body’s healing process.
Massage therapy is another effective treatment that has helped millions of people suffering from upper back pain. A massage therapist will use special tools and their hands to rub painful muscles in the back and neck. The rubbing works to increase blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the muscles. It also works to reduce acids that build up in the muscles. If you decide to give massage therapy a try, make sure you seek out a certified massage therapist.
Stretches for Back Pain Relief
People suffering from mild or moderate upper back pain can try the following stretches for immediate pain relief:
Pectorals: To do, stand in a doorway, placing both of your hands above your head on the frame. Lean forward slowly until you can feel a stretch in your shoulders. Hold this position for twenty seconds and repeat twice.
Scapular Squeezes: While standing or sitting with your arms placed at your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together for a period of ten seconds. Repeat ten times.
Thoracic Stretches: Find a spot on the floor and sit with your legs placed straight out in front of you. Hold your thighs and curl your neck and head toward your belly button. Hold this stretch for ten seconds, repeating three times.
Lying Twist: Lie flat on your back with your legs extended. Bend your left knee and cross it over the right side of your body, holding this stretch for fifteen seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Yoga Cow: Get on all fours with your hands placed beneath your shoulders and the knees placed below your hips. Breath out and arch your spine. Breath in and tighten your core muscles as you round out your back. Hold this position for fifteen seconds, repeating eight to ten times.
Final Thoughts on Naturally Managing Back Pain
There are several other types of stretches that can provide instant relief if you’re suffering from back pain. How to fix upper back pain heavily depends on the underlying cause. Remember, recovery takes time. You can’t expect to get rid of your pain for good overnight. In many cases, your pain didn’t develop in a day, so it stands to reason that it will take time, practice, and work to get rid of your back pain forever.