Injury or overuse of the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the upper portion of the spinal column usually leads to upper back pain. The most common pain is myofascial – pain in the muscles or the connective ligaments in the upper back.
Potential Causes of Upper Back Pain:
Poor posture, meanwhile, is the most common cause of upper back pain, resulting from slumping while sitting or standing. In fact, we wrote a complete guide to setting up your work space for optimal sitting position.
Osteoarthritis is a normal degenerative process of the cartilage between the joints of the spinal bones, or vertebrae. As the cartilage breaks down, the bones may rub together. This not only causes pain, but may damage the bones themselves.
Fractures of the spinal bones may result from injury, such as a motor vehicle collision. Likewise, osteoporosis may lead to bone collapse due to weakening of the bone.
Patients with spinal deformities may have pain from uneven distribution of weight. This includes scoliosis, or a sideways deformity of vertebral alignment. Kyphosis is another type of deformity of alignment of the upper back, which appears rounded.
Scoliosis and kyphosis may result in difficulty expanding the lungs, resulting in breathing problems.
Age Related Symptoms:
The discs that cushion the bones of the spinal column from rubbing against each other may degenerate with age. Due to age, they may break and herniate, pressing the nerves on the spine. This can also be caused by trauma to the back, and although it usually occurs in the low back or neck area, it may occur in the upper back.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the opening in the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord narrow from bone changes or from disc impingement into the spinal canal. This is another cause of upper back pain.
Upper back pain may be caused by referred pain from the gallbladder or may be due to pain in the kidneys.
Problems with the aorta, the major artery of the body, may also result in upper back pain that is severe and usually of sudden onset due to a dissection of the tissues of the blood vessel. It produces a tearing pain.
If you are experiencing upper back pain, and it has lasted for longer than a few days, or if it is unusually severe, you should see a pain specialist for evaluation and initiation of treatment. Early treatment of many problems can be conservative and may also prevent more serious complications. Contact us today by filling out this online form or calling 201-729-0001. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.