The most common causes of left upper back pain are muscle and ligament strain, shoulder injury, and muscle spasms. The majority of left upper back pain cases are from overuse and age. Due to the many factors that could contribute to back pain, a trained physician is required to diagnose the exact cause.
Left upper back pain is most often caused by a strained ligament or muscle. It is easy to over-exert muscles and ligaments when exercising or stretching in a way the body is not accustomed to. When the muscles or ligaments are over-worked, the tissue becomes damaged or torn.
Failure to warm muscles and ligaments properly before exercise can also lead to left upper back pain. Warm-up exercises and stretching increase blood flow to the muscles, which loosens them, allowing for more flexibility and movement. Without warm-up, the muscles may be cold and tight. Exercising with tight muscles increases the likelihood of left upper back pain from tissue tearing and damage.
Another common cause of left upper back pain is shoulder injury. The muscles and ligaments of the left upper back are connected to and directly affected by the left shoulder. The shoulder is one of the most easily injured joints in the body because of its wide range of movement. When the shoulder is responsible for back pain, it's not always apparent. Often, x-rays are required to find an injury in the shoulder that is causing upper back pain.
Muscle spasms are also common causes of left upper back pain. This symptom may be a result of trauma or overuse of the muscle, which causes involuntary muscle contractions. Dehydration, poor posture, and heavy lifting are some of the most common causes of muscle spasms. Even something as simple as a sneeze can cause muscle spasms. They most commonly occur when the muscles are already tightened, but they can happen at any time.
Weak muscles in the left upper back may also lead to pain. Lack of physical exercise results in weak muscles and poor posture. When the body doesn't have enough support from its muscles, posture suffers. Poor posture can strain the muscles in the left upper back. When a person's back is hunched and he or she is not standing up straight, this causes the muscles in the back to remain in a stretched position. Over time, this leads to strain and pain.