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What are the Different Types of Upper Back Pain Treatments?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Upper back pain is a common problem and can have a variety of causes, ranging from poor posture to medical conditions such as ruptured discs in the spine. Most cases of upper back pain can be treated safely at home, but a doctor should always be consulted in order to rule out more serious conditions that may require medical supervision. Upper back pain treatments can include lifestyle changes, pain medications, and, less frequently, surgical intervention.

The most common causes of upper back pain include poor posture or strenuous physical activity. Carrying heavy backpacks can also lead to pain in this area of the back. Upper back pain treatments for these causes include practicing correct posture, resting the affected muscles, and discontinuing physical activity that causes or worsens the pain. Heat or ice therapy can often help to relieve the pain, and nonprescription pain relievers such as ibuprofen can also be useful.

Upper back pain treatments for injuries incurred from bending, twisting, or otherwise developing a minor injury often begin with resting the affected muscles. Once the pain begins to subside, the doctor may recommend gentle stretching exercises to promote healing and keep the muscles in shape. Physical therapy is sometimes a helpful treatment option as well.

Upper back pain treatments involving injury to the discs of the spine are a bit more involved than treatments aimed at relieving sore muscles. Medical tests such as x-rays may be ordered to diagnose the extent of the damage. In some cases, surgical intervention may become necessary to repair damaged bones and nerves. In the case of ruptured muscles or tendons, surgery may also be the best treatment option.

Most upper back pain is due to simple injuries and can be corrected with mild to moderate lifestyle modifications. Correcting poor posture is one of the simplest yet effective upper back pain treatments. If the upper back pain is caused by large breasts, wearing a sports bra can help to relieve some of the pressure on the back. Massage therapy can often work wonders for mild to moderate upper back pain that is not caused by a serious injury.

When reading, many people tend to lower their heads, straining the muscles in the neck and upper back. Moving the book or paper closer to the face instead of straining the neck can often reduce pain in the upper back. Holding the telephone between the neck and shoulder can strain upper back muscles as well. Making simple changes in posture and movement can greatly reduce upper back pain and prevent serious damage from occurring.

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