10 Upper Back Pain Causes & What to Do About It

10 Upper Back Pain Causes & What to Do About It

If you have upper back pain, how would you describe it? Annoying, exhausting, burning, and all the nasty words you can think of?

Have no fear; you’re not alone. About 80% of people experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. Can you believe that? That out of 10 people leaves 8 with back pain, you may be one of them! [1]

Upper back pain can feel like shoulder or neck pain because of the surrounding regions. It can be triggered by simple activities such as bad posture or complex situations such as life-threatening diseases. 

However, most upper back pain issues can be resolved at home or with some minor treatments. Let’s deep dive into what can cause upper back pain and how to treat the throbbing pain.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article.

  • 10 Things That Could Be Causing Upper Back Pain
    • Poor Posture
    • Muscle Overuse 
    • Accidental Injury 
    • Herniated Disc
    • Osteoarthritis or Arthritis
    • Spinal Infection
    • Improper Lifting Technique
    • Sedentary Lifestyle
    • Neck and Shoulder Pain
    • Sleeping Position 
  • How To Make Your Upper Back Pain Go Away?
    • Physical Therapy
    • Chiropractic Care
    • The SUPMOGO Regenerative Wearable Belt

10 Things That Could Be Causing Upper Back Pain

You must be searching for the answers to what causes upper back pain. Here are the answers you're looking for!

The reasons for upper back pain can differ from person to person. We’ve gathered around and briefly listed the most common ten causes of upper back pain. Let’s have a look. 

Poor Posture

woman stretching at her desk in pain touching her neck and back from sitting for too long.

It is common for people to work overtime in order to make some extra bucks or become successful quickly. Therefore working 8 to 10+ hours per day is becoming a norm while increasing the likelihood of physical health deterioration.

Sitting for extended hours in a desk job for such a long time makes it impossible to maintain a good posture. Sometimes you bend, tilt, and sit in the most comfortable position with slumped shoulders so you can focus on work.

But what about your upper back? Is it going to face the consequences?

Sadly, it has to! 

Muscle Overuse 

You may not realize it during overusing your upper back muscles, but after some time, the consequences start showing up. Your muscles become tightened and can develop a strain too. 

Muscle overuse can be of different types, such as overexercising or lifting heavy objects repeatedly. Your muscles don’t get the time necessary to fully rest and recover. Eventually, you end up feeling a burning pain in your upper back.

Accidental Injury 

If you’ve been unlucky and have been involved in an accident recently, it may have weakened your muscles due to injury.

After an accident, your body undergoes extreme stress, becoming prone to developing pain. Your muscles become tense and weak, and as more stress builds up due to any activity, you may instantly feel a sharp or throbbing pain in the upper back.

The injury can also be due to overexercising. However, research states that exercise-induced injury only lasts for a maximum of 14 days. If you still feel the pain after 14 days, it would be best if you get checked by a chiropractor. [2]

Herniated Disc

The discs are like cushions; they provide a smooth and soft surface for the vertebrae to land and move optimally without rubbing against each other. When the discs degenerate or slip away, the vertebrae become closer and interact, producing friction and making you feel throbbing pain. 

If the affected discs are nearby the upper back area, such as the thoracic vertebrae, you’ll feel severe pain in the upper portion of the back. The same goes for other back pains, such as middle back pain and lower back pain. 

Osteoarthritis/Arthritis

Woman suffering from arthritic pain, image shows arthritis pain in the left knee and on the bottom right it says "suffering from arthritis?"

It’s not always your fault! Sometimes, the cause of upper back pain can be because of some serious underlying condition such as osteoarthritis/arthritis. It can significantly affect your back and spinal health–resulting in painful experiences. According to research, spine osteoarthritis can be a chief source of chronic back pain. [3]

Spinal Infection

What’s the spine? The spine is the most essential body-building element in your body. In simpler words, you’re nothing without a healthy spine!

In a study, it was noted that patients who had severe back pain were significantly suspected of having a spinal infection. You may feel upper back pain if you have bad spinal health, such as weak spinal muscles, nerves, ligaments, discs, tendons, etc. [4]

Improper Lifting Technique

When you’re in the gym, accompanied by great bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, you unintentionally tend to follow and compete with them. With all this competition, you may make a mistake in posture or techniques when lifting weights. That's one little mistake that can drag you toward prolonged upper back pain.

Do not haste in gaining results and focus on the right technique and posture to avoid such scenarios.

You can feel upper back pain in two ways; the first one is your spine being affected by the wrong posture while you lift the weight. The other reason is that your muscles tightened and stiffened due to lifting more weight than you can handle. Both can result in tremendous upper back pain. 

Sedentary Lifestyle

Autumn has its way of interacting with our lives: cold breeze, cozy comforters, prolonged sleeping hours, and lazy evenings. No one wants to get out of bed!

However, all those heavenly feelings can bring upper back pain into your life. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are one of the primary risk factors for feeling pain in the upper back.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Woman having shoulder and neck pain on the top left of her back with a spine showing the pain area. On the top left it says "Upper back pain or neck & shoulder pain?"

It might be possible to mix upper back pain with neck and shoulder pain. The three of them are connected, and if one of the areas is in pain, that pain will radiate into all the surrounding areas making you feel pain all over the upper part of your body. 

Sleeping Position 

Beware! Your mattress can also be the culprit behind your upper back pain. While sleeping, an uncomfortable mattress can affect your posture and result in revolting back pain. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be dreading getting up and in daunting pain. 

According to a study, people who slept in provocative sleep postures experienced poorer sleep quality. [5]

If you feel the same, it’s time you should change your mattress and say goodbye to the old one! Moreover, try to find a comfortable sleeping position, especially around your back, so that your back can rest while you enjoy a good night of sleep. 

How To Make Your Upper Back Pain Go Away?

Now that you’re familiar with all of the upper back pain reasons, let's jump to the treatments that can make this ache go away, some for good!

Physical Therapy

Many physical therapy programs are used effectively to manage upper back pain, such as deep tissue massage, yoga, moderate exercise, stretching, and many others. It is one of the primary rehabilitation forms of treating upper back pain. 

Physical therapy will target your muscles and relieve muscle spasms by reducing tension and increasing flexibility. 

Chiropractic Care

You should opt for chiropractic care when physical therapy is not working out for you. It is the second line of treatment for upper back pain or the first if you need to target the joints. A chiropractor will perform some physical tests and X-rays to diagnose your problem. He’ll ensure that your body movements are carried out smoothly, supported by spinal manipulations. 

Let’s hear the 5 Main Causes Of Back Pain from Dr. Barak Meraz.

SUPMOGO Regenerative Wearable Belt

Time for a breakthrough! We are presenting a one-way solution to this problem. 

The SUPMOGO Regenerative Wearable Belt is a remarkable invention made with water-activated EMS technology to provide the ultimate relief from all types of back pain. 

Saturate the belt with water from under the sink to activate it. The SUPMOGO fitness wearable belt uses minerals in water in conjunction with your body’s minerals to stimulate instant rehab and muscle recovery. The EMS technology stimulates deeper layers of muscles - enabling your muscles and ligaments to regain their full ability to contract and be active.

Take your rehab and recovery to the next level with the SUPMOGO Regenerative Belt today! Click Here to get your back pain belt backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

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SUPMOGO logo on the left with QR code for Linktree, in the middle is a picture of the blog author Huma Khurshid, to the right of her it says "Huma Khurshid" "Health Nutrition & Fitness Copywriter" "(877) 900-6646" "info@supmogo.com" "www.supmogo.com"

[1] Freburger, J. K., Holmes, G. M., Agans, R. P., Jackman, A. M., Darter, J. D., Wallace, A. S., ... & Carey, T. S. (2009). The rising prevalence of chronic low back pain. Archives of internal medicine169(3), 251-258.

[2] Owens, D. J., Twist, C., Cobley, J. N., Howatson, G., & Close, G. L. (2019). Exercise-induced muscle damage: What is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions?. European journal of sport science19(1), 71-85.

[3] Lindsey, T., & Dydyk, A. M. (2020). Spinal Osteoarthritis.

[4] Nagashima, H., Yamane, K., Nishi, T., Nanjo, Y., & Teshima, R. (2010). Recent trends in spinal infections: retrospective analysis of patients treated during the past 50 years. International Orthopaedics34(3), 395-399.

[5] Cary, D., Jacques, A., & Briffa, K. (2021). Examining relationships between sleep posture, waking spinal symptoms and quality of sleep: A cross sectional study. Plos one16(11), e0260582.


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