Upper Back Pain & Injury
Article by John Miller
Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain (or thoracic pain) is one of the most common injuries in modern society. Injuries can vary from simple to complex. They can also result from posture or fatigue strain injuries, lifting injuries, falls or even as a result of arm use eg throwing injury.
The following links provide upper back pain and thoracic spine injury information plus guidance. For specific advice specific to your upper back pain, please consult your spinal health practitioner or doctor.
Common Sources of Upper Back Pain & Injury
- Scheuermann's Disease
- Spinal Stenosis
- Rib Stress Fracture
Nerve-related / Referred Pain
Thoracic Spine Red Flags
While most upper back pain is quite straightforward from a diagnostic perspective and it responds quickly to treatment, there are other potential sources of thoracic cage and chest pain that can be more sinister and require urgent intervention.
Cardiac conditions and malignancy are just a couple of potentially life-changing sources of upper back pain that should be investigated and treatment without delay. Due to the thoracic spine being more likely to be caused by a serious pathology when compared to your neck or lower back, it is also wise to consult with your trusted healthcare practitioner. You should certainly consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have any of the following red flags.
Red flags for possible serious spinal pathology include:
- History of cancer, drug abuse, HIV, immunosuppression or prolonged use of corticosteroids.
- Fever, chills, unexplained weight loss, or recent bacterial infection.
- Pain that is:
- Constant, severe and progressive.
- Non-mechanical without relief from bed rest or postural modification.
- Unchanged despite treatment for 2-4 weeks.
- Accompanied by severe morning stiffness (rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis).
- Recent violent trauma (such as a vehicle accident or
a fallfrom a height) or a spine structure deformity.
- Minor trauma, or even just strenuous lifting, in people with osteoporosis.
- New back pain with an age at onset < 20 or > 50 years of age.
- Severe or progressive neurological deficit (muscle weakness, loss of sensation/reflexes) in the lower extremities.
Common Upper Back Pain Treatments
Thoracic or upper back pain treatment may include any of the following treatment options depending upon your helathcare practitioners assessment and treatment plan.
FAQs about Upper Back Pain
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