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Ways of Relieving Right Side Back Pain |Ramsay Health UK

Ramsay Health Care UK | 16/06/2021

Back pain is a common musculoskeletal condition. The Office of National Statistics states that almost 31 million workdays were lost in the UK in 2016 due to musculoskeletal problems including back pain. 

When pain is isolated to your right-hand side, you may wonder why this is and what you can do to relieve it. Right side back pain is fairly common and can be caused by a minor issue that heals on its own or it can indicate a more serious condition

Symptoms of right side back pain

The symptoms of right side back pain will depend on the nature of your problem.

  • Sprain or strain muscle-related lower back pain can be mild or severe and radiate into your buttocks. It can cause aching, tenderness and stiffness in your lower back, restricted movement, difficulty standing or sitting upright and lower back muscle spasms.
  • Arthritis, bone spurs or spinal stenosis can cause numbness and pain down your lower back, buttocks and legs.
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration leads to pain in your back, neck, arms and legs.
  • Radiculopathy such as a herniated disc affects the root of your spinal nerve and can cause lower back pain.
  • Spinal tumour has lower back pain symptoms on either side.
  • Appendicitis produces intense pain in the right side of your stomach and can radiate to the right side of your back. Other symptoms include feeling bloated, having excess gas, abdomen swelling, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea.
  • Kidney problems cause lower back pain due to infection, irritation or inflammation. Kidney infections and kidney stones are common kidney problems. Kidney infections bring about pain symptoms on one or both sides of your back, nausea and vomiting, cloudy, dark, bloody or smelly urine, frequently needing a pee and pain whilst urinating and chills and fever. Large kidney stones may cause blockages that can lead to a sharp pain in one or both sides of your lower back and the pain may radiate to your groin and lower abdomen. Kidney stones can also cause cloudy, bloody or smelly urine, a need to frequently pee, burning when urinating, fever and chills, and nausea and vomiting.
  • Ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal discomfort and cramping that may radiate to one or both sides of your back. Ongoing diarrhoea with blood or pus, appetite loss due to nausea, frequent bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, fever and anaemia are other symptoms of this condition.
  • Endometriosis in women can cause chronic pain in your lower back or pelvis, as well as painful cramps during menstruation, bleeding or spotting between periods, intercourse pain, pain when going to the loo, diarrhoea or constipation, bloating and nausea.
  • Uterine fibroids can cause lower back, leg and pelvic pain in women and additional symptoms including frequent urination, constipation, pain or heavy bleeding during periods and unusually long periods.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to lower abdomen and back pain, smelly vaginal discharge, intercourse pain, painful urination, fever and chills, and nausea and vomiting.
  • Pregnancy pelvic pain can affect one or both sides of your lower back as well as your perineum or thighs.
  • Testicular torsion in men can cause testicle or groin pain symptoms that radiate to your back, a swollen scrotum, nausea, vomiting and blood in your semen.

What causes pain in the right-hand side of the lower back?

Right-hand side pain of your lower back is caused by conditions that affect your muscles and the interconnected structures of your spinal column including your facet joints, discs and nerve roots as well as some serious health problems.

Muscle strain is the most common reason for low back pain and it can cause pain mainly on the lower right-hand side of your back. A muscle strain occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn through twisting, lifting heavy objects or if it encounters an impact such as a sports injury or car accident. Typically, the pain from a muscle strain feels better within a few weeks and does not require medical attention.

Lower right back pain can also have orthopaedic and neurological causes including:

  • Lumbar herniated disc – the jelly-like disc between two vertebrae may protrude or leak on the right side of your spine and become inflamed causing dull low back pain. It can also cause pain to radiate into your buttock and/or right leg.
  • Facet joint pain (osteoarthritis) – arthritis may affect the facet joints in your spine and cause stiffness and discomfort in your lower right back. Sometimes a bone spur may compress your nerve on the right side of your spine and lead to lower right side back pain and local tenderness.
  • Spinal stenosis – your spinal canal may narrow due to a herniated disc, bone spur or other obstruction and cause lower right back pain that may travel along your spinal nerve root.
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction – can cause your sacroiliac joint on the right side of your pelvis to move too much or too little and lead to pain in your lower right back and/or right hip.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis – early signs of this degenerative condition may present as lower right back pain and/or right hip pain.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis – when a worn vertebra slips forward over another vertebra and puts strain on your lower back spine-supporting muscles. This can compress or irritate your nerve roots and cause lower right side back pain and pain along the sciatic nerve in your right leg.
  • Spinal tumours – may press on the right side of your spine or on a nerve root and cause lower right back pain.

Other causes of right side back pain include serious underlying health problems, that luckily are rare, such as:

  • Kidney disorders – kidney infections and stones can cause pain on one side of your back.
  • Colon disorders – such as inflammation of your appendix and inner walls of your large intestines can manifest as back pain.
  • Female reproductive problems – including endometriosis and benign growths within the walls of your uterus can sometimes cause back pain.
  • Cancer tumours – may cause pain that begins in your abdomen and radiates to your back, sometimes on one side.

Tips to relieve the pain

Often lower back pain on the right side can be managed with simple home treatments or lifestyle changes. Tips to relieve your pain include:

  • Stay active and continue your daily routines. Resting is likely to make your pain worse.
  • Apply heat or ice for about twenty minutes frequently throughout the day to ease your pain and any inflammation.
  • Try exercises for back pain and activities including walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief such as ibuprofen.
  • Stretch tight muscles for a few minutes every day.
  • Keep good posture as this will ease the pressure on your lower back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to ensure an optimal load on your lower back.
  • Ensure you lift safely by bending with your knees to a squat position and holding the load close to your chest.
  • Drink plenty of water every day and limit your intake of animal protein and salt to reduce your risk of kidney stones.
  • Wipe from front to back when going to the toilet to prevent infection from bacteria in your colon passing to your urinary tract.
  • Give up smoking as the nicotine in tobacco can weaken your spinal bones and remove nutrients from your discs that may lead to spine problems.

When is the right time to seek professional advice?

You should seek professional advice if your lower right back pain:

  • continues after a few weeks
  • worsens or if you have sudden severe pain
  • interferes with your quality of life and stops you doing daily activities
  • occurs with other concerning symptoms such as incontinence, numbness or weakness in the legs, fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • Most cases of lower back pain on the right side are not medical emergencies. However, if you have symptoms of appendicitis, kidney infection, kidney stones or testicular torsion you should see a doctor immediately

About back and spinal treatments at Ramsay Health Care 

Ramsay Health Care offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic assessments and treatments for upper and middle back pain including radiology services,osteopathy, physiotherapy, pain management clinics, rheumatology, injection therapies and surgery.

Our experienced health professionals including Chartered Physiotherapists offer one to one advice for your tailored treatment and exercises plan to help relieve your upper and middle back pain.
Some of the highest qualified and experienced orthopaedic, rheumatology and pain management consultants in the UK work with Ramsay Health Care to provide the best individual healthcare for your needs.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss back pain solutions in more detail.

Upper Back Pain | Right Side

If you are experiencing upper back pain in the right side of your body, there are a variety of factors that may be leading to your symptoms. Common causes of this musculoskeletal pain often include overuse, muscle strain, nerve pressure, fracture or osteoarthritis. To determine the exact cause of your condition, it is important to consult a medical professional. He or she can evaluate the source of your upper back pain, deduce why it is manifesting in the right side of your spine and recommend the appropriate treatment methods that can ease your symptoms. 

Treating the source of your upper right back pain

Depending on the cause and severity of the upper back pain in the right side of your spine, your doctor may recommend for you to visit a physical therapy clinic to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. This may include the following physical therapy treatment options:

  • At-home hot and cold therapy to ease your back spasms and relieve tightness
  • Manual therapy for the neck and shoulders to reduce muscle tension
  • Low-impact exercises to ease pain and stiffness in the back and shoulders
  • Lifestyle modifications to improve your posture and strengthen your muscles
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce stress, ease pain and keep the muscles loose 

Treating upper back pain in your right side at Whatcom Physical Therapy 

At Whatcom Physical Therapy, we know the toll that long-lasting upper back pain in the right side can have on your life. That is why our physical therapy specialists are committed to always advancing our capabilities and learning new techniques to ensure you get the world-class treatment you deserve. 

Take a step into one of our Washington clinics and you’ll see it — our unwavering dedication to quality patient care. Our team of leading industry experts will work tirelessly to find a treatment that works for you as soon as you walk through our doors, so that you can walk out feeling your best self. For more information on our treatment methods for upper right back pain, and to schedule an initial appointment with our team, contact us today.

Middle Back Pain: Causes, Effects & Treatment

If you have a problem with vertebrae in your spine you might need to rest for a short time (usually a couple of days or so), and then gradually become more active.⁶ ⁹

It may help to apply heat to the area.⁶ Voltarol non-medicated Heat Patch is designed to target back and muscle pain, providing up to 8 hours of localised pain-relieving heat. The thin, self-adhesive, odourless patch provides effective pain relief and muscle relaxation in a non-medicated, tablet-free format.

Pain-relieving medicines can help you get up and moving. To decide which medicine is best for you, it may help to learn a bit about pain, and what happens in your body in the article: Understanding the difference between acute and chronic pain.

Voltarol Back & Muscle Pain Relief 1.16% Gel is a topical medicine that relieves pain, reduces inflammation and helps speed up recovery with its triple effect action.¹⁰ ¹¹ It brings targeted, local relief for pain and swelling (inflammation).¹² ¹³ The active ingredient in Voltarol Back & Muscle Pain Relief 1.16% Gel is a NSAID called diclofenac. Diclofenac works to inhibit prostaglandins synthesis (substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation).¹⁴ By reducing their amounts, diclofenac helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.¹⁰

Ask a pharmacist or your GP if you would like advice about what would be the best treatment for you.

Once you feel more comfortable, it’s a good idea to see a physiotherapist to do an exercise programme to strengthen the muscles in your back and improve your posture.⁹ ¹⁵


¹ Thoracic back pain. Patient.Co.Uk Professional Reference. https://patient.info/doctor/thoracic-back-pain, accessed May 2018
² Thoracic spine definition. Spine-Health. https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/thoracic-spine, accessed May 2018
³ Back pain. Nih. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain, accessed May 2018
⁴Mechanical back pain clinical presentation. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/822462-clinical#showall, accessed May 2018
⁵ All about upper back pain. Spine-Health. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/upper-back-pain/all-about-upper-back-pain, accessed May 2018
⁶ Spinal pain. AaON Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Spinal-Pain, accessed May 2018
⁷ Thoracic disc injuries clinical presentation. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/96168-clinical#showall, accessed May 2018
⁸ Neck pain (cervicalgia) and torticollis. Patient.Co.Uk Professional Reference. https://patient.info/doctor/neck-pain-cervicalgia-and-torticollis, accessed May 2018
⁹ Thoracic disc herniation. Orthobullets. http://www.orthobullets.com/spine/2033/thoracic-disc-herniation, accessed May 2018
¹⁰ Zacher J Et Al. Topical diclofenac and its role in pain and inflammation: An evidence-based review. Curr Med Res Opin 2008; 24(4)
¹¹ Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults (Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015:CD007402
¹² Global datasheet: Topical diclofenac. 5 December 2017
¹³ Predel Hg Et Al. Efficacy and safety of diclofenac diethylamine 1.16% gel in acute neck pain: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disord 2013; 14:250.
¹⁴ Gan Tj. Diclofenac: An update on its mechanism of action and safety profile. Medical Research & Opinion 2010; 26:1715–31.
¹⁵ Thoracic disc injuries treatment & management. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/96168-treatment, accessed May 2018

11 Signs Your Upper Back Pain Is Serious Trouble

It may be your desk job

Slouch much? “Upper back pain is most commonly from poor posture,” says Irene Tien, MD, emergency medicine physician with the Rowe Telemedicine Network. Sitting and staring at a computer “shortens chest muscles and pulls on the muscles in the upper back. A lot of people get a muscle spasm between the shoulder blades as a result,” she explains. Here’s how to help your body recover from sitting all day long.

It could also be stress

Along with sub-par posture, strain in the muscles around the neck and shoulders or between the shoulder blades can be multi-factorial, says Kaliq Chang, MD, an interventional pain management specialist at the Atlantic Spine Center in West Orange, New Jersey. Most notably: stress, strenuous exercise, and sleeping with your neck in a weird position.

What you can do

Often you can stay home: There are many effective home remedies for upper back pain relief. “A typical episode of muscle strain usually lasts only a few days,” explains Dr. Chang. Staying comfortable during this time is key. He suggests resting, icing, and taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen.

When to go to the doctor

You can’t always assume the discomfort is no big deal. “If pain lingers for more than a few days or requires regular pain medications,” you should be evaluated by your physician, says Leda Ghannad, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rush University Medical Center. Another sign: if the pain limits your abilities in your day-to-day life, like you have to call off work to stay in bed. Following are signs you need to get medical help, pronto.

The ache won’t go away

You’ve tried the DIY treatments, gotten massages, and maybe even bought a new mattress. If your upper back is persistently hurting, it may—very rarely—be a sign of a lung tumor. (Check out these symptoms of lung cancer that are easy to ignore.) The American Cancer Society points out that advanced lung cancer may contribute to bone pain. Weight loss, chest pain, and weakness are also signs of lung cancer.

You were in a car accident

If you’re able to walk away from a rear end crash and feel OK, you may decide not to get checked out by a doctor. However, whiplash—a violent backward-and-forward jerk of the head—can create “tears and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back,” explains Dr. Chang. See your doctor if you suspect whiplash, especially if you have other symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and pain in your neck.

You feel pain in the side, too

Anyone who’s had a kidney stone knows they’re quite agonizing—and they may cause upper back pain, says Dr. Ghannad. It’s unlikely that this is the only symptom you’ll notice though. You may also feel severe pain in your side and back below your ribs, the Mayo Clinic notes. Discomfort while peeing or red- or brown-hued urine may be other clues. The best advice? “If pain is severe and persistent, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a physician,” says Ghannad.

You have a fever

The flu may be going around—but this isn’t any old illness. In certain instances, severe back pain with an accompanying fever or numbness or tingling in your arms can be from a spinal infection, points out Dr. Tien. Some risk factors are if you’re immunosuppressed, have cancer or diabetes, or are obese. If your doc thinks you may have a spinal infection, they may order an X-rays, CT, or MRI scan to help make the diagnosis. Antibiotic or antifungal medications can treat the issue.

The pain is searing through your chest, too

Numbness or weakness in your arms can be one sign of a stroke—or it may also be an indication of a tear in the wall of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body that runs in the back of your chest, says Dr. Tien. She adds that you’re especially at risk if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure over a long period of time. (Find out doctor-recommended tips for reducing your blood pressure.) “This can cause a tearing mid-chest and/or back pain,” she describes. Just like a stroke, this is an emergency that requires immediate medical care.

You’re really fatigued

The myth of the heart attack victim clutching their chest and collapsing has long been busted. It pays to listen up to subtler signs like nausea, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and back pain, says Dr. Tien. If you think you’re having a heart attack, here’s exactly what you should do.

Your legs are weak

It’s time to think about a possible slipped disc (also called a herniated disc), which can happen if you lift something heavy using your back instead of your legs. If you feel upper back pain along with numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, it may be a sign of a neurologic injury from a slipped disc, says Dr. Chang. Your doc can make the diagnosis with a physical exam.

Pain moves from your chest to your back

One potential cause of back pain is a condition called costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage connecting your ribs to your breastbone. While lifting heavy items, respiratory infections, and chest injuries can cause it, often the source of the pain is unclear. You may feel pain that travels from your chest to your back. Definitely get checked out by your doctor, it often goes away without any treatment.

A deep breath hurts

Take a deep breath: how does that feel? If “extremely painful” is your answer, get checked out. One emergency-worthy cause is a pulmonary embolism, says Dr. Tien. “Blood clots can break off from a deep vein in the leg or arm and travel to the lung, wedging in blood vessels, causing poor blood flow, inflammation, and death of lung tissue,” she explains. If your back pain gets worse with a deep breath, you’re short of breath, you’re coughing up blood, or you feel faint, call 911.

You’re short of breath

Rarely, upper back pain may be due to a punctured lung, which can be caused by an injury. While it is less likely to be the cause of your discomfort, a punctured lung is something you need to know the signs of so you can take the right action. “If the pain is accompanied by shortness of breath or severe pain taking a deep breath, seek urgent medical care,” advises Dr. Chang.

Pain intensifies when you move

You had a recent fall, but you didn’t think your back would hurt this much! “If you had a traumatic injury, like a heavy object lands on your back or you slip on the ice and fall with your back striking the edge of a step, you can break a vertebral bone or a rib,” notes Dr. Tien. (Depending on where you broke it you may feel upper left back pain, or it may appear on your right side.) The pain can be moderate to severe, but it will get worse when you move. Talk to your doctor, especially after any bad injury.

SOURCE: https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/signs-your-upper-back-pain-is-serious-trouble/

Back pain – NHS

Back pain is very common and usually improves within a few weeks or months.

Pain in the lower back (lumbago) is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine, from the neck down to the hips.

In most cases the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.

There are things you can do to help relieve it. But sometimes the pain can last a long time or keep coming back.

How to relieve back pain

The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:

  • stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities – this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
  • try exercises and stretches for back pain; other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
  • take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen – remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
  • use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief – you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well

Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.

Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.

But it’s a good idea to get help if:

  • the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
  • the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
  • the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
  • you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope

If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments. 

They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.

Alternatively, you may want to consider contacting a physiotherapist directly. Some NHS physiotherapists accept appointments without a doctor’s referral, or you could choose to pay for private treatment.

Read more about how to get access to physiotherapy.

Treatments for back pain from a specialist

A GP, specialist or physiotherapist may recommend extra treatments if they do not think your pain will improve with self-help measures alone.

These may include:

  • group exercise classes where you’re taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture
  • manual therapy treatments, such as manipulating the spine and massage, which are usually done by a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath
  • psychological support, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which can be a useful part of treatment if you’re struggling to cope with pain

Some people choose to see a therapist for manual therapy without seeing a GP first. If you want to do this, you’ll usually need to pay for private treatment.

Surgery is generally only considered in the small number of cases where back pain is caused by a specific medical condition.

Causes of back pain

It’s often not possible to identify the cause of back pain. Doctors call this non-specific back pain.

Sometimes the pain may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain, but often it happens for no apparent reason. It’s very rarely caused by anything serious.

Occasionally back pain can be caused by a medical condition such as:

  • a slipped (prolapsed) disc – where a disc of cartilage in the spine presses on a nearby nerve
  • sciatica – irritation of the nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet

These conditions tend to cause additional symptoms, such as numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation, and they’re treated differently from non-specific back pain.

Preventing back pain

It’s difficult to prevent back pain, but the following tips may help reduce your risk:

When to get immediate medical advice

You should contact a GP or NHS 111 immediately if you have back pain and:

  • numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks
  • difficulty peeing
  • loss of bladder or bowel control – peeing or pooing yourself
  • chest pain
  • a high temperature
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a swelling or a deformity in your back
  • it does not improve after resting or is worse at night
  • it started after a serious accident, such as after a car accident
  • the pain is so bad you’re having problems sleeping
  • pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
  • the pain is coming from the top of your back, between your shoulders, rather than your lower back

These problems could be a sign of something more serious and need to be checked urgently.

Page last reviewed: 14 January 2020
Next review due: 14 January 2023

Upper Back Pain Center – Symptoms Causes Treatments

Peer Reviewed

The Universal Guide to Upper Back Pain: Everything you ever wanted to know, straight from the experts.

In This Article: What Is the Upper Back?   |    Symptoms   |    Causes   |    Risk Factors    |    Diagnosis   |    Nonoperative Treatments  |    Surgery Options    |    Recovery   |    Sources

Upper back pain can be a little like salsa or Buffalo wings—we know, bear with us.

  • First, there’s mild: Just a twinge of the tastebuds if we’re talking sauce, and slight pain that’s easy to ignore when it comes to the upper back.
  • Then there’s medium/moderate: Now we’re getting somewhere. You’re gonna feel it, but usually only if you take a deep breath or sneeze or move too quickly.
  • Finally, we’ve got spicy: the equivalent to pain so intense you feel the burn from doing the simplest daily tasks, or even nothing at all!

Upper back pain is usually caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, muscle tension caused by poor posture, or looking downward for long time periods. Photo Source:123RF.com. Thing is, upper back pain affects everyone differently. Partly that’s because there are so many possible reasons for your upper back (also mid back) pain. The first step in solving your upper back pain problem is understanding why it’s happening. To do that, start with learning your anatomy.

What Is the Upper Back?

If you want to understand your upper back pain, start with an anatomy lesson.

Pain in the upper and/or mid back is less common than lower back or neck pain. One 2015 Mayo Clinic review of studies suggests that about a third of people get lower back or neck pain (a little higher for lower back, a little lower for neck), compared to less than one-fifth reporting upper back pain.

The upper back is the region below the cervical spine (neck) and above the low back (lumbar spine). The upper back is called the thoracic spine, and it is the most stable part of the spine. The range of motion in the upper back is limited because of the spine’s attachments to the ribs (rib cage).

Think of your spine as a tree trunk. It keeps you standing upright. It connects parts of your skeleton to each other. It carries the weight of your upper body.

Since that’s a massive job, the spine itself shares some of the physical load with nearby muscles, some of which include:

  • Trapezius: Near your shoulder blade, helps you stand straight and throw
  • Latissimus dorsi: Lower on your back, helps with arm movement and breathing
  • Rhomboids: Adjacent to trapezius, supports your shoulders and helps you pull

When you hurt your upper or mid back doing yard work or playing tennis, chances are high you’ve injured one of these muscles. “The most common reason we see people with upper back pain is a simple musculoskeletal strain,” says Reginald Knight, MD, Director of Bassett Spine Care Institute in Cooperstown, NY.

Spinal cord injury is less common, though possible – especially due to traumatic injury among any age group, or osteoporosis in people older than 65.

Your spine is a long column of bones (vertebrae), which are separated by discs that act as shock absorbers. The discs are firm but not solid, with a cartilage exterior and a gel-like core. The spinal column protects the spinal cord, which has nerves that carry messages from the brain to other parts of the body. (The nerves also poke out from spaces between the vertebrae.)

Even though you might think of your spine as one long structure, doctors see it as three shorter ones: the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (upper and mid back) and lumbar spine (low back).

Your thoracic spine moves very differently than your cervical and lumber spine. In fact, it doesn’t move a whole lot. The thoracic spine is connected to your ribs and sternum, making it rigid and stable – so it’s less prone to injury. That’s one of the reasons you can usually expect upper back pain to be related to your muscles, not to the spine itself.

What Are Common Symptoms of Upper Back Injury?

If you hurt your upper back during the course of daily or weekend-warrior activity, you might experience:

  • Pain
  • Tightness
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Headache

These are typical symptoms of musculoskeletal strain, though they can and do occur with spinal injury. If your upper back pain is related to the bones, nerves, or discs of your thoracic spine, your symptoms may also include:

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain down the legs
  • Incontinence (bowel and/or bladder leakage) 
  • Numbness or weakness in your legs

For mild upper back soreness that you can clearly link to an activity, there’s no need to rush to the doctor for an exam. When you have upper back pain along with other symptoms, it’s worth a call to your doctor to determine next steps.

What Causes Upper Back Pain?

Upper back pain is usually caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, or muscle tension caused by poor posture or looking downward for long periods.

Poor posture and text neck can combine to wreck your upper back. Common behaviors and activities that can cause upper back pain include:

The common causes of upper back pain.

When you look at the senior population, the list of common causes expands. “In elderly people, we have to consider osteoporosis and compression fractures, as well as the rare occasion of a neoplasm, such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma,” Dr. Knight says.

You don’t have to be a senior to experience a problem directly related to your thoracic spine, though. If your doctor suspects this, you may be examined for:

Don’t let that long list of potential, serious conditions alarm you too much. “In younger patients – and when I say young, I mean people up to their mid-60s – it’s most commonly a strain,” Dr. Knight says.

What Are Some Upper Back Pain Risk Factors?

Say you haven’t seen the doctor yet about your upper back pain, but you’re pretty sure it’s not an acute injury. After all, you haven’t taken up a new sport. Maybe you barely have time to exercise, much less overdo it.

Believe it or not, that actually increases your risk of back injury. When you’re physically active, the muscles in your belly and back—your core—help support your spine. If you’re sedentary, you might have weak muscles that contribute to upper back pain.

Lack of exercise is one of several factors that can increase your risk of upper back pain. Others include:

Excess weight. Since your spine supports the weight in your torso, excess weight could stress your back. Belly fat, in particular, is a problem: If you carry a lot of weight in your midsection, it can strain the soft tissues in your back. Conversely, weight loss can reduce pain – though research suggests it may be even more effective as part of a holistic strategy that includes pain management strategies.

Belly fat can contribute to upper back pain, but weight loss can help relieve it.

Psychological conditions. Experts aren’t sure why, but you might be more likely to have back pain if you have depression and anxiety. In fact, some research suggests that people who have depression have worse back pain than people without depression.

Smoking. This bad habit reduces blood flow to the spine, which prevents your back from getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. As a result, the discs in your spine can degenerate. In some people, quitting smoking may help restore some of the loss. But even when the discs don’t regenerate, quitting smoking reduces inflammation that causes back pain.

How Can You Get an Upper Back Pain Diagnosis?

When you go to a doctor for your upper or mid back pain, you’ll start with a conversation. Expect the doctor to ask you about any events that may be directly responsible: A fall, a car accident, or any changes or increases to your fitness routine.

You might be asked to rank your pain on a scale of 0-10. You should also be prepared to talk about how your pain does, or does not, interfere with the activities of your daily life. Can you cook dinner, get dressed, take a shower?

Then comes the physical exam: the poking and prodding part of your visit. The doctor wants to see how your upper back pain affects your movement. Expect to sit, stand, reach, and bend in the exam room. After that, you’re likely to get an X ray.

If symptoms persist or you have “red flags such as a progressive weakness or bowel or bladder control problems,” you may get more advanced testing, Dr. Knight says. He explains that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) would be the likely choice.

Here’s a look at several types of advanced testing for upper back pain.

  • MRI or CT scans. Unlike X-rays, these scans can give doctors a picture of both bone problems and soft-tissue injury. They can reveal herniated disks or problems with muscles, nerves, ligaments, and more.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests can show infection or any abnormalities that might point to diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or certain types of cancer.
  • Bone density test. Also known as a DXA (or DEXA) test, it measures your bone mineral density to determine whether you have or are at risk for osteoporosis.  
  • Nerve studies. Nerves send out electrical signals to which muscles respond. Electromyography (EMG) is a type of nerve study that measures this activity. It can reveal whether you have a compressed nerve, which may be caused by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis (narrowing of your spinal canal).

What Are Common Upper Back Pain Treatments?

The range of treatments for upper back pain – and neck and mid-back pain, too – suggest there is no best option. These are some examples of different approaches that may help you.

In most cases, upper back pain is not a cause for worry; however, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. Furthermore, if pain develops suddenly and is severe—such as from an injury (eg, fall)—and, certainly if pain and symptoms (eg, weakness) progressively worsen you should seek medical attention.

Simple home remedies. In general, the following home treatments may help relieve upper back pain. Ignore the hype about special products marketed on TV or social media. Stick with what science says works, at least for most people with minor musculoskeletal strain:

  • Gentle stretches
  • Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ice to reduce pain and swelling
  • Heat to improve mobility and ease stiffness

Posture exercises. If your posture is good, your spinal structures should be correctly aligned, which reduces back strain. Start with these strategies to improve the way you stand or sit.

  • Imagery. Imagine there’s a cord passing through your body from ceiling to floor. Now imagine someone pulling that cord upward, slightly lifting your chest and ribcage.
  • Chin tuck. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Your shoulders should be relaxed and down. Now pull your chin in toward your neck. Count to five, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
  • Shoulder blade squeeze. Put your hands on your thighs and keep your shoulders down, roughly at chin level. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Count to five, then relax. Repeat three or four times.
  • Upper back stretch. Raise your right arm to shoulder level, directly in front of you. Bend your arm at the elbow and grasp that elbow with your left hand. Now gently pull it across your chest and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat three times on each side.

Prescription drugs. In many cases, a prescription anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant will do the trick to ease your upper and mid back pain. If your doctor suspects depression plays a role in your pain, you may be given an anti-depressant to take longer-term (months, not weeks). Opioid pain relievers may be prescribed for severe pain that isn’t helped by other painkillers, but they’re not recommended for long periods (7 to 10 days(. Finally, you may benefit from an anticonvulsant medicine; it works best for pain caused by nerve damage.

Injections. A trigger point injection is a direct shot of powerful pain medicine. It may solve your problem, or it may just buy you enough pain-free time to pursue other interventions (e.g. exercise and stretching; see the hands-on hearling bullet below) to get your upper back pain in check.

Hands-on healing. Physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care may each provide relief of your upper back pain. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to do more than one of these interventions during a given time frame.

Most cases of upper back pain resolve in 1 to 2 weeks without further treatment. Resume your normal activities gradually, when you can perform them without pain. Don’t rush things, though: you could interfere with your recovery and risk re-injury.

Surgery. The idea of spine surgery can be scary, but sometimes it’s the most reliable way to get relief. Surgery is rarely indicated for isolated upper back pain. This is almost always due to an issue with spine itself, such as a herniated disc, vertebral fracture, or deformity.

What Types of Back Surgery Might You Need?

Needing upper back surgery is rare, but if you do need it, you have options. These are some of the most common procedures for thoracic spine injury.

  • Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty: To repair compression fractures due to osteoporosis, your doctor will inject a glue-like bone cement.
  • Spinal laminectomy/spinal decompression. If you have spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), your surgeon may remove bony walls of the vertebrae to ease pressure on the nerves.
  • Microdiscectomy. When a disc bulges and presses on a nerve, microdiscectomy – minimally invasive removal of a disc (or portion of a disc)– is the gold standard procedure.

What Can You Expect from Upper Back Pain Treatment Recovery?

The success of your treatment, at least in terms of pain relief, may depend on what’s causing your upper and mid back pain.

The not-so-good news: Some people will never be pain free.

If you have a condition that leads to chronic pain – for instance, fibromyalgia or spinal stenosis ­– it’s important to manage expectations for relief, says University of Washington pain control expert David R. Patterson, PhD.

“The truth is that most chronic pain does not have a cure. You can only manage it,” says Dr. Patterson That could mean a combination approach to therapy: body (both exercise and medicine) as well as mind (talk therapy and relaxation techniques). 

Now for some good news. Musculoskeletal pain can get a lot better simply by moving sore muscles more. With back pain, especially if you don’t know the cause yet, Patterson warns not to do this on your own. Wait for a doctor visit and ideally get a prescription for physical therapy, which can improve your body in ways that make you less likely to get injured in the future.

Perhaps the best news of all is that most back pain gets better on its own, even if you do nothing but exercise patience.


Anatomy: Merck Manual. “Injuries of the Spinal Cord and Vetrebrae.” (2019) https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/injuries-and-poisoning/spinal-injuries/injuries-of-the-spinal-cord-and-vertebrae

StatPearls. “Anatomy, Back, Trapezius.” (2020) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518994/

StatPearls. “Anatomy, Back, Latissimus Dorsi.” (2019) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448120/

StatPearls “Anatomy, Back, Rhomboid Muscles.” (2019) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534856/

National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (UK). “Spinal Injury: Assessment and Initial Management.” (2016) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK367841/#ch7.s2

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. “How does the spine work?” (2019) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279468/

Symptoms: SpinalStenosis.org: “Thoracic Spinal Stenosis.” (N.d.) https://stenosisspinal.org/blog/thoracic-spinal-stenosis/   

Treatments: Mayo Clinic. “Back pain.” (N.d.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369911

MedlinePlus: “Medicines for back pain.” (N.d.) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007486.htm

Diagnosis: Mayo Clinic. “Back pain.” (N.d.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369911

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. “Bone Mass Measurement: What the Numbers Mean.” (N.d.) https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/bone-mass-measure

Risk factors: Mayo Clinic. “Back pain.” (N.d.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369911

European Journal of Pain. “Does changing weight change pain? Retrospective data analysis from a national multidisciplinary weight management service.” (2019) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30963658/

Spine Journal. “Symptoms of depression as a prognostic factor for low back pain: a systematic review.” (2016) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26523965/

PLOS One. “Effects of Tobacco Smoking on the Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc: A Finite Element Study.” (2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4547737/pdf/pone.0136137.pdf

Types of surgery: Spine Journal. “Biomechanical analysis of the upper thoracic spine after decompressive procedures.” (2014) https://www.thespinejournalonline.com/article/S1529-9430(13)01930-X/abstract

American Society of Anesthesiologists. “Back surgery.” (N.d.) https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/preparing-for-surgery/procedures/back-surgery/

Pain relief: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. “The effectiveness of noninvasive interventions for musculoskeletal thoracic spine and chest wall pain: a systematic review by the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) collaboration.” (2015)  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26141077/

Excess weight: St. Joseph’s/Candler. “How Belly Fat May Be Causing Your Back Pain.” (2018) https://www.sjchs.org/living-smart-blog/blog-details/blog/2018/01/09/how-belly-fat-may-be-causing-your-back-pain

Updated on: 05/04/21

Self care for neck & back pain


Eight out of 10 people will suffer from back or neck pain at some point in their life. Acute pain is abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a period of days or weeks. However, some people continue to suffer from pain that continues despite nonsurgical or surgical treatment methods. This long-term pain is called chronic pain.

The following advice will benefit a majority of people with acute back or neck pain. If any of the following guidelines causes an increase of neck or back pain, spreading of pain to the arms or legs, or increase in weakness in the arms or legs, do not continue the activity and seek the advice of a doctor or physical therapist. For additional advice about chronic pain, see Pain Management.

What can I do about acute back or neck pain?

The key to recovering from acute back or neck pain is restricting your activity and taking over the counter medications, because most back pain is related to muscle strain. In most cases, acute back pain will go away on its own over a period of days. Here are some tips that will help you recover:

1. Take it easy
If you think you’ve hurt your back, ease up on the pressure you’re putting on your back. Many people actually have little choice in the matter—their back pain will force them to drop to their knees or “freeze” in a bent-over position. Others will be able to function somewhat normally, but with uncomfortable pain. Contrary to popular belief, studies on acute back pain actually show that a few days of restricting your activity, and taking the appropriate over-the-counter medication, is all that many people really need to allow the strained muscles to relax and unbind. However, it is important to talk with your health care provider before taking any medication, especially if you are taking other medications or have a chronic medical condition.

2. Ice, then heat
Remember this rule: “Ice first for 48 hours, then heat.” Ice and heat can alleviate local pain that comes from muscle and ligament strain. Ice slows swelling and inflammation and acts as a local anesthetic, but after 48 hours, it loses its effect. Using heat afterwards increases blood flow to the deep tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.

3. Over-the-counter medications
Inflammation is the body’s protective response to irritation or injury and is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling and pain. To aid in healing and relieve pain, use of over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin or ketoprofen are often recommended. These medications are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and they can effectively reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Prolonged use of NSAIDs can lead to gastrointestinal problems, so it is wise to check with your health care provider before using NSAIDs or any medication. Over-the-counter NSAIDs are intended for short-term use, so never use one for more than a week unless it is recommended by your health care professional.

In some cases, acetaminophen may be recommended. While not an anti-inflammatory drug, acetaminophen can be effective in relieving pain without the risk of gastrointestinal problems that have been associated with prolonged use of NSAIDs. However, acetaminophen can also cause side effects, so it is best to follow these basic rules before taking any medication: always read the directions on the label; watch for the side effects listed; and consult your health care provider before your begin self-treatment.

4. Massage
If you have a willing companion, gentle massage may provide some relief by stretching tight muscles and ligaments.

5. Don’t stop moving
Studies maintain that limited movement of muscles and joints is more effective for treating simple back pain than passive methods such as rest and drugs. Restricting your activity is important, but as the pain eases, you should move your muscles and joints past the point of the initial restriction. Simple exercises can help this process, but it is important to consult your health care provider or a back specialist for the exercise program that is right for you.

6. Adjust your daily routine
When you are in pain, you need to make adjustments to the way you approach daily activities. The key to recovering from acute back and neck pain is maintaining the normal curvature of the spine. Supporting the hollow of your back and practicing good posture will help decrease your recovery time.


Figure 1. The proper way to stand with your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward, hips tucked in, and your weight balanced evenly on both feet.

  • Avoid standing in the same position for a long time.
  • If possible, adjust the height of the work table to a comfortable level.
  • When standing, try to elevate one foot by resting it on a stool or box. After several minutes, switch your foot position.
  • While working in the kitchen, open the cabinet under the sink and rest one foot on the inside of the cabinet. Change feet every 5 to 15 minutes.


Figure 2. The proper way to sit with your hips and knees at a right angle (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.

  • Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back. When you are not using a back support or lumbar roll, follow these tips to find a good sitting position:
    1. Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
    2. Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.
    3. Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
  • Sit in a high-back, firm chair with arm rests. Sitting in a soft couch or chair will tend to make you round your back and won’t support the curve of your back. At work, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Don’t hunch or lean over your work. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.


  • Use a back support (lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips.
  • Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the curve of your back. The seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend and your feet to reach the pedals

Stooping, squatting & kneeling

Decide which position to use. Kneel when you have to go down as far as a squat but need to stay that way for a while. For each of these positions, face the object, keep your feet apart, tighten your stomach muscles and lower yourself using your legs.

Lifting objects

Figure 3. The proper way to lift a heavy object. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees rather than at the waist.

  • Try to avoid lifting objects if at all possible.
  • If you must lift objects, do not try to lift objects that are awkward or are heavier than 30 pounds.
  • Before you lift a heavy object, make sure you have firm footing.
  • To pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.
  • Stand with a wide stance close to the object you are trying to pick up, and keep your feet firm on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and lift the object using your leg muscles. Straighten your knees in a steady motion. Don’t jerk the object up to your body.
  • Stand completely upright without twisting. Always move your feet forward when lifting an object.
  • If you are lifting an object from a table, slide it to the edge to the table so that you can hold it close to your body. Bend your knees so that you are close to the object. Use your legs to lift the object and come to a standing position.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects above waist level.
  • Hold packages close to your body with your arms bent. Keep your stomach muscles tight. Take small steps and go slowly. To lower the object, place your feet as you did to lift, tighten stomach muscles and bend your hips and knees.

Reaching overhead

  • Use a footstool or chair to bring yourself up to the level of what you are reaching.
  • Get your body as close as possible to the object you need.
  • Make sure you have a good idea of how heavy the object is you are going to lift.
  • Use two hands to lift.

Sleeping and lying down

  • Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary.
  • If you’ve always slept on a soft surface, it may be more painful to change to a hard surface. Try to do what is most comfortable for you.
  • Use a back support (lumbar support) at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may be helpful.
  • Use a firm pillow that supports the curve of your neck.
  • Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest.
  • When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.


If you have ongoing back or neck pain, you may think that sex is difficult or impossible. But pain doesn’t have to put an end to your sex life. It is important that you maintain open communication with your partner so that you both avoid frustration, depression, or emotional withdrawal. A good attitude and a willingness to experiment can help you overcome the fear of pain and restore intimacy between you and your partner.

  • Work with your physical therapist to find the position where your back and neck feel the most comfortable.
  • Keep your back supported as much as you can.
  • Be willing to try new positions.
  • Use a bed with a firm mattress and try to avoid soft surfaces that strain the back.
  • Look for resources (books & videos) made for people especially with back pain.

Other helpful tips

Avoid activities that require bending forward at the waist or stooping. When coughing or sneezing, try to stand up, bend slightly backwards to increase the curve in your spine.

Preventing pain and injury

Posture. Using correct posture and keeping your spine in alignment are the most important things you can do for your neck and back (see Posture & Body Mechanics). The lower back (lumbar curve) bears most of your weight, so proper alignment of this section can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of the spine. If you have back or neck pain, you may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits and learn proper ways to lift and bend. Your workspace may need to be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching. Because extra pounds can make back pain worse, you should maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body frame.

Exercise. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit (see Exercises: Back Stretches & Strengthening).

When to see a doctor

Most simple back pain will start to improve within a day or two of restricted activity and over-the-counter medication. If you find yourself taking more and more pills to relieve back pain, or if the pain is getting worse, you’ll want to contact a back specialist. After a thorough medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests a doctor may be able to determine if there is a specific cause of your pain and will recommend appropriate treatments.

Not all chronic pain is treatable. Pain management is an integrated approach to making pain tolerable by learning physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills. This may include exercise, physical therapy, medication, relaxation, acupuncture, behavior changes, biofeedback, hypnosis, and counseling. When you use pain management techniques, you stay in control of your own health. These techniques also help the brain produce it’s own pain medications called endorphins, which literally means “morphine within” (see Pain Management).

Sources & Links

If you have more questions, please contact Mayfield Brain & Spine at 800-325-7787 or 513-221-1100.



acute: a condition of quick onset lasting a short time, opposite of chronic.

chronic: a condition of slow progression and continuing over a long period of time, opposite of acute.

disc (intervertebral disc): a fibrocartilagenous cushion that separate spinal vertebrae. Has two parts, a soft gel-like center called the nucleus and a tough fibrous outer wall called the annulus.

lordosis: abnormal forward curve of the lumbar spine, also called sway back.

kyphosis: abnormal curve of the thoracic spine, also called hunchback.

vertebra: (plural vertebrae): one of 33 bones that form the spinal column, they are divided into 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 4 coccygeal. Only the top 24 bones are moveable.

updated: 9.2018
reviewed by: Banita Bailey, RN and Lisa Cleveland, PT, Mayfield Clinic, Cincinnati, Ohio

Mayfield Certified Health Info materials are written and developed by the Mayfield Clinic. This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your health care provider.

90,000 Pain in the middle and upper spine

Causes of pain in the upper and middle spine

Pain in the upper or middle back can occur anywhere from the base of the neck to the lower chest. Fig 1.

The ribcage consists of 24 ribs (12 on each side), which are attached to a long flat bone in the center of the ribcage – the sternum. The “fastening material” for the ribs is a strong and flexible cartilage tissue.The main job of the chest is to protect internal organs (such as the heart and lungs) from damage.

As you know, the ribs are attached to a single frame, on the one hand, to the sternum, and on the other, to the spine. If the nerve at the point of “attachment” of the ribs is compressed or is in the area of ​​inflammation, or is injured, then pain can manifest itself along the entire length of this nerve. For example, in the arms, legs, chest or abdomen.

Upper and middle back (the so-called thoracic spine) includes:

  • 12 vertebrae (bones, which are the main “fastening mechanism” of the chest and make up the spine)
  • Intervertebral discs (capsules of connective tissue surrounding the soft gelatinous substance of the spinal cord, which provide flexibility to the spine and protect it from shock damage).
  • The muscles and ligaments that hold the spine together.

General picture of the spine. Fig 2.

The vertebral column (spine) consists of 33 bony formations called vertebrae, which are separated from each other by soft elastic cartilaginous discs and are supported by a complex system of various ligaments and muscles. The spine is conventionally divided into five sections: cervical region, thoracic region (upper and middle back), lumbar (lower back) region, sacrum (pelvic region) and coccyx (coccyx).In medical practice, the vertebrae in each segment are numbered from top to bottom. For example, C3 stands for the third vertebra in the neck, while T6 is the sixth vertebra in the thoracic region. If you look at a healthy spine “in profile”, then the vertebrae are located in it in the form of 3 slightly curved lines. This structural feature allows the spine to soften and compensate for vertical and lateral loads.

Pain in the upper and middle part of the spine does not occur as often as in the lower back or neck.This is due to the fact that the mobility of the vertebrae in this part of the spine is relatively lower than the mobility in the cervical and lumbar regions. At the same time, these parts of the spine perform an important function: they are a support for the ribs, ensuring a stable position of the back and protecting vital internal organs, and therefore a lot depends on their state of the parts.

What causes pain in the upper and middle spine?

The main causes of pain in the upper spine (as well as the middle back) are as follows:

  • Excessive tension or damage to the muscles, ligaments and discs that support your spine.
  • Poor posture .
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves, associated, for example, with the formation of a herniated disc.
  • Fracture or displacement of one of the vertebrae.
  • Osteoarthritis, caused by the breakdown of the cartilage located between the vertebrae.
  • Myofascial pain caused by inflammatory processes in the connective tissue or muscles.

In rare cases, pain in the upper and middle spine can be caused by other problems.For example, diseases of the gallbladder, cancer or infections.

What are the symptoms?

General symptoms of disorders in the upper and middle part of the back:

  • Drawing, aching or sharp pain in the upper back (cervical region) and middle back (thoracic region).
  • Hypertonicity (induration) in muscles or muscle groups.

More serious symptoms suggesting the need to see a specialist:

  • Weakness in arms or legs.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, chest, or abdomen.
  • Violation of the functioning of the intestines or bladder (constipation or, conversely, involuntary defecation or urination).

Diagnostic features

During the initial examination, the doctor will first inquire about your state of health, symptoms of the disease, and also ask a number of questions about your work and the usual level of physical activity and stress. This is followed by a physical examination.If necessary, additional studies can be prescribed, both visual (X-ray examination, or MRI) and laboratory (for example, a blood test). This is done in order to pinpoint the cause of the pain and find its source – for example, a vertebral injury or a herniated disc.

How to treat it?

In most cases, people with moderate back pain prefer symptomatic treatment. For example, the use of various non-prescription drugs of the analgesic class or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is very common.Warm or, conversely, cold compresses, as well as massage, physiotherapy or appropriate exercise, often help.

However, if the pain becomes acute and begins to interfere with normal daily activities, you have to see a doctor. Most often, more potent prescription drugs are prescribed after this. I must say that for the upper and middle spine, surgical methods of treatment are rarely used, therefore, in cases where medications do not help, it will be advisable to contact an osteopathic specialist.

Self-help methods

There are several recommendations for back pain relief that are readily available at home.

Short break . If your back begins to “remind you of its existence”, say, during sedentary work, develop the habit of taking short breaks. At the same time, do not allow abrupt transitions from a sedentary, static, posture to physical activity – warm up carefully and slowly.

Use pain relievers and IVC drugs as needed to relieve pain and swelling.

Use a heating pad or ice. Heat can relieve muscle spasms, and a cold compress or ice pack can relieve pain and swelling.

Exercises . Use exercises that stretch and strengthen your back, shoulder, and abdominal muscles and improve posture.

Develop good posture . Control yourself the moment you are standing or sitting. Try not to hunch over or slouch.

Learn techniques to help reduce back muscle tension .Learn techniques for proper deep breathing, muscle relaxation exercises, and meditation.

90,000 Spine hurts – causes, symptoms and treatment

Spine hurts – main signs

Discomfort in the spine can be both minor and significant. Unpleasant sensations depend on the severity of the patient’s condition, the diagnosis, the stage of the pathology and individual factors, including the tolerance of pain.

What types of pain occur most often, why spinal pain occurs:

  1. Nonspecific discomfort in diseases of the spine – includes a number of factors, including temporary muscle damage associated with unfavorable, mildly irritating factors.Examples are prolonged sitting in an antalgic (uncomfortable) posture, muscle strain associated with excessive physical exertion. Also, non-specific discomfort includes adverse factors, including hypothermia and muscle inflammation (myositis).
  2. Irradiating or reflected pains are less common, but also periodically occur in medical practice. Examples are pain in other organs close to the back. It is not uncommon for some women to experience pulling back pain in the period before menstruation.This is due to the contractile activity of the uterus. Sometimes the muscles of the back in the thoracic region hurt with discomfort in the stomach. Some types of heart attacks cause numbness, lumbago, and pain in the limbs.
  3. Mechanical damage. Are directly related to injury. This list includes bruises, sprains and fractures. In this case, the pain will be acute, without irradiation. The discomfort is usually caused by severe inflammation due to injury. Another option for mechanical discomfort is radiculitis, osteochondrosis, hernia or protrusion.These factors are associated with degenerative changes in the spine.

If you make a general classification, it looks like this. Depending on the occurrence of a specific disease, the symptoms of a disease of the spine acquire specific signs that are different from other ailments.

What are the symptoms

Pain has various manifestations and depends on the severity of manifestation, the frequency of attacks and other important factors, including such symptoms of pain in the spine :

  1. By the nature of sensations – sharp, dull, burning, aching, stabbing, cutting or pulling pain in the back, front, left or right.
  2. The degree of manifestation in strength – weak, moderate, strong, unbearable. It is also important to take into account the diagnosis and the individual values ​​of the pain threshold for each person. In the chronic course of the disease, the discomfort will be less pronounced than during the exacerbation.
  3. Presence of localized or spreading pain. When a patient has pain in his entire back and cannot identify a specific pain point, this is a rare complication. With degenerative complications from the musculoskeletal system, the patient is usually able to point to a painful point.
  4. If pain occurs in one part of the back and radiates to another, then this discomfort is called wandering. It has nothing to do with irradiation, since pain in neighboring organs is not felt.
  5. If the back pain is severe and periodically worsens the patient’s quality of life, interfering with daily activities, then the prognosis in the treatment of this type of pain syndrome may be positive. Usually paroxysmal pain does not last constantly, but sometimes occurs during exacerbations. Such discomfort is easier to treat and stop in advance, changing the lifestyle so as not to lead to exacerbations.Dull pains with low intensity are harder to treat, they are mild, but they are felt all the time, so more effort must be made to relieve such discomfort.

Sometimes the intensity of pain and character may differ depending on the location in the back. An example – in the cervical spine, pulling and unpleasant sensations are more often felt, when acute discomfort can occur in the lower back. Below are some common back illnesses and their symptoms.


With osteochondrosis back pain occurs in any part of the spine – cervical, thoracic or lumbar.Among all the lesions of the musculoskeletal system, osteochondrosis develops most often in the ridge. The degenerative process is the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joint, which affects the vertebrae. Due to the thinning of the cartilaginous plate, the distance between them is reduced. In the future, without therapy, this is fraught with the appearance of a hernia of the spinal column.

With osteochondrosis, the patient may feel at the initial stages mild, periodically nagging pain. Over time, they intensify and become permanent, stronger, even during the day.The patient suffers even at rest, and movement and minimal physical activity bring severe torment. The degenerative process cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed down using an integrated approach to treatment. If pain occurs above the lower back, then this indicates a lesion of the thoracic region.

Used from medicines – muscle relaxants, NSAIDs, chondroprotectors, vitamin supplements. It is useful to attend massage courses, carry out daily exercise therapy and do light gymnastics to improve blood flow in the body.


This disease is characterized by the presence of an inflammatory process in muscle tissue. The back is most often affected. The clinical picture during the diagnosis and collection of anamnesis – myositis is accompanied by sharp, aching pain and is accompanied by lumbago. Usually, discomfort is localized in one area. Less commonly, there is a migration of discomfort to adjacent muscle groups or irradiation. A patient with myositis needs a sparing mode of life. You can’t catch a cold, you need to dress warmly.Also, NSAIDs, warming ointments, help with muscle inflammation.

Hernia or protrusion

When protrusion or intervertebral herniation occurs, specific distinguishing symptoms occur, by which these problems can be suspected. At first, there is aching pain in that part of the spine where there is a protrusion of the disc or rupture of the annulus fibrosus. The pain is dull in nature, increases over time. Stiffness in the back is felt in the morning, and warming ointments often temporarily improve mobility.A protrusion or hernia most often occurs in the lumbar spine.

When there is a pinching of the nerve roots of the spinal cord, a person feels shooting pains that radiate to the arm, leg, buttock, neck or shoulder blade. Often, paresthesias (twitching) in the fingers can be observed, which indicates a violation of innervation due to compression of the spinal canal of the lower back. Protrusions and hernias occur with age due to improper posture, with excessive physical exertion, due to lifting weights.

Physical inactivity is an aggravating factor. Due to a sedentary lifestyle, the back muscles lose their tone, which increases the load on the spine. As a result, the intervertebral discs cannot withstand, and their inner contents bulge out. This is a hernia. Protrusion is the previous state.

Treat such diseases in a complex way, prescribing medications – NSAIDs, analgesics, antispasmodics, B vitamins, muscle relaxants. During the rehabilitation period, exercise therapy and physiotherapy are indicated. If the hernia has complications, then surgery is indicated.

Spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis

This condition is characterized by the occurrence of degenerative changes in the cartilage and bone tissue of the spine. At first, the cartilage of the joint is destroyed, and at the initial stages, a person does not feel negative changes in the musculoskeletal system. When the cartilage tissue becomes very thin, degenerative processes occur in the bone tissue. This situation provokes an inflammatory process and severe, excruciating pain, regardless of body position.As the pathology progresses, bone tissue is replaced by growths near the bones – osteophytes. These growths cause a feeling of stiffness and impaired mobility of the back, sharp pain when moving. The area of ​​the iliac joints, large articular elements are most often affected.

In this case, surgery is indicated. At the initial stages of the disease, warming ointments, pain relievers, and vitamin preparations are prescribed. Conservative therapy is aimed at relieving pain and normalizing the body’s motor activity.Warming agents improve blood flow in the affected area, which temporarily makes the patient feel better. The disease is incurable, there is a gradual destruction of bone tissue. The reasons for the appearance are trauma, congenital pathologies of the spine, heredity.

Injuries of bone and connective tissue

When injured, different muscles and ligaments can suffer. Fractures and cracks are also this type of injury, causing back pain. If the patient has received a slight bruise or sprain, then in most cases, therapy is not required.Minor injuries and minor muscle strains disappear within 2-3 weeks, with complete rest and without the use of medication. Minor pain may occur at the site of injury, but trauma does not appear externally.

Damage of moderate degree is characterized by the appearance of certain signs – swelling, inflammation, and possible bruising occur at the site of injury. Examples of injuries are muscle or ligament tears. In such a situation, full recovery is possible within a few months.The acute period is accompanied by severe pain and whining at first, even at rest. Subject to bed rest and the use of medication, the condition returns to normal quickly.

During the recovery period, it is necessary to strengthen the damaged area with the help of exercise therapy, physiotherapy and massage. Recommended drugs for the acute period are cooling ointment, NSAIDs, analgesics. The drugs used during the rehabilitation period are muscle relaxants, warming ointments, vitamins of group B. If the injury was received during physical exertion, they should be started carefully and gradually, with the permission of the attending physician.

In case of severe injury, long-term immobilization of the damaged area is required. An example is fractures, cracks, ligament ruptures. The recovery period after receiving severe injuries takes about six months. If the joint is severely damaged, surgery may be required. Use the same medications as for moderate injuries. After removal of the plaster or the fusion of torn ligaments, the patient should consult a rehabilitation therapist. The specialist conducts, together with the patient, special exercises aimed at restoring the correct movement pattern.

Scoliosis and kyphosis

These conditions are associated with curvature of the spine during prolonged stay in incorrect, antalgic postures. With a curvature of the spine, it hurts where the deformation has occurred, including the lumbar region and above. The prerequisites for the appearance of these diseases appear since childhood, when the child does not want to properly sit at the table at school. In scoliosis, the curvature is of the C and S type. In the first case, the spine is bent to the right or left to one side, near the lumbar or thoracic region.In the second case, soreness and distortion is observed on both sides.

Kyphosis is characterized by the disappearance of the natural bend of the ridge in the lumbar region. The thoracic region is also curved, which is manifested by severe pain in a neglected situation. It is recommended to consult a doctor so that exercise therapy is prescribed for the treatment of the pathological process, muscle tension is relieved and taught to sit properly. The main rule of treatment is to adhere to correct posture. Drug therapy will also be required.

Causes of back pain not related to spinal problems

If the patient has irradiation, then this indicates gastrointestinal diseases, pathologies of the cardiovascular system, disturbances in the work of the hepatobiliary system, oncology, kidney problems, nervous disorders.

Why back pain occurs for other reasons:

  1. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and hepatobiliary system. In case of a violation in the work of internal organs, pathological changes occur, leading to painful sensations.Abdominal pain will be different from joint pain. Irradiation to the thoracic back and higher is possible, which will be felt by muscle heaviness. In parallel, there are unpleasant sensations at the level of the solar plexus. What causes abdominal pain – ulcers, gastritis, food poisoning. With diseases of the gallbladder and liver, the pain arises sharply and suddenly, radiates to the lower back. The reason is cramps and colic.
  2. Pain in the kidneys is manifested by irradiation near the coccyx and lower back. Unpleasant sensations are observed from two sides – to the right and left behind.The nature of the discomfort is sharp, pulling. You cannot endure unpleasant sensations for a long time. Such pains can lead to pathological serious changes that impair the functioning of a vital organ.
  3. Cancer diseases. A tumor is a dangerous condition that may not show signs of the disease for a long time. It can start to hurt if the size of the malignant neoplasm is large and squeezes the nerve endings. During the development of the tumor, radiating pain occurs, affecting the region of the shoulder blades, neck and lower back.If the brain is affected, the neck will hurt. With ovarian cancer, the lower back hurts. In breast cancer – thoracic region, armpit.
  4. Cardiac disorders. These pathologies are often associated with back pain, especially in the thoracic region. Some disorders can be detected precisely during the diagnosis – arrhythmias, heart murmurs. With heart pain, a burning sensation of discomfort is observed, radiating to the abdomen, behind the spine, near the shoulder blades. If taking nitroglycerin relieves pain, then the discomfort really indicates impaired health on the part of the cardiovascular system.Otherwise, it may indicate a neurological disorder.
  5. Intercostal neuralgia is a neurological disorder that is often confused with an attack of angina pectoris. Usually there is no clear localization of the painful sensation. It seems to the patient that at first pain in the right back , then there are lumbago in the region of the heart. Sometimes there is acute pain in the spine , which quickly passes. If hurts on the left in the back , then the symptoms may be confused with osteochondrosis.If, during the next visits to the doctor, no problems with the heart or back are found, then muscle relaxants, sedatives, B vitamins are prescribed.
  6. Diseases of the respiratory system sometimes manifest as discomfort in the thoracic spine. These causes of back pain are associated with irradiation and an infectious and inflammatory process. With a disease of the upper respiratory tract, there is a sore throat, runny nose. If the lower respiratory tract is affected, then the patient is tormented by shortness of breath, cough.Spitting up blood indicates a severe injury that requires urgent medical attention.

Why back pain occurs – diagnosis

If you have pain in the spine, you need to contact your local doctor. The therapist will take anamnesis and conduct an initial examination. Then he will refer you to diagnostic procedures.

What tests need to be passed:

  1. General and biochemical blood analysis, urinalysis. These appointments are a standard protocol and are necessary in order to assess how vital organs are functioning.Analyzes show the state of the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, hemostasis system. You can also determine the presence of a latent inflammatory process.
  2. X-ray of a specific section of the spine. Using the X-ray method, it is possible to detect osteochondrosis, signs of a hernia and gross changes in the bone structure. It is a fast and inexpensive diagnostic method.
  3. MRI. One of the most accurate methods for assessing the work of internal organs. An MRI is sent to see a hernia, neoplasm, or protrusion.Disadvantages of MRI are the high cost of the procedure.

If during the diagnosis no problems with the spine are found, then they are sent for diagnosis to specialists of a narrow profile – a cardiologist, rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, neurologist.

Backache – treatment

Therapy is determined by the diagnosis. Treatment of back pain is aimed at symptomatic relief of discomfort in the acute period. In the course of treatment of back pain , medications, physiotherapy, exercise therapy are used.

What methods of treatment are usually used:

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs have a powerful analgesic effect, which is important for injuries, bruises, myositis, hernias and osteochondrosis of the spine. Exacerbation is easily stopped by injection. It is better to use such medicines in a short course, because they have a wide range of side effects. Over time, with pain in the spine, they switch to external anesthetic or warming ointments, depending on the specific diagnosis and the stage of recovery.
  2. During the recovery period, it is recommended to visit a rehabilitologist, do exercise therapy, and wear supporting bandages. Together, these methods of treatment will help you recover faster from injuries, myositis, during remission with osteochondrosis or hernia.
  3. The third, important step is lifestyle optimization, which will help avoid a second attack. You need to lead an active lifestyle, avoiding physical inactivity. Physical activity should be moderate. Correct posture should also be maintained.Periodically, the patient should visit a rehabilitation therapist or massage therapist.

Editorial opinion

Pain in the spine can occur due to many reasons, which can be determined by specific signs or after a thorough diagnosis by a specialist. To learn more about back diseases, it is recommended to read other articles on this topic on our website.

90,000 Psychosomatics of back pain and diseases of the spine

Back pain is often psychosomatic in origin.They can be provoked by constant nervous tension, stress, unresolved intra- and interpersonal conflicts, suppressed feelings of resentment, fear, anger, anger, etc.;

The state of the spine directly depends on a person’s thoughts about support and stability in life. And if difficulties arise in one area or another, then various diseases of the spine arise.

What exactly does the spine tell us about?

If the spine hurts in the middle section, this indicates that the person is tormented by a feeling of guilt.A person can blame himself for mistakes that were made in the past. It is necessary to let go of the past, forgive yourself and start life anew. In addition, it is very important for such patients to cultivate a sense of respect and self-love.

  • a person takes on too much, but cannot cope with it;
    a person closes in on himself, closes himself off from life;
  • a person has experienced mental trauma, and therefore, is guided only by a sober mind, turning off emotions and the heart;
  • a person has impaired communication skills, he closes himself from contact with people in order to prevent mental trauma again;
  • a person is inclined to condemn others;
  • a person accumulates emotions in himself and does not allow them to splash out;
  • a person has accumulated negative emotions, which the psyche can no longer cope with, therefore it splashes them out through the body;
  • the person is afraid to fail;
  • a person tends to blame himself and others.

Common to these patients is the victim complex, that is, they feel like a victim of the situation, situation. On the one hand, these people take too much upon themselves, but, on the other hand, they are not fully responsible for it.

In addition, they have low self-esteem, they are afraid to start new relationships, they are afraid of romantic relationships.

Psychotherapists claim that only through self-acceptance, through love and forgiveness of themselves and others, they can get rid of their ailments and heal the spine.

If the spine hurts in the lower section

The spine in the lower section fails if a person is too worried about a financial issue. This is especially evident in those people who strive for independence and are afraid to be a burden to others. The more relevant this question is for a person, the more likely it is that he will have problems with the sacral spine. However, this is not the only reason that leads to pathological processes in the lower back.

  • So, doctors identify the following psychological reasons: a person, on the one hand, lacks love, and on the other, he is forced to be lonely;
  • the person does not feel safe;
  • a person suffers from a feeling of hopelessness;
  • the person has experienced sexual abuse, in connection with which he experiences self-hatred;
  • in deep childhood, a person experienced trauma and still cannot forget and let go of it;
  • asexuality, denial of sexual attractiveness and sexual relations;
  • fear of financial ruin and falling off the career ladder.

If a person has problems with the coccyx, this may indicate that the person blames himself, cannot omit old grievances.

Such people suppress feelings of anger, anger, fear; are afraid to receive joy and pleasure from life; have low communication skills.

If you want to cope with back pains, including those of a psychological nature, we suggest going through the program “Healthy back” , developed and led by a practicing surgeon, reflexologist Alexander Ivanov.The program is based on traditional Chinese healing methods. Several types of massage, work with biologically active points, exercises to strengthen the deep muscles of the spine, periarticular muscles and tendons are waiting for you.

The course will help to cope with such problems as: sacroiliac pain, back pain, frozen shoulder syndrome, osteoarthritis, upper back pain, headache of various etiologies, osteochondrosis, neck pain, hip pain, spondylosis, poor posture and scoliosis as well as problems associated with intervertebral discs.

Everyone can benefit from this complex. Regardless of age and fitness level, both seniors and trauma survivors and athletes will benefit from these exercises. The complex is also effective in the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system. You can read more about the course here

90,000 What are the main causes of upper back pain?

What are the most likely causes of upper back pain?

Causes of upper back pain are usually the result of poor posture, muscle overload, or injury.Treatment may include rest and light exercise, or perhaps a visit to a physical therapist.

The upper back is the area between the base of the neck and the lower chest. The upper back is made up of 12 bones, which doctors call the thoracic spine.

The first bone of the upper back starts at the base of the neck, and the 12th bone ends just below the ribcage. Pain may appear anywhere between these bones.

Most people describe upper back pain as a burning sensation or a pulling sensation in one place, which can be the site of injury or tension.

Although these pains are less common than lower back or neck pain, one study found that 1 in 10 men and 1 in 5 women may have upper back pain.

Doctors call upper back pain thoracic spine pain.

Major causes of upper back pain include:

1. Weakened muscles and poor posture

People can train their muscles over time to become stronger or more enduring through exercise and strength training.

But if muscles are used incorrectly or irregularly, muscle tone may decline.

In some muscles, including the back muscles, weakness can appear as easily as if you have been sitting at a table with incorrect posture for too long.

Bending over the table in the chair can lead to loss of strength in the muscles. Over time, the weakening of the muscles can lead to pain in the area as they experience constant tension or irritation.

When a person slouches, the pressure from gravity and the body itself presses on the spine, neck, discs and ligaments.Over time, this pressure can lead to pain and other complications.

In most cases, muscles can be made stronger and more durable. This process begins with correcting your sitting posture and taking regular breaks from movement and stretching work.

However, it takes patience to prepare muscles, and anyone with chronic upper back pain from weak muscles can benefit from visiting a physical therapist to find the exercises that are right for them.

2. Muscle overload

Overloading the back muscles is another common cause of upper back pain. It usually occurs when the same movements are repeated over time.

A classic example of how this happens is a baseball server who makes the same move every time he serves, which can often wreak havoc on his shoulder.

Any other repetitive activity can cause similar pain.For example, someone who has to do the same movement all day or lift things over their head throughout the day may develop muscle irritation, tightness, or tension. This can turn into chronic pain if the symptoms that appear are ignored.

Treatment usually begins with rest and the use of heat or ice packs to improve blood circulation in the muscles. A physical therapist may recommend exercises to increase flexibility and strength in this area.

3. Injury

Injuries can also lead to back pain. Pain can result from situations that include:

  • accident;
  • drop;
  • 90,019 industrial accidents;

  • weight lifting.

Trauma is sometimes obvious and pain appears immediately after it occurs.

Injuries can be serious and, as a result of, for example, vertebral fractures, a person is at risk of long-term complications, including chronic pain, nerve damage and paralysis.

The physician should consider all possible back injuries as it is very important that they heal properly to avoid long-term pain.

A physician may also refer a person to a physiologist or physical therapist to assist in the proper healing of muscle injuries. Very severe injuries may require surgery.

4. Herniated disc

Herniated discs are more common in the lower back, but sometimes in the upper.

Discs are soft rubber cushions between the vertebrae. A herniated disc occurs when a piece of this pillow bulges out and puts pressure on the spine.

Even light pressure can cause significant back pain and other symptoms including numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.

In most cases, surgery can be dispensed with. Simple rest or acupuncture can be a good treatment. Anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections only relieve symptoms and do not treat the problem itself.

5. Pinched nerve

A herniated disc may slide far enough to clamp a nearby nerve. A pinched nerve in the mid-back can cause:

  • Numbness and pain in arms or legs;
  • problems with urination control;
  • Weakness or loss of control in the legs.

A pinched nerve usually does not need surgery, although doctors may recommend steroid injections in some cases.

6. Osteoarthritis

The source of back pain is sometimes not muscles, but problems with bones and joints.

Cartilage, which softens and protects bones, can deteriorate as a person ages. The term for this is osteoarthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis among older adults, according to the US National Institute of Aging.

Osteoarthritis can eventually cause cartilage to be completely worn between bones, causing the bones to rub against each other.It can also put pressure on the nerves in the spine, causing numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet.

Anyone who suspects they have osteoarthritis should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment usually focuses on relieving pain and maintaining joint function.

7. Myofascial pain

Pain can also occur from problems in the connective tissue of the back, which doctors call fascia.

Myofascial pain may begin after injury or overuse, but chronic myofascial pain may persist long after the initial injury.

It is still unknown why myofascial pain continues in some cases. Physicians may recommend physical therapy and myofascial therapy to enable the person to treat the fascia and relieve pain.

8. Infections of the spine

Rarely, an infection can cause upper back pain. An epidural abscess of the spine is a collection of microbes and pus that form between the spinal cord and the bones of the spine.

The abscess may grow and swell, resulting in pain.Early diagnosis is critical, as after it, doctors can quickly remove the spinal abscess and avoid serious complications.

In some cases, it is necessary to resort to surgery to clear the abscess area and reduce the risk of complications. But sometimes antibiotics are enough.

A study published in BioMed Research International notes that mortality can range from 2 to 25 percent in people with epidural abscess of the spine, usually because diagnosis of the condition of many patients with this problem is delayed.You can’t joke with that.

9. Lung cancer

Back pain can be caused by lung cancer in very rare cases.

The case study highlights one such case. The study notes that complications can lead to the spread of cancer to bone in about 30 to 40 percent of people with non-small cell lung cancer.

How to prevent pain

It is impossible to prevent absolutely all causes of upper back pain, but there are a few simple steps anyone can take to avoid some of the most common causes:

  • Take regular breaks from sitting or lying down to stretch and move different muscle groups.
  • Take frequent breaks when working at your desk to keep your muscles free and strong.
  • Take a few minutes to stretch your muscles or warm up your body before any activity.
  • 90,019 people who constantly lift heavy objects should try to avoid twisting or lifting solely with their backs;

  • Massage regularly to relieve muscle tension.
  • Visit a physical therapist to strengthen weak muscles and maintain normal joint pressure;
  • Avoid carrying heavy backpacks all the time;
  • Always maintain good posture, walk upright and sit correctly, using back supports as needed.


Most cases of back pain are due to lifestyle problems. In these cases, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and stretching can help relieve pain.

In cases of injury or chronic back pain, people should see a doctor for a correct diagnosis. Anyone not sure where to start should ask a doctor about treatment options. Doctors can recommend specific exercises or refer you to the right specialist.

South Korea can offer both surgical and non-surgical spinal treatments. Any methods of treatment in this country are carried out with a success rate of more than 99.99%.

And in terms of the quality of the treatment of the spine, Korea has already surpassed such leading (in the past) countries as Germany, Israel and the United States, while maintaining a lower level of cost.

90,000 Back pain between the shoulder blades – what to do? | Med-magazin.ua


Date of publication: 07.10.2019

Pain is a signal from our body that something is going wrong, and it needs help to cope with this condition. Pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades, unfortunately, is very common lately, not only among the elderly, but also among young people. The fact is that in itself, back pain between the shoulder blades is not a disease.This is just a symptom. And, the localization of pain in this area, especially repetitive or prolonged, suggests that the problem cannot be ignored until it has developed into a more serious one. Therefore, as soon as possible, you need to determine the causes of back pain between the shoulder blades. And they can be very different.

The most common causes of this pain are associated with the brace that surrounds the spinal column. If for some reason the muscles in this area lose their endurance, weaken, then the spine takes all the load.Accordingly, the articular-ligamentous apparatus, intervertebral discs may suffer. Thus, disturbances in the work of the paravertebral muscles can provoke pain. If the muscles develop asymmetrically, then some take on an increased load and are clamped in constant tension, while others, on the contrary, are “lazy” and, not receiving sufficient load, weaken. From this, posture disorder first develops, and then, if you do not take action, curvature of the spine (scoliosis). And also there are violations from the intervertebral discs and individual vertebrae.

Now living conditions are such that most people suffer from physical inactivity. Physical activity is very important for maintaining health. Special exercises will help strengthen the muscles of the back, which can significantly alleviate the condition with these pains, and sometimes even get rid of them altogether. There are many exercises and specially designed complexes. They are designed for different levels of physical fitness and choosing the right option for yourself is not a problem.Also, in some cases, a back brace can help to correct posture. It is best to purchase it after consulting a doctor.

Physiotherapy procedures, as well as massage, will cope with discomfort if the pain radiates to the back between the shoulder blades. They usually need to be used in courses of 5-10 procedures, depending on the condition. Especially if there is muscle strain or the consequences of an injury.

Sharp back pain between the shoulder blades can be the result of inflammation or pinching of nerve endings.It can arise suddenly and be the result of osteochondrosis of the spine. Along with the pain, overstrain and numbness in the muscles can be felt. The pain can intensify at night, when bending, turning, lifting weights, hypothermia. Sometimes the pain increases with coughing and sneezing, inhaling and exhaling. An integrated approach is important in the treatment of osteochondrosis. It is important to choose the right technique correctly, since what will help one person will absolutely not work for another person.

Most often, a combination treatment brings a positive result, such as:

  1. Drug therapy.
  2. Balanced therapeutic diet.
  3. Therapeutic gymnastics (exercise therapy).
  4. Manual therapy.
  5. Hydromassage.
  6. Reflexology.
  7. Spinal traction treatment.
  8. Laser therapy and ultrasound.
  9. Electro-, magneto-vibration stimulation.
  10. Vacuum therapy.

Correctly selected techniques minimize drug therapy and have a prolonged effect.In addition, you need to move a lot, wear comfortable shoes with a small heel, and monitor your posture. If possible, exclude heavy lifting. Do not sleep on a soft mattress, prefer orthopedic of medium hardness. Also shown is the intake of vitamins of group B.

90,000 pain in the right side, flatulence

Hello. I would be very grateful for your answer. History: In the late 90s, he became interested in the raw food diet. I ate large portions of cabbage and carrot salads, peanuts, etc.After that, aching pains appeared in the right hypochondrium. I checked my liver for ultrasound several times. Found nothing. Also about 6 years ago I did a colonoscopy in Borovlyany. Found nothing. Over the years, the pain under the liver became more and more frequent. I found that if you massage a painful area or successfully press on a certain point there, it causes a quick release of gases and a decrease or temporary cessation of pain. This continued until August 2019.In August of this year, I drank a lot of cold kvass. This probably provoked an exacerbation.There were quite severe pains throughout the abdomen, loosening of the stool, profuse gas formation. The enzyme pills didn’t help. Made a coprogram in August. Found undigested muscle and plant fibers. Since then (that is, for a year now), constant pain in the right hypochondrium, constant flatulence from any food and even during starvation, a feeling of a foreign body and adhesions, etc. (see full list of symptoms below). In autumn and winter, several analyzes in a row also recorded severe eosinophilia. Massage and pressure in the area of ​​the right hypochondrium ceased to bring relief, on the contrary, they cause a sharp and prolonged exacerbation of pain and flatulence.At the end of November, there was the most severe exacerbation – severe pain, severe weakness, fever up to 37.2 (usually my temperature is lowered – 36.3). I felt really bad. I went to the district hospital. There, even the X-ray did not work, but at least they did a colonoscopy. Found nothing. In December – January he turned to a gastroenterologist at the regional polyclinic. He sent for tests for calpropectin, pancreatinase and dysbiosis. The tests were normal and on the basis of this the doctor said that I had irritable bowel syndrome.My requests to conduct other necessary studies – (in particular, the barium passage recommended by the oncologist) was rejected by the doctor – they say for this you need to be hospitalized. Blood tests for major parasites are negative. Was examined by oncologists – blood test for markers, CT scan. No malignant lesions were found, although the oncologist agreed that such a large thickening in the caecum area should not be felt. He suggested it was chronic appendicitis. In April, I had a coupon for a second consultation with a gastroenterologist, where I wanted to demand hospitalization and examination, but an epidemic began and the appointment was canceled.The doctor prescribed remedies for stomach acidity and smecta. There is no effect. I drank espumisan on my own, but even double doses slightly reduced flatulence. A strict diet helps, but not much. Symptoms: Main: 1. Constant aching and stitching pains in the right side under the liver and frequent pains in the center of the abdomen. Apparently in the small intestine (or nearby). The pain intensifies immediately after eating, after drawing in the abdomen or taking a deep breath, with movements of the body. 2. Quite severe pain in the lower and middle part of the back on the right, especially in the morning.If you press lightly on the floating ribs from the back or side, it also hurts. 3. Periodically, there are small foci of burning pain in the anterior abdominal wall on the right side and in the posterior surface of the abdominal cavity on the right. 4. Constant flatulence from any food or fasting. When gases are released, the pain usually diminishes. 5. A massive thickening (tumor?) In the shape of a triangle is felt in the lower right abdominal cavity. The top of the triangle goes under the liver, where the main pains are felt. The thickening itself does not have tactile or pain sensitivity – that is, it is felt with the fingers as something inanimate, foreign.One doctor said that it is possible an accumulation of feces, but this is not so – before the colonoscopy, he did a complete cleansing of the intestines with a laxative – the tumor (?) Did not disappear. 6. Feeling of a foreign body in the right hypochondrium, expanding the abdomen. Secondary (can be a consequence of other pathologies?): 7. Massage and pressure in the right hypochondrium have ceased to bring relief, on the contrary, they cause a sharp and prolonged exacerbation of pain and flatulence. 8. After eating I feel bad: in addition to pain and flatulence – abnormal irresistible drowsiness.I have to eat in small portions, but this does not help. Drowsiness is possibly caused by insufficient cerebral circulation – is the blood draining from the head to the stomach? Earlier, before the exacerbation, this was not the case. 9. Progressive muscle weakness and lethargy, frequent dizziness. Please advise what examinations I need to undergo in order to make a diagnosis, and what arguments should I require from a gastroenterologist to perform these examinations. (he refused, citing the fact that my fecal analyzes are normal).Thanks.



1979 years,

05 August 2020

90,000 What to do if a pinched nerve? Symptoms and treatment, how to relieve pain.

Many patients come to the doctor and say: “Doctor, it seems to me that my nerve is pinched.” What exactly does this mean? What is a pinched nerve? Does a pinched nerve cause back pain? Does such a diagnosis really exist? In fact, yes and no. To dive deeper into this topic, we need to first start with very simple terms and a short anatomy lesson.

What are nerves?

The human nervous system is divided into two parts. This is the central nervous system, or CNS, and the peripheral nervous system, or PNS. The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord, which branch out into the spinal nerves that control the rest of the body. When these spinal nerves exit the spine, PNS begins. Thousands of nerves exist in the human body, they are in almost every part of it; all of these nerves are part of the PNS.

The largest nerve in the human body is the sciatic nerve, which forms in the pelvis from many spinal nerves after they have emerged from the spine.

Anatomically, the sciatic nerve runs down the leg and can cause pain in the leg. Before the advent of modern technology, when people had pain in their legs or buttocks associated with nerve endings, it was assumed that it was caused by compression or damage to the sciatic nerve. The term sciatica was born out of the above concept.

What is known today

With the advent of modern technology, in particular MRI, we now know that this is not true. Although the sciatic nerve can actually cause pain in the legs and be compressed or “pinched” by the piriformis muscle in an area called the “sciatic fossa” (a condition called piriformis syndrome), this is very rare. Sciatica in more than 95% of cases actually has nothing to do with a sciatic nerve problem or compression, in other words, “pinching”.

A much more common cause of nerve-related pain in an arm or leg is compression of the spinal nerve. This condition is called radiculopathy. In most cases, pinching of the lumbar spinal nerve causes pain in the buttocks and legs, and pinching of the cervical spinal nerve causes pain in the shoulder and arm.

How are pinched nerves identified?

In addition to analyzing the patient’s symptoms and physical examination, other measures can be taken.Imaging studies such as x-rays or computed tomography provide good detailing of the actual bone anatomy of the human body, but very poor visualization of soft tissue and nerves.

The best test for imaging spinal nerves is MRI, and it is considered the “gold standard” imaging study preferred by physicians. MRIs are performed using magnets, and this can interfere with the operation of some medical devices, such as pacemakers.If MRI is not possible, computed tomography is often required, usually in combination with dye injection into the spinal canal to visualize the spinal nerves. This dye injection procedure is called a “myelogram”.

In some cases, a procedure called an electrodiagnostic test, or EMG, can help doctors identify the affected nerve. This is a neurological test that involves electrical shocks and small needles that are inserted into various muscles that can provide information about the actual function of the various nerves in the arm or leg where the symptoms are located.This test can also determine if nerves (excluding spinal nerves) are responsible for symptoms in the arms or legs.

An often debated question is whether lumbar spinal nerves can cause back pain. They are usually thought to be able to do this, but usually only to the side of the midline, to the right or left of the spine. An area called the sacral sulcus is often painful when the spinal nerves are compressed. However, with severe compression and inflammation of the spinal nerves, symptoms are usually expected to spread distally, down the arm or leg, supplied with the corresponding affected nerve.This is called a “dermatome pattern”.

Spinal nerve entrapment can occur suddenly or gradually. Sudden compression usually occurs with an acute joint problem called a herniated disc.

More gradual compression usually occurs over time due to bone changes that develop as tissues age and bone growth and bone spurs develop. If there is a narrowing of the spine where the nerves are located, this is called “stenosis.”If the central part of the spinal canal is stenotic or narrowed, it is called central stenosis, and if the lateral part of the spine is narrowed where the spinal nerves try to exit laterally, it is called foraminal stenosis or lateral stenosis. The progressive chronic pain and functional decline caused by pinching of the spinal nerves due to bone stenosis is usually considered a surgical diagnosis.

How is it treated?

Spinal nerve entrapment due to sudden (or acute) herniated soft discs can often be treated without surgery, avoiding pain-causing activities: appropriate physiotherapy, oral medications, and often with selective nerve root blockade or epidural steroid injections in the area of ​​irritation and inflammation.

Because the human body tends to adapt easily to the changes that occur during aging, compression or compression of the spinal nerves is often detected by chance and does not cause any symptoms at all. The gradual development of compression throughout life is natural. It is important to understand that if the compressed nerve does not cause symptoms such as severe pain, weakness, or numbness leading to long-term functional changes, then no treatment is required.

It is extremely rare for an asymptomatic patient to require aggressive intervention, such as spinal surgery. If you have symptoms that you suspect may be caused by a pinched spinal nerve, see a spinal specialist to decide how to treat you.

Methods of therapy

In many cases, simple steps can help treat your symptoms:

  • Prescribed medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain relievers for more severe pain, and muscle relaxants.
  • Losing weight, if necessary, through diet and exercise.
  • Physiotherapy or home exercise under the supervision of an instructor.
  • In case of a pinched nerve in the neck: wearing a soft collar around the neck for a certain period of time.

But some people need more complicated treatment or surgery. During a surgical procedure called discectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the disc that is pressing on the nerve root. Along with this procedure, the surgeon may need to remove parts of some vertebrae or connect the vertebrae together.

What can I do to prevent a pinched nerve?

Keeping fit can reduce the risk of a pinched nerve.