How to Relieve Upper Back Pain

A painful upper back can greatly reduce a person’s enjoyment in life. Not only is the physical pain a burden to bear, the mental and emotional aspects can be just as bad. If you talk to anyone who has suffered with back pain, they will tell you that being plagued with a sense of not being able to be as physically active as they once were, or having their social life basically taken away from them can be a living nightmare.

People who are currently dealing with back issues or those who have had problems with their backs in the past have had their lives disrupted in every way possible. There is, of course the discomfort that comes with back pain. Sometimes the pain can be mild, but more often than not, the pain is quite severe. They are tied to seeing primary care doctors who then refer them to specialists. Back pain sufferers are given prescriptions that alter their lives. These prescriptions can alter their ability to drive or perform tasks that many take for granted due to their ability to cause fatigue and drowsiness. Sometimes pain medications can cause constipation, which may warrant another over-the-counter medication or prescription for a laxative. Some devote time out of their busy lives to physical therapy in an attempt to address their pain, and of course as a last resort, many turn to surgery.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in any part of the back, or body for that matter, can be a serious and debilitating problem. For the purposes of this article, the central focus will be geared to upper back pain. The causes of upper back pain can be numerous, ranging from a congenital defect such as scoliosis, or it could be due to an accident or poor posture, and even over-exertion. Upper back pain is that which is located between the shoulder blades. This type of pain and discomfort can travel up to your neck and head which can trigger headaches, as well as spread down to the arms and chest, causing musculoskeletal problems in those areas as well.

Upper Back Pain

Upper Back Pain

Upper Back Pain Triggers

There are many things that can set back pain into motion, even if it has been quiescent for a while.

  • An unexpected movement can set off spine pain.
  • A main contributor that many people do not consider when an episode occurs is stress. Stress at work and at home are two of the main causes for a painful episode.
  • Sitting in an uncomfortable chair or standing incorrectly with the shoulders slumped forward are also culprits.
  • Upper back pain can even occur while sleeping. We have all experienced waking up to back discomfort. This is usually caused by sleeping with the spine twisted in an awkward position.
  • Sometimes when breathing, especially deep breathing, you may feel pain in your back.
  • During pregnancy extra burden is placed not only on the lower spine, but the upper spine as well. Sitting, lying, or standing may only provide temporary relief.

Ways to relieve Upper Back Pain

There are a few different modalities that are available for you to try for your back pain and discomfort. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be able to alleviate your pain without medications and their sometimes adverse side effects, or surgery which has risks and may or may not alleviate your pain at all.

  • Chiropractic. Setting an appointment with a chiropractor may prove to be beneficial in your quest to relieve upper back pain fast. Your chiropractor will take a history from you which will help him or her to decide the best course of action to take. Your visits will consist of this specialist identifying trigger points and treating them with a series of manipulations. While there is no guarantee of completely curing you of your pain, as is the case with seeing a specialist, many have reported excellent improvement in their pain. Some even report better outcomes with chiropractic care than with seeing a spine specialist.
  • At home. You may be surprised at the ways that you may be able to relieve upper back pain in the comfort and convenience of your own home. This may prove to be especially effective for those who are suffering with minor upper back pain. Applying hot or cold compresses and taking natural pain relievers can provide great relief for many people. It is important to note that if you are going to take a natural pain reliever that you be cognizant of other medications that you may already be taking, whether they are by prescription or over the counter.
  • Massage. Massage therapy is an excellent way to get relief from upper back pain. This is especially helpful during pregnancy as you will want to avoid taking oral medications that could have ill effects on your developing baby. It is also an excellent avenue for those who are dealing with mild to moderate pain.
  • Exercise. Something as simple as exercise is another excellent way to alleviate and even prevent upper back pain. You do not have to do anything strenuous. You will want to concentrate on doing gentle stretching moves that will ease out knots and tension. You want to extend your spine to some degree without overextending it. Overextending will only cause further pain and could cause you to have a setback. Stretching can be done from a standing position or while lying flat. Doing an Internet search will help you to identify which type of stretching exercises will benefit you the most.
  • Yoga. Yoga has so many wonderful benefits. It is an excellent way to stay centered, fit, and build strength. It is also one of the best ways to relieve pain in the upper back. You can custom fit a yoga program to address your specific upper back needs. You do not have to be an expert yoga guru to receive any benefit from it. In fact, many people who practice yoga start out because of upper back problems. It is recommended that you start slowly with a yoga back routine and gradually work your way into more advanced moves. You may want to initially start off working with a certified yoga instructor just to get the basics. Once you are comfortable, you could easily practice in the comfort of your home and on your own time.

Indeed upper back pain can certainly be a challenge. However, there are a few things that you can do on your own or with a little outside assistance so that you can get on with living the vibrant life that you deserve.

2 thoughts on “How to Relieve Upper Back Pain

  1. Sarah Key MVO

    Upper back pain is a rising pandemic, just like lower back pain. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most implicating is the steady escalation of computer use.
    You may be interested to read the page ‘upper back pain when breating’ on

  2. Pingback: Having Back Pain While Sleeping? Read This. | Back Pain Health Center

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