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Reclaim Your Mobility With Relief From Upper Back Pain (Ultimate Guide)

Are you having trouble with upper back pain? You’re not alone. It is one of the most common ailments we see in our practice, and it can significantly impact your quality of life. The good news is that relief from this type of discomfort is possible! This ultimate guide will provide tips to help you reclaim your mobility and start enjoying life again.

As chiropractors, we know how the pain can worsen and interfere with your ability to move freely. That’s why it’s so important for us to share information about ways you can reduce or eliminate the widespread pain and fatigue throughout the body. From lifestyle changes to therapeutic treatments, various options are available to help improve your condition.

Back pain can be managed no matter what level of severity you are experiencing. It’s time to take control and find the treatment of upper back pain properly to avoid long-term pain! Keep reading as we explore the various methods of pain relief that may offer solace from this issue.

Overview & Upper Back Pain Symptoms

People describe upper back pain as a burning sensation, ache, tightness, or localized soreness in the large upper back muscles.  The upper back region consists of the rib cage, muscles between the shoulder blades and extends from the base of the neck and the bottom of the ribcage. It can be affected by numerous causes that result in pain or discomfort. 

Common causes of upper back pain include poor posture, muscle strain brought on by physical activity, injuries to the spine such as herniated discs or sprains/strains from falls or accidents, arthritis, and other medical conditions affecting organs located near the area, such as gallbladder disease.

Poor posture due to sitting for long periods of time at a desk or computer can cause tension in the muscles around the rib cage. This pressure can lead to pain. 

Thoracic Spine Anatomy & What Can Cause Upper Back Pain

Your upper and middle back is called the thoracic, and the thoracic spine is comprised of 12 vertebrae which link the cervical and lumbar spines together. It’s located in your upper or mid-back region and forms a robust neck and lower back muscle support system. Pain symptoms may occur due to various factors such as muscle tightness, poor posture, degeneration, injury, or stress.

Here’s how it works:

  • The Thoracic Spine plays a vital role in providing stability between the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine).
  • Poor posture can lead to tension buildup in the Thoracic Spine, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  • Back injuries are common causes of Upper Back Pain that originate from either the muscles or other structures like ligaments surrounding this area.
  • Additionally, since our bodies depend so heavily on proper alignment throughout all of their components, an imbalance anywhere along the chain can cause serious issues with movement ability and general comfort levels. 

Lifestyle Habits That Are Common Cause of Upper Back Pain & Back Injuries

To reclaim your mobility and reduce discomfort, it’s essential to identify which areas may cause or contribute to pain. This section will discuss what habits could relieve upper back pain.

Habits Causes Pain? Reduce Pain?
Sitting for long periods of time Yes Regular Breaks & Stretching Routine
Poor Posture Yes Strengthen Core Muscles
Sleeping on an Unsupportive Mattress Yes Find Supportive Mattress
Limited Physical Activity Yes Increase Movement
Stress & Anxiety Yes Practice Relaxation Techniques

Muscle Overuse In The Upper Back & Shoulder Blade

Muscle overuse is a common cause of upper back pain. When muscles in the upper back are used repetitively and intensely, they can become tense and inflamed, leading to discomfort.

In many cases of upper back pain, the neck and bottom of the shoulder blades may also be affected as these areas are connected by muscle fibres that run through them.

 Muscle overuse in the upper back is usually treated with rest, ice packs, gentle massage therapy and anti-inflammatory medications (if appropriate).

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain vs Neck  Pain

It’s important to be able to distinguish between pain in your neck and upper back. Understanding the difference can help you find relief faster. Here’s how to tell them apart:

  • Back pain occurs in your vertebrae, while neck pain is located in your cervical spine.
  • Lower back or neck pain may radiate through the shoulder blades, but it originates from either your lower back or neck respectively.
  • Help relieve pain by stretching the upper back’s muscles and keeping your back straight when sitting for long periods of time.
  • Causes of upper back pain include poor posture, weak core muscles, and injuries due to repetitive motion.

When managing pain and keeping an eye out for any warning signs that something more serious could be happening. Pain between shoulder blades could also originate from both areas, so try different exercises targeted at either area until you feel relief!

Poor Posture & Preventing Upper Back Pain 

Poor posture can significantly contribute to pain and discomfort the in the upper back. Many people do not realize that even small changes in posture can have a massive effect on our spinal health, including the base of the neck, shoulder blade, and cervical spine areas. To understand how poor posture can lead to upper back pain, we must first examine what happens when good posture is compromised.

When you sit or stand with an improper position or alignment, pressure can build up in your lower back or neck area, which may cause severe pain. This increased strain also affects other areas, such as the muscles around your rib cage and shoulders, leading to further tension and possible injury.

Good Posture Poor Posture
Keeps spine aligned naturally Compromises natural alignment
Reduces stress on muscles & joints Increases stress on muscles & joints
Helps prevent injuries Can contribute to long-term injuries
Improves circulation & breathing ability Restricts normal movement & breathing capacity


How do you know when upper back pain is serious?

Upper back pain can range from mild to severe. When the pain is mild, it may come and go with little interference in daily life. However, if left untreated, this type of pain might worsen and interfere with everyday activities.  When the upper back pain does not improve after a few days of rest and home treatment, it may be time to see a chiropractor for an evaluation. 

Seeing A Chiropractor For Upper Back Pain Treatment

Chiropractors are specially trained in diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal conditions like chronic back pain. The chiropractor will evaluate your condition based on its cause as well as its severity to determine which type of back pain treatment is most appropriate for your needs.

Chiropractic care focuses on managing pain through manual adjustment techniques, lifestyle modifications, and therapies such as strengthening and stretching the upper back muscles. This helps keep your back in proper alignment so that the discomfort can be alleviated without the need for surgery or medication.

Pain may not develop immediately after an injury; however, when it does occur in the upper body region, it is important to seek professional help right away to manage it effectively before it becomes more serious. 

Building A Wellness Plan For Long-Term Comfort

Pain may occur in the upper back due to a variety of factors. Many people experience upper back pain from mild to moderate intensity at some point in their lives. In order for long-term comfort, it is important to keep the back stable with strengthening exercises and stretching techniques. Common causes of upper back pain are as diverse as lower back pain, such as arthritis or muscle strain.

Exercises To Strengthen The Upper Back

Fortunately, there are some exercises that you can do to help strengthen the upper back so that your rib cage is better able to keep the spine aligned and support it during activity. People with upper back pain may find relief when engaging in these stretches regularly. 

The following list outlines 4 key exercises people with back pain can use:

  1. Chest expansion stretch
  2. Shoulder blade squeeze
  3. Upper Back Extension 
  4. Lat Pulldown 

It’s essential for you to speak with your doctor about what type of exercise might work best for you!

Ergonomic Practices To Avoid Injury In The Workplace

The upper back is the area of your spine between your neck and lower back. Pain in the middle of your upper back, or thoracic pain, can be caused by various factors, including muscle strain, degenerative disc disease, rib fractures and more. While this type of pain is much less common than lower back pain, it can cause serious discomfort if not treated properly.

It’s essential to take steps to prevent further injury when dealing pain in the upper back. One way to do that is to practice good ergonomic habits at work or home. When sitting for long periods of time, make sure you keep your back straight and don’t slouch forward or hunch over.

Take regular breaks from sitting every 30 minutes and try stretching exercises and standing up regularly throughout the day. You may have heard about adjustable chairs – these are great for providing support for your bones in your upper body while keeping proper posture during extended desk-based activities such as typing on a computer.

Natural Remedies For Acute And Chronic Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can be a real hindrance to your mobility and daily activities. Fortunately, natural remedies can provide healing and relief from the pain and muscle tension in your upper back. Understanding where this type of pain occurs is important for understanding how to treat it naturally at home.

The table below identifies some common causes of acute and chronic upper back pain:

Cause of Upper Back Pain Acute Chronic
Injury or accident  
Sprain or strain
Tendonitis or bursitis
Posture/ Movements
Poor posture during work or exercise
Repetitive movements over long periods of time
Overuse injuries
Stress/ Anxiety
Tightness due to stress/anxiety
Muscular imbalances caused by emotional tension
Chest infection  
Muscle spasms
Spinal stenosis

Upper back pain is not as common as lower back pain. However, certain conditions like trauma, poor posture, repetitive movement, emotional tension, chest infections, osteoporosis, muscle spasms and spinal stenosis could all lead to it.

No matter what has caused your discomfort in the upper back region – whether it’s acute or chronic – chances are one of these treatments can help ease your symptoms so you can reclaim your mobility again.

Frequently Asked Questions about Upper Back Pain

FAQ Answer

What organ can it?

Various organs, including the lungs, kidneys, gallbladder, and spine, can cause pain.

How do you know if it is related to the heart?

Look for signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sweating.

What causes pain upper back right side?

Muscular issues, digestive problems, or injury to the shoulder blade can cause such pain.

What causes pain in the upper back left side under the shoulder blade?

Pain on the left side of the upper back under the shoulder blade can be caused by muscular issues, herniated discs, pneumonia, or acid reflux.

What are the red flags for upper back pain?

Red flags for upper back pain may include fever, weakness, difficulty breathing, coughing blood, and unintentional weight loss.

How long is too long for upper back pain?

If upper back pain persists for more than two weeks, seeking medical attention is recommended.

What is the most common cause of upper back pain?

The most common cause of upper back pain is muscle strain from poor posture or improper lifting technique.


If you’re suffering from upper back pain, it’s time to take control of your mobility. Fortunately, many treatments available can help relieve the discomfort and reduce recurrence.

Home remedies such as hot/cold compresses and exercises like planks and bridges will strengthen your lower back and abdomen and support your back. Finally, certain foods like avocados and fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that act as natural anti-inflammatories to promote healing in the body.

With dedication and lifestyle changes, you can reclaim your mobility with relief from upper back pain. Don’t wait any longer – begin today by increasing awareness about what’s causing your discomfort so you can take steps towards recovery!

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