Causes of Upper Back Pain

What are common causes for upper back pain?

Upper back pain can result from various causes, including:

Muscle strain or tension: Similar to lower back pain, muscle strain or tension in the upper back can occur due to poor posture, overuse, or sudden movements.

Poor posture: Prolonged sitting at a desk, hunching over a computer or phone, or standing with rounded shoulders can strain the muscles in the upper back, leading to pain.

Trauma or injury: Accidents, falls, or sudden impacts can cause injury to the muscles, ligaments, or bones in the upper back, resulting in pain.

Herniated or bulging discs: Disc herniation or bulging discs in the thoracic spine (upper back) can put pressure on the spinal nerves, leading to pain, tingling, or numbness in the upper back and sometimes radiating to the chest or abdomen.

Osteoarthritis: Degeneration of the joints in the thoracic spine due to osteoarthritis can cause stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the upper back.

Thoracic outlet syndrome: This condition occurs when the nerves or blood vessels in the space between the collarbone and first rib (thoracic outlet) become compressed, leading to pain, numbness, and tingling in the upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands.

Muscle tension or spasms: Stress, overuse, or poor ergonomics can cause muscle tension or spasms in the upper back, leading to pain and discomfort.

Fractures: Fractures of the vertebrae in the upper back can occur due to trauma, osteoporosis, or other underlying conditions, causing severe pain and limited mobility.

Scoliosis: Abnormal curvature of the spine, such as scoliosis, can sometimes cause upper back pain, particularly if the curvature is severe or affects the thoracic spine.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or infections can cause upper back pain as a symptom.

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