Chronic Pain

Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor, and can be caused by wear and tear, overuse or injury to back muscles, bones, nerves, or discs. Upper back pain is not a very common spinal disorder, although it can cause significant discomfort when pain does occur. The most common causes of upper back pain are muscular irritation and joint dysfunction.
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The thoracic spine, also called the upper back, is very difference from the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back). The thoracic spine is designed to be very strong and stable, whereas, the cervical and lumbar spine is designed for mobility.


Spinal conditions (thoracic herniated disc), nerve pressure (neuropathy) or injury can cause radiating arm or leg pain, numbness, or tingling. Mild pain can be intermittent and sore after certain activities, and severe pain can limit weight bearing or activities of daily living. 


Patients should seek medical attention if the pain is intense and lasts longer than several days. Seek emergency medical attention if you hear a crack, are motion impaired and have headaches, numbness, weakness, or tingling.