Causes of Chest and Upper Back Pain

Sudden chest and upper back pain can be extremely frightening because most people believe that, when this occurs, they are having a heart attack. It often begins in the back and feels like someone is sticking a sword through your chest cavity. The most common causes of chest and upper back pain are not heart related but result from poor posture while sitting or standing. When the muscles connected to your shoulder blades in your upper back become painful and stressed, it can cause chest and upper back pain. If you take a deep breath and it becomes worse when you inhale, the pain is likely posture related.

By becoming familiar with your muscles, this helps you understand chest and upper back pain better. Although the upper back and chest are two separate areas, it is crucial to achieve proper muscular balance to maintain good posture. If the upper back and chest are imbalanced, this makes it very easy for injury to result. The three main muscles found in your upper back and chest is the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and trapezius. The latissimus dorsi is a flat, broad muscle on either side of the back. The largest of the back muscles, it runs from the upper arm bone to the lower back, acting as the arms internal rotator. The pectoralis major are the large skeletal muscle or chest muscles located on both sides of the breastbone. Its main job is to rotate and adduct the arms or draws the arm towards the body. The trapezius muscles are two triangular, flat muscles of the upper back and shoulders that facilitates movement of the arms and shoulders.

An excellent exercise to relieve chest and upper back pain is a shoulder raise, which you do standing straight in an upright position. With your arms hanging straight at your sides, lift both your shoulders as high as you possible can. Without lowering them, start rotating your shoulders towards your back ten times and then lower your shoulders. By doing this exercise twice daily, it can help relieve chest and upper back pain. Pinpoint massage done between your shoulder blades by focusing on the sore area or central point of pain relieves chest and upper back pain. Swimming and some types of water aerobics help relieve or eliminate chest and upper back pain without putting too much pressure on your muscles.

Any type of pains in your chest may be heart related and should be investigated by your physician immediately. A wrong self-made diagnosis could mean the difference between life and death, so always seek medical help.

Yoga for Neck and Upper Back Pain

Many people today live a very complex but inactive lifestyle due in part to long working hours, lack of outdoor activity, and repetitive, tedious occupations. This can lead to numerous health problems including neck and upper back pain. Factory workers that do repetitive reaching or heavy lifting, computer operators that sit bent over their computers for extended lengths of time or tollbooth operators that stand and lean, handing out tickets and collecting money all day, along with people in thousands of other jobs are prime candidates for neck and upper back pain. Stay at home people that carry a baby on their hip for hours, hunching over playing video games, sitting in bed reading, playing golf, or just lazing around continuously can also result in neck and upper back pain. The neck, shoulders, and upper back are common areas affected by too much emotional and mental stress. In other words, putting excess strain on your neck and back, practicing poor posture, stress, or not using your upper back and neck muscles enough can all lead to neck and upper back pain.

The good news is that there are numerous ways to help and prevent neck and upper back pain. Developing sensible work habits, reducing stress, practicing healthy posture, finding good physical balance, and living a healthy lifestyle helps relieve and prevent neck and upper back pain. Some of the traditional treatment methods used to reduce pain is chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, massage, and exercise, including several types of stretching exercises.

People have practiced yoga all over the world for centuries to promote mental and physical well being. Although it took a while, yoga has become very popular in the United States today, although westerners do not practice the spiritual components of yoga as often. It is the breathing exercises and physical poses that more and more Americans are turning to and usually finding relief from neck and upper back pain. The results from using yoga regularly to relieve physical pain, reduce stress, increase strength, and improve flexibility is amazing. Some yoga poses may require modification depending upon your back pain.

Some causes of neck and upper back pain could be more serious than poor posture, muscle tension, and strain, so if it is a recurring or persistent pain, make an appointment with your physician. The condition and reasons for neck and upper back pain problems vary and the cause usually determines the treatment. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any type of yoga or exercise routine if you have any known health problems.

Some of the Best Methods for Upper Back Pain Treatment

Upper back pain can strike any one of us at any time. Although it can be caused by a few different things such as ligament problems, in most cases, it’s caused by a muscle being pulled, stretched or strained. Possible causes of upper back pain may be overuse of certain muscles, lack of strength, or trauma as one would receive in a car or sports accident. Upper back pain treatment will usually revolve around helping the muscles once again relaxed. Upper back pain will usually show up as a pain in or near the shoulder blade as well as movement restrictions.

Upper back pain is also referred as thoracic pain or middle back pain. It is called ‘thoracic’ because it’s thoracic spine, which is located in that area. Upper back pain is also felt between the lumbar spine and the bottom of the neck. Massage is often used as an upper back pain treatment and will sometimes give relief quickly. However, if the problem is not in the muscles, medical treatment should be given to determine if there is a more serious problem.

For muscular problems in the upper back, exercise and light physical therapy often are helpful as upper back pain treatment. At the onset of the problem, ice is stilled the recommended upper back pain treatment to avoid swelling and inflammation. Many people choose to see a chiropractor for treatments. Although there are still many that don’t believe in chiropractic manipulation, many people have been helped by their services. Pain medications are often used as part of the upper back pain treatment, although they are never used by themselves. They are recommended to be taken along with physical therapy or exercise.

If there is one specific area or spot, that is tender and painful, trigger point injections or massages are also a method of upper back pain treatment. Many doctors like this method because the medication is going to just the painful area and not throughout the entire body.

Occasionally, upper back pain is caused by the joints connecting the ribs and the vertebrae. In this case, the upper back pain treatment is chiropractic treatments, physical therapy and pain medications. A lot of this will depend on the severity of the pain.

Other causes of upper back pain may be herniated spinal disc, degenerative disc or fractured vertebrae. Fractured vertebra is quite common in women over the age of 50 due to osteoporosis. In these cases, medical treatment will be necessary to get prompt relief before further damage takes place.

Poor Posture is One of the Main Upper Back Pain Causes

Posture or improving it is not something most people notice or even think about until upper back pain causes them to slow down and realize that their bad posture is causing the problem. Everyone has heard or been told that slouching results in a round back or that they should stand up straight because it improves their appearance but it often takes pain and discomfort that will not go away to make a person take notice. Upper back pain causes you to realize that your poor posture is having a negative effect on your health and it is time to do something to improve it and become pain free again.

You might have some doubt as to whether your posture and upper back pain are related or that you are experiencing pain from your postural muscles. Many people say that their upper back pain causes a burning sensation that only disappears if they stop whatever they are doing and rest for a while. If your pain and posture are related, you usually feel much better after you have had a chance to lie down and rest because there is no pressure or strain on your upper back. If you sit in bed and read or watch television curled up on the sofa, your pain will usually continue because your posture is still aggravating your upper back muscles.

Upper back pain causes people to suffer and give up many of the activities they enjoy such as golfing, jogging, going to the show or playing with their puppy. If your upper back pain causes you to change the way you are living, and poor posture is the reason, it is time to do something about it. Just being aware of your posture when you are lying down, standing or sitting and then adjusting your posture slightly so your body stays aligned can make a huge difference in helping relieve your pain. Throw out any old or broken down pillows and purchase a pillow that supports your neck and back properly, and make sure your mattress is firm and provides good support.

Other upper back pain causes include sitting in one position for too long. If possible, get up and move around at least once every hour, to stretch your muscles. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, a monitor that sits too high or low or a chair that does not give you the support you require will cause back pain. Along with making changes to improve your posture, there are posture specific exercises to help alleviate upper back pain.

What Is Upper Back Pain?

Often called thoracic pain or middle back pain, people experience upper back pain between the top of their lumbar spine and the base of their neck. A person’s upper spine is very stable and strong because it has to support their upper body weight. It also anchors the rib cage stably and firmly, thus providing a protective cavity for the lungs and heart to function. Attached to the thoracic or upper back are the ribs. Although lower back pain or cervical neck pain are more common spinal disorders than upper back pain, it can cause a lot of anguish and discomfort when it does happen.

The upper back, also called the thoracic spine, is stable and strong, protecting your vital internal chest organs and allowing you to stand upright. The upper back section of the spinal column has limited movement but a great amount of stability so there is normally very little chance of degeneration or injury to the upper back over time. On the other hand, the neck and lower back provides a person with their mobility, so the lumbar spine and cervical spine are far more likely to be injured. They can also develop common spinal disorders such as, degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, spinal instability, or spinal stenosis.

As the result of sudden injury, muscular irritation, strain, joint dysfunction, trauma, or prolonged poor posture, upper back pain can result. Upper back pain often occurs with shoulder pain and/or neck pain. Upper back pain has become a familiar complaint from computer operators who spend a large majority of their day sitting at a computer.

Muscular irritation is a common cause of upper back pain due to repetitive motion, overuse injuries and lack of strength, also called de-conditioning. Large muscles attach the shoulder girdle to the shoulder blades and thoracic rib cage back. These large muscles in the upper back can develop muscular irritation that causes upper back pain. This pain from muscular irritation often results from auto accidents, sports injuries, muscle strains, or other injuries.

More than sixty percent of Americans will suffer from lower or upper back pain and back injuries at some point during their lives and approximately half will of those will experience it numerous times. Lower and upper back pain problems can be very debilitating because they often prevent people from enjoying activities they love, such as playing with their children or grandchildren, going out golfing, jogging, bending over to smell the flowers, or worse. People should be aware that most lower and upper back pain injuries occur over the course of many years and rarely as the result of a single accident or activity.