Upper back pain or thoracic spine pain can be debilitating. The upper back is a stiff region because it is supported by the rib cage. This stiffness is often worsened by hunched posture which is common among frequent computer users. The ribs hook into the vertebra in the upper back. These costovertebral joints can become stiff, swollen and painful. Upper back pain can be a burning sensation between the shoulder blades, a dull ache that worsens throughout the day or local sharp pain.
Upper back pain that slowly worsens throughout the day is usually linked to poor posture. Excessive computer, tablet and smart phone use can cause upper crossed syndrome. This postural distortion, also called anterior head carriage or forward head posture, is characterized by a “hunchback” forward head and forward rolled shoulders. There may be a genetic component to upper crossed syndrome as it is often observed among family members. Forward head posture is also caused by weight lifting. Over training the muscles in the front of the torso and arms can also cause “gym posture,” or upper crossed syndrome. Treatment for upper back pain caused by poor posture involves restoring thoracic extension through chiropractic adjustments and corrective exercises to balance muscles.
"I sit in front of a computer for hours on end every day, leading to my upper back pain. The hands on care and adjustment from Dr. Ward was the best decision I could have made."
Another common cause of upper back pain is related to the ribs. Right upper back pain and left upper back pain can be caused by rib misalignments. The pain can also radiate around the torso and increase when you take a deep breath. The ribs connect to the back at the costovertebral joints to the left and right of the spine. The ribs connect to the breastbone or sternum at the costochondral joints. Misalignments of the ribs at these joints can cause pain, swelling and audible popping. Treatment for rib pain includes chiropractic adjustments, myofascial release and ultrasound therapy.
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