While lower back pain seems to get all the attention, upper back pain is increasingly a problem, especially with more people spending time working at a computer, which often leads to bad posture if the computer is not ergonomically adjusted. Seeing someone hunched over a laptop is a common sight these days. It can also be caused by an acute trauma to the neck, such as whiplash from an auto accident. Chiropractic care can be a useful tool for this type of pain.
Also called thoracic back pain, upper back pain can either develop slowly over a few days or weeks, or may appear quickly as the result of an injury. You may first notice stiffness and aching between the shoulder blades or dull pain extending across your shoulders, which can become gradually more painful as time goes on. As the muscles and vertebrae of the upper back and neck are so closely connected, you may also feel neck pain and stiffness. This condition can make it difficult to move normally while doing daily tasks, and even make it difficult to sleep or roll over in bed.
Upper back pain may be caused by stress, tension and bad posture, or possibly may be related to arthritis, a disc injury or rib joint dysfunction. Both emotional stress, such as problems with job, finances or family, and physical stress due to a bad diet, lack of exercise or environmental pollutants, can contribute to this type of pain. As the thoracic part of the spine is designed primarily to create stability in the trunk, upper back pain is less commonly caused by degenerative disc diseases such as scoliosis, and is more usually due to muscle strain and tension causing pain and a slight dislocation of the vertebrae.
While anti-inflammatory medications or other pain relievers may be used to help relieve pain in the upper back, they do not address the underlying cause of the pain, which could lead to it becoming chronic. A chiropractor can treat the cause in a safe, comfortable way.
Your pain may be caused by a chiropractic subluxation, which is when one of your vertebrae becomes slightly out of alignment due to muscle tension or stress, putting pressure on a nerve. A chiropractic adjustment can realign your vertebrae, alleviating the pain. A certified chiropractor can treat the muscle strain and/or joint dysfunction that leads to upper back pain, and will work with you to develop an effective treatment strategy targeted to your specific needs, which may involve chiropractic adjustments and suggestions for changes in diet and exercise.