Despite not being as common as lower back or neck pain, upper back pain still interferes with many people’s lives. According to statistics, about 10% of men and 20% of women globally have experienced this problem for many years. Based on the cause of upper back pain, experts can help patients choose the most effective, appropriate and safe treatment method. The information given below will help you get an overview of upper back pain as well as its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Table of Contents
- What Is Upper Back Pain?
- Causes Upper Back Pain
- Muscle Strain
- Slipped Disc
- Signs and Symptoms of Upper Back Pain
- Sharp Pain
- Radiating Pain
- Joint Dysfunction
- Muscular Irritation
- Non-Medical Treatment For Upper Back Pain
- Walk Softly
- Walk with Good Posture
- Wear Suitable Footwear for Walking
- Reduce or Avoid Walking on Hard Surfaces
- Medical Treatment Treatment For upper Back Pain
- Massage Therapy
- Prescription Pain Medications
- When Should I Be Concerned About Upper Back Pain?
- Can I Walk If My Upper Back Hurts?
- How Do I Stop My Upper Back From Hurting When I Walk?
- When Should I Seek Treatment For My Upper Back Pain?
- Why Does My Upper Back Hurt When I Walk A Lot?
- How Can I Relieve My Upper Back Pain When Walking Or Standing?
- How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscular Or Spinal?
- What Are The Best Exercises To Help My Upper Back Pain?
What Is Upper Back Pain?
Firstly, We need to know about the anatomy of the spine. The spine consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 sacral vertebrae, and 5 coccyx. Back pain is also caused by damaged or overstretched muscle groups, nerve pain, or poor blood flow. If back pain persists and is accompanied by other symptoms, you should see a doctor for advice and treatment.
Causes Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain includes 3 locations: right, left and middle pain. Upper left back pain caused by straining back muscles, stretching the ligaments of the lumbar spine causing pain when you walk. Right upper back pain due to sacroiliac joint disorder, costochondritis. Middle upper back pain is caused by respiratory diseases, improper posture, stress, drug abuse or calcium deficiency.The most causes for back pain are:
Muscle strain is a condition in which the muscles are stretched too much, beyond the tolerance threshold. Usually, the patient will have tight muscles after physical activities, sports training or when carrying heavy objects in the wrong position. position. Stretched muscles will swell, bruises appear, and cause pain for the patient. The most common cause of muscle tension when walking is when you raise your arm to one side suddenly. It is best to avoid this situation from happening. In case you can’t avoid it, try to lift your arms at the same time for balance.
The intervertebral disc is the part between the vertebrae, surrounded by a shell; in the middle is a mucous nucleus. The disc has the effect of bearing the pressure caused by the spinal column, creating flexibility for the spine.A herniated disc is a condition that occurs when the nucleus of the spinal disc deviates from its normal position, through the ligaments, pressing on the nerve roots, causing numbness and pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can be mild in some cases. but in some other cases it can be a sign of a serious illness. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, many cases of upper back pain can cause dangerous complications. So you need to watch out for its symptoms and progression so you can get medical intervention at the right time.
Sharp pain in the upper back: The patient feels a sharp pain in the upper back like being stabbed or squeezed. The area of pain is relatively concentrated, does not spread to the surrounding areas, only appears in a certain location.Sharp pain that causes you to stop walking due to excessive tension in the upper back.
Stiffness, difficulty moving: Patients will have many difficulties with basic daily activities such as bending, leaning left and right, turning, or raising and lowering the arm. The more the pain sensation increases, the more the paravertebral system will contract, which can be detected when palpating the muscle mass. In addition, ligaments and joints may lose flexibility.
In the case of severe injury or pain in the upper back, the pain may radiate down the shoulder blades or in front of the chest, you will feel tingling, numbness, weakness in both arms. That feeling will be transmitted on the same side as where the pain started.
Joint disorders occur when you are overactive or underactive. It will lead to pain when you walk due to stiff joints, less flexible spine. In addition, when the joint is inflamed, it will lead to dull, aching or sharp pain suddenly making you extremely uncomfortable.
In sedentary people, walking causes a lot of muscle irritation in the back and shoulders, which can lead to back pain. The muscles of the shoulder blades and neck have to work a lot to keep your head straight and balance your body. This can lead to mild to severe pain depending on your walking speed.
Itching that persists in the upper half of the back without signs of an itchy rash may be due to a problem with nerve function. Studies show that spinal disease, whether due to age or injury, can put pressure on a nerve and compress it, leading to an itchy sensation in the skin. Upper back pain begins to radiate from the shoulder blades down the arms, wrists and to the palms and fingers. It is usually caused by gravity-bearing activity that lasts a long time, such as when running and sports activities.
Numbness is a possible symptom of upper back pain. Numbness affects the arms, hands, fingers, feet, toes and even the whole body. Numbness initially affects one side of the body, but as it gets worse it affects both sides of the body. See your doctor if this persists as it could be a sign of a serious illness such as carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis or nerve root damage.
Upper back pain is related to weakness of the arms and hands muscles.You need to consult with your doctor before engaging in an activity that requires strength or lifting of the arm muscles.
Non-Medical Treatment For Upper Back Pain
There are many home remedies for upper back pain depending on how long and how you exercise whether it works or not. You should try multiple methods and find the one that works best for you. It does not take much of your time but also brings unexpected results if applied correctly.
For people who are in pain, walking will help muscles increase flexibility; joints are moved gently. Moreover, it also relieves pressure and stress after a tiring working day .When walking, let your heels touch first, this greatly reduces the strain on your back.
Walk with Good Posture
You can practice holding your head up high, lengthen your back, keep your shoulders loose and relaxed, swing your arms gently and step from your heels to your toes without putting your weight on your toes.
You should try to keep balancing on both of your legs. Please do not put force on only one leg, because it will cause pain when walking a lot.
Wear Suitable Footwear for Walking
First, choose a pair of shoes that fit your feet, don’t wear shoes that are too wide or too tight. Then choose shoes with good materials, heels, rubber soles and good grip that will reduce your stress and energy when walking,as well as help you control your stride so that it is neither too fast nor too slow.
Reduce or Avoid Walking on Hard Surfaces
You should walk on roads with good adhesion such as grassy roads or dirt roads. When you walk on a grassy road, it helps reduce the pressure which you create to keep your body stationary and reduce the force of your legs; therefore it also reduces your foot pain. If your path does not have grass and dirt, you should choose a good grip shoe instead and look for other ways to go better.
Stretching before walking is essential. Stretch muscles such as hamstrings, quadriceps, anterior tibialis, posterior tibialis. Stretch each muscle for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release and continue with other muscles.
Medical Treatment Treatment For upper Back Pain
Massage is a popular and simple way to deal with upper back pain after walking. Scientific studies have shown that massage therapy, in combination with other treatments, improves joint range of motion, softens joints, and reduces pain. Additionally, research shows that massage therapy can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety levels for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The mechanism of therapeutic massage is to improve blood circulation to the joints and break down scar tissues in muscles and joints, increasing mobility. So a gentle massage after walking is essential to relax the muscles.
Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used treatments for upper back pain after walking today. The most common causes of upper back pain are vigorous exercise, long-distance driving, poor posture and carrying heavy objects on one shoulder for long periods of time, or spinal problems. Acupuncture rebalances blood flow and energy in the body, strengthens the immune system, and relieves muscle tension. In addition, acupressure stimulates acupuncture points around the body to help relieve stress, stimulate blood circulation to promote wound healing, reduce inflammation around joints and nerves that cause pain.
Electrotherapy is a method of using pulsed electric currents of low and medium frequency to electrically stimulate nerves through the skin. The electric currents stimulate blood circulation, reduce swelling of tissues around the spinal cord and cause mild pain during therapy but then reduce the pain.
From this explanation, we can totally believe in the treatment of upper back pain for people who have back pain especially caused by walking and exercising a lot. This is also a cheap and effective method.
Electrotherapy has many effects on treating and improving symptoms of a variety of diseases:Direct stimulation of blood vessels to increase circulation; reduce inflammation, relieve pain, reduce edema, release local pressure, increase local metabolite elimination; treat diseases after trauma or surgery and treat bone and joint diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis. It has the effect of stretching muscles in the case of muscle contraction due to tone. This is a new hope for the back pain sufferers because of its safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
Prescription Pain Medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be used to relieve upper back pain quickly . The mechanism of this drug is anti-inflammatory, anti-swelling, thereby reducing pain.However, if the drug is used for a long time, it will cause some side effects with the stomach and nerves, so it is only prescribed for a short time.
Surgery is not usually used to treat upper back pain, only in cases where the bone is severely deformed and has not responded to other treatments. Upper back pain when walking can be caused by a serious medical condition that requires surgical intervention. There are many surgical methods to choose from such as spine lift surgery, spinal decompression. You need to listen carefully to the doctor’s explanation and choose the right surgical option for you.
When Should I Be Concerned About Upper Back Pain?
When your upper back pain persists for a long time,you should see your doctor. Your doctor will be the one to find out the cause of your back pain. People often feel upper back pain after walking or sitting for a long time, stretching and walking gently to relieve the pain. In these cases the pain will subside after a few days. If it doesn’t get better as mentioned above,you should go to see your doctor.
Can I Walk If My Upper Back Hurts?
You should walk gently and properly as well as self-evaluate your pain while you are walking to choose the activities that suit your current situation. Depending on your upper back pain type is mild or severe. It is nothing if your pain type is mild. Otherwise, you shouldn’t walk so much because it can make your pain worse.
In case of having much pain, you should make an appointment with the doctor who gives you the right advice to practice walking or exercise to help your upper back situation. Try to follow the instructions and advice during the treatment time.
How Do I Stop My Upper Back From Hurting When I Walk?
The way to overcome upper back pain when walking is to keep your back straight, relax your shoulders, stop and rest before continuing. This will keep you in good posture, avoiding damage to muscles and joints. Back pain when walking makes you feel uncomfortable and very painful. Back pain when walking can be a sign of medical conditions such as muscle pain, osteoarthritis, herniated disc. Please pay attention to the pain, its duration and its progression to know if this is a medical pain
When Should I Seek Treatment For My Upper Back Pain?
The time when people should seek relief from upper back pain is different for each person. It depends on the pain and how long it lasts. There are many methods of pain relief as mentioned above. If the pain is frequent and not caused by exercise, see your doctor. Once the cause is found, your doctor will prescribe medication for you along with exercises to relieve the pain. You may have to have acupuncture, do exercises that are good for the joints. More seriously, you need surgery.
Why Does My Upper Back Hurt When I Walk A Lot?
The pain you experience while walking is due to strained shoulder blades, neck muscles, and trapezius muscles. The reason is that these muscles are not strong enough to bear the weight of the body, which leads to them being pulled down. It is important that these muscles are strong and that you have a fit body so that the muscles can work properly. Do these exercises to increase the strength of these muscles 2 times a week, you will see a noticeable effect and the pain will gradually decrease.
How Can I Relieve My Upper Back Pain When Walking Or Standing?
The best way to relieve upper back pain while walking is to rest if needed, stretch before exercising and when waking up, when sitting for a long time, apply ice to the painful area. Stretching can be done on a treadmill, while you’re working out, on a yoga mat,lying down with a foam roller. Stretching for about 5 to 7 minutes relaxes your muscles when immobilized for a long time, relieves muscle tension and relieves pain.
How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscular Or Spinal?
These two types of pain can be difficult to distinguish in some cases. It’s possible to have both conditions simultaneously. Here are a few signs that can help you distinguish these two types of pain for effective treatment:
Muscular pain: this type of pain usually comes suddenly, you will feel a sharp pain, which subsides when you relax the muscles
Spinal pain: This type of pain is often worse when moving, bending over, or twisting. It can be dull or severe, lasting longer even with rest. The pain is the same both day and night.
What Are The Best Exercises To Help My Upper Back Pain?
Top 3 exercises to help your upper back pain:
- Plank to relieve pain in the upper back.
- Wall push-ups to remove lower back pain.
- Floor push-ups to help alleviate upper back pain when performing exercises in a different location.