How do I Treat Upper Back Pain?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Upper back pain often has its origins in irritation to the muscles found along the upper portion of the back and spine. Factors such as posture, straining of the shoulder muscles, and trauma to the thoracic spine area can all trigger pain in the upper back. Fortunately, there are simple ways to alleviate this type of back pain quickly and easily.

One of the most common reasons for pain in the upper back region has to do with posture. While many people think of posture as only applying to the way an individual holds his or her shoulders when standing, it is not unusual for people to slump somewhat when sitting as well. People who engage in a lot of computer work are especially susceptible to upper back pain, since they often slump unconsciously toward the computer screen when working for long periods of time.

When the pain is due to slumping while working at a computer, one solution is to take a break every forty-five minutes. The break does not have to be more than a couple of minutes. During the break, move away from the desk and stretch the arms upward and outward. This helps to promote a more natural posture. Take a moment to walk around before returning to the computer desk. Your back will feel better and you are much more likely to sit up properly at least for twenty or so minutes after your break.


People sometimes experience upper back pain first thing in the morning. This is often due to sleeping at an odd angle, or perhaps using too many pillows under the head and neck. Getting rid of some pillows will help the problem long term. For immediate relief, a hot shower will often loosen the tense muscles and help alleviate the neck pain and any pain spreading out into the shoulders.

Upper back pain may also be due to muscle strain that is experienced when performing some sort of physical task that involves the shoulders and upper body. When this is the case, ice packs can often help to soothe irritated muscles and help the neck and shoulder pain to subside. If the pain persists, try alternating hot and cold compresses for a day or so. This is often enough to clear up the pain completely.

For any type of upper back pain that persists, it is important to see a doctor immediately. The problem may be more than simply muscle strain from poor posture or overworking the muscle groups in the shoulders and neck. A qualified physician can asses the situation, run the proper tests, and develop a course of treatment that will make it possible to address the origin of the pain and banish it forever.


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Post 3

My husband and I were both experiencing lower back pain after getting out of bed in the morning. We struggled with this for several months before deciding to try a different bed.

We purchased a sleep number bed and it has made a huge difference for us. I like my side much softer than him, and his side is more firm, but neither of us has the back pain anymore.

If my back starts to hurt, I just adjust my sleep number and it takes care of it. I really notice a difference if I sleep in another bed away from home. I usually wake up with a sore back every time.

Post 2

Sleeping in a wrong position seems to give me some back pain problems. At least this is something that can be treated fairly simply. If it does not work itself out very quickly, I will visit a chiropractor for upper back pain treatment. I always feel so much better when I am done, and try to avoid sleeping in that position again.

Many people recommend seeing a chiropractor once every month just to keep your body aligned. I know I always feel so much better after a treatment!

Post 1

I spend most of my day on the computer. Between my job and personal email and web surfing I can spend somewhere around 10 hours a day or more sitting at a chair in front of the computer. I often notice that I have this nagging, upper back muscle pain if I have had a very long day.

I have found the best thing is to try and get up and walk around every hour or so. This is not always possible, and many times I just forget to do it, but I have found that it really helps to keep my loosened up. Not only is it helpful for any upper back and neck pain, but it is also good to give your eyes and brain a break too!

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