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Upper back pain

The upper back is composed of the thoracic spine, two scapulas, ribs and muscles that are connected to it. Pain in the back is called thoracic pain where the thoracic is located. It affects the area between the neck and the lower back.

Upper back pain can be severe or happens gradually and can be mild to moderate or can be severe which will depend on the cause. Pain in the upper back can be due to changes in lifestyle and work environment such as having a poor posture while sitting for longer periods of time and working in front of a computer for extended hours. People suffering from upper back pain are not capable of bending, twisting or turning due to the pain.


  • Upper back pain can be caused by ligaments and muscles that are connected to the thoracic spine which are injured or stressed. It can also be caused by abrupt twisting movements or lifting and throwing heavy objects.
  • Spending a longer time in front of a desk and bad posture while sitting or seated on a chair without adequate back support.
  • Upper back pain steadily intensifies as the person ages particularly in women in the post-menopausal age due to osteoporosis that affects the spinal cord.
    Upper back pain

    Minor trauma due to playing sports or exercising

  • Minor trauma due to playing sports or exercising
  • It can be caused by spondylosis or a pinched nerve in the cervical spine that triggers radiating pain in the upper back area.


  • Take plenty of rest by taking a break from the normal activities. Take some leisurely walks in order to help increase circulation in the area and for fast healing. Maintain good posture at home and at work and always sit up straight.
  • Avoid sleeping in mattresses that are very soft and pillows that are very thick in order to minimize upper back pain.
  • Massage gently the affected area using garlic oil which has anti-inflammatory properties. Place a few cloves of garlic in any vegetable oil and warm using slow fire. Allow it to cool and apply it to the affected area.
  • Soak the back in warm Epsom salt bath since it helps in minimizing the pain and swelling if the pain is caused by muscle strain. The salt contains magnesium that helps in relaxing the muscle. Soak the affected area not more than 30 minutes in order to help prevent the body from becoming dehydrated.
  • In a glass of warm milk, mix in ½ teaspoon of turmeric. Drink the mixture at least 2 times every day. Turmeric has chemicals which help lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Apply an ice pack to the tender area of the upper back in order to lessen the swelling and pain for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours for a few days. Compress the ice on the back using a wrap-around elastic support to minimize the inflammation. Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel in order to prevent frostbite on the skin.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to lessen the pain and inflammation in the upper back.

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