Upper Back Pain

Upper Back Pain Q & A

What is upper back pain?

Upper back pain refers to discomfort that occurs below the bottom of your neck and above the last rib. That is the thoracic area of your spine. Though the cervical (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back) are more common sources of back pain, upper back pain is also a source of discomfort.

The orthopaedic experts at Town Center Orthopaedics include spine and pain management experts who specialize in treating upper back pain to help you get relief from your discomfort and back to living a full life.

What causes upper back pain?

You may develop upper back pain from many causes, including an injury, overuse, or from the degenerative changes that occur to your spine as you get older.

Common causes of upper back pain include:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Herniated disc
  • Fracture
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor posture
  • Kyphosis

Though not as common, you can also develop upper back pain from a condition not related to your spine, such as gallstones or an infection.

What happens during an upper back pain evaluation?

When you visit Town Center Orthopaedics for an upper back pain evaluation, your spine specialist conducts a comprehensive exam to find the root cause of your pain.

During the exam, your provider reviews your symptoms and the circumstances that caused them to develop. They also ask about the types of symptoms you experience and the activities that worsen or alleviate your symptoms.

Your provider then conducts a physical exam, paying close attention to the structure and function of your spine to determine the root cause of your pain. They also run in-office X-rays to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.

How is upper back pain treated?

Your provider at Town Center Orthopaedics develops a personalized treatment plan for upper back pain based on the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, and your overall health.

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Spine injections
  • Bracing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Prolotherapy
  • Trigger point injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy
  • Dry needling

The orthopaedic team also includes a spine surgeon. If your upper back pain doesn’t improve with medical treatments, they may recommend surgery. Surgical options for upper back pain include spinal fusion or discectomy.

For vertebral compression fractures, Town Center Orthopaedics performs vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty procedures.

To get relief from upper back pain, call Town Center Orthopaedics, or book a consultation using the online scheduling tool.

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TCO provides patients with orthopedic problems the trusted resources and patient-centered advice they need to “Feel Better. Move Better. Be Better.”