Thoracic/Upper Back Pain


Upper Back Pain Relief in West Hills

Also known as thoracic spine pain, upper back pain can occur from trauma, sudden strain injury or poor posture over time. Upper back pain is a common complaint from people who work on computers. The thoracic spine maintains the integrity of the middle back and rib cage. This structure protects vital organs – your heart and lungs – in your chest.

Although the thoracic spine’s movement is limited, it can still become injured. Fractures are common in people suffering from osteoporosis, low bone density. Thoracic fractures can also occur in athletes. Generally, when thoracic injuries or thoracic spine pain occurs, it is important to catch it early. Early treatment helps prevent thoracic spine pain from worsening. Muscular irritation caused by lack of strength, poor posture, overuse injuries or trauma causes the majority of upper back or thoracic spine pain. Dysfunction occurs in the thoracic area due to problems with the connection of the spinal vertebra and rib cage. Poor posture is the most common cause of thoracic joint dysfunction. There are various forms of thoracic spine pain:

Thoracic Herniated Disc

This occurs when the spinal disc becomes less elastic. The disc ruptures and bulges between the vertebrae, pinching the spinal nerves and spinal cord. People with herniated discs may not experience back pain. The pressure or irritation of the nerves in the thoracic spine area can lead to total paralysis in the legs. The more common symptoms of a herniated thoracic disc include:

  • Pain traveling around the body into one or both legs
  • Numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Muscle weakness in one or both legs
  • Increased reflexes in one or both legs

Thoracic Radiculitis

This is the compression of nerve roots in the upper seven cervical vertebrae of the spine. Patients can often feel this in their neck. Symptoms include:

  • Mild tingling, dull ache, burning or pulsing sensation
  • Numbness in the affected area
  • Pain near or over the shoulder blade
  • Pain in the arm and forearm
  • Rarely, pain radiates down to fingers

Thoracic Facet Arthropathy

This is a progressively worsening syndrome that causes inflammation and thoracic spine pain. The chronic pain can be caused by wear and tear, degeneration of the cartilage, joint capsule or related vertebral discs, injury or trauma, incorrect posture or abnormal spinal curvature. The pain is most often worse on one side and may or may not extend to the arms or legs.

Thoracic Spasm

This rapid, involuntary contraction occurs unexpectedly. Upper back spasms can result when a muscle has been torn or overworked resulting in inflammation. This stimulates nerves and causes them to tighten. Back spasms typically occur in the mid-back, around the shoulder blades, but can also reach the lower back. Common causes include:

  • Pulled muscles in athletes and active people
  • Trauma to the muscles
  • Excessive strain on back muscles
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Poor posture

Discover upper back pain relief at California Spine & Pain Institute. Call 855.HEAL.PAIN or 818.225.0045, or use our convenient Request an Appointment form.

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