Upper Back Pain Causes and Treatments by Jackie Manning, ARNP

Ever feel like you have a monkey on your back? This could be due to a stressor in your life. On the other hand, your disgruntlement could literally be upper back pain!

While upper back pain may not be as common as low back or neck pain, it’s a source of constant irritation for some. Most often upper and middle back pain is caused by overuse, muscle strain, or injury to muscles, ligaments, and/or discs that support the spine. Another very common cause of upper and middle back pain is POOR POSTURE.

As Granny may have told you, being a slouch can turn you into a grouch! The upper or middle back is designed for stability, and poor posture compromises its ability to provide that solid foundation, which often leads to pain and injury. When upper back pain occurs, it can be due to a longstanding habit of poor posture or an injury that overpowers the thoracic spine’s sturdiness.


  1. Muscular Irritation: Often occurs due to a lack of strength or overuse injuries from repetitive motions. In a lot of cases, this can be corrected through strengthening exercises and mixing it up to never allow certain movements to become too repetitive or routine.
  2. Joint Dysfunction: Occurs with sudden injury or natural degeneration due to aging.


Complaints usually describe a sharp, burning pain that is localized to one spot, or a more generalized achiness that can flare up and may even spread to the shoulder, neck, and other areas. In a lot of cases, self-care will do the trick. Simply resting or applying heat or ice can completely nip it in the bud. However, if the pain persists, other treatment options include medication, physical therapy, manual manipulation or trigger point injections. In most cases, trigger point inactions help with pain management and enhance physical therapy and manual manipulations. Message therapy can offer much needed relief and relaxation as well!


Trigger point injections are extremely beneficial in pain management. During this treatment, medication is placed directly into the painful area, providing immediate, targeted pain relief. This procedure is simple, widely performed, minimally invasive and instantly gratifying.

Contact Strive today so that we can help you get out of pain and back to enjoying life!