back pain

Upper Back Pain Stiffness

When most people think about back pain, they generally imagine discomfort in the lower back, which is often a symptom of sitting in an office chair for too long or lifting a heavy object incorrectly.

Upper back pain (1) is actually far more common than many realise and affects people of all ages and lifestyles. The pain experienced in the upper back may disappear after only a few days, but in other cases it may worsen and intensify over time. Common locations of upper back pain are the spine between the shoulder blades, the neck and also in the shoulders themselves.

The mid and upper back (known as the ‘Thoracic spine’) contains half of the total vertebrae in the body and runs from the base of the neck down to the abdomen. The Thoracic spine is also the only section of the spine that connects directly to the rib cage.

If you’re thinking of finding a “chiropractor near me” then  read on…

What are the causes of upper back pain?

Upper back pain may be caused by various factors (2), such as poor posture, overuse and/or muscle strain (such as from wearing a heavy backpack or lifting heavy items) or in more serious cases from a herniated disc or a fracture in one of the vertebrae.

What are the common symptoms?

The pain and discomfort felt in the upper back may vary from person to person. In some examples people may experience very sharp localised pain (akin to a knife wound) whilst in other cases there is a much more general, throbbing pain that may gradually move up the spine towards the neck and shoulders. In some rarer cases, people may also experience numbness and a tingling sensation in the arms and stomach.

All scenarios may result in a reduced quality of life, and day to day tasks may become difficult or in some cases, impossible.

What are the treatment options?

For many people, Chiropractic treatment of upper back pain may be one of the most effective courses of action (3). The first step is generally to perform a full examination (which may include an x-ray if necessary) to identify and assess the cause, location and severity of the discomfort.

The treatment of the back pain may then include manual spine adjustments, ergonomic assessment and training (in order to improve posture and sitting form) as well as specific exercises designed to strengthen the back muscles and core which may help to prevent the pain reappearing in the future.

How may I arrange an assessment or access treatment?

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your upper back, we encourage you to visit our Sydney Chiropractor practice for a full chiropractic consultation. We may assess the causes and the location of your back pain and recommend a treatment plan to help you work towards being pain free.


(1) www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/chiropractic-care-upper-back
(2) www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5320
(3) www.epainassist.com/manual-therapy/chiropractic-treatment/chiropractic-treatments-for-upper-back-pain