Dealing with upper back pain is not fun.
It can lead to trouble with walking, pain with overhead reaching, headaches, and even difficulty breathing as it could affect your chest and lungs.
While it may sometimes feel like there is nothing you can do about back pain, the services of a pain management physical therapy clinic can go a long way to helping you find relief.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the upper back, some of the possible causes of upper back pain, and what sorts of strategies your Washington DC physical therapist might use to help you manage it.
Keep reading to find out more about upper back pain, and what can be done about it.
What Is Upper Back Pain?
There are three main parts of your spine:
- The lumbar spine which corresponds with your lower back
- The thoracic spine which makes up your mid back to upper back
- The cervical spine, also known as your neck
The largest portion of your back is the thoracic spine, and the upper thoracic spine specifically is characterized by muscle groups which control the shoulders, shoulder blades, arms, and spinal rotation.
These aren’t the only causes, however – we’ll look at some other common factors which can contribute to upper back pain later on.
It’s less common than lower back pain, but can still affect around one in five people.
However, you might not necessarily realize you have an upper back issue, since it may manifest in shoulder pain or dysfunction.
Upper Back Pain Symptoms
Upper back pain can manifest in a number of different ways, and could be felt as:
- Numbness and tingling
- Tight or stiff muscles
- Aching, throbbing pain
- Pain which radiates along a nerve
What Causes Upper Back Pain?
There are a variety of conditions and injuries which can result in upper back pain.
Some of these include:
- Kyphosis (RELATED: Physical Therapy Treatments For Kyphosis)
- Spinal fractures
- A herniated disc in the spinal column
- Strains and sprains, often from unsafe lifting techniques
- Decreased thoracic mobility
- Poor posture
- Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other types of arthritis
- Excess thoracic use due to limited cervical or lumbar use
Pain in the thoracic or upper back region also can impact the shoulder, neck, and lower back.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Upper Back Pain
If you’re dealing with chronic pain in your upper back, a physical therapist can help.
Let’s have a look at some of the treatment options your physical therapist might use to help you find relief.
1. Hot And Cold Therapy
Sometimes you might wonder if it’s best to use a heating pad or an ice pack on an injury.
However, these two opposite types of therapies can be used in conjunction with each other.
Using heat helps increase blood flow to an area, bringing increased levels of nutrients and oxygen to the injured site, while also taking away waste byproducts.
On the other hand, cold therapy can be used to reduce inflammation, pain and muscle spasms.
Your physical therapist will help you understand how exactly to use hot and cold physical therapy to best find relief.
2. Manual Therapy
Manual therapies offered by your physical therapist will depend on the originating cause of your back pain.
They often involve some form of massages, such as soft tissue mobilization to relax muscles which are seized and spasming.
Massage uses friction and pressure to relieve tension and reduce pain.
3. Dry Needling
Dry needling therapy near me is a procedure where sterilized filiform needles are placed at muscle knots, called trigger points.
It’s used as a way to provide treatment for muscle pain due to a variety of causes and can be used to help increase range of motion, and decrease pain.
Although dry needling may seem similar to acupuncture on the surface, they are not the same procedure; acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine, while dry needling originates from Western medicine practices.
4. Stretches And Exercises
Stretches and exercises can be used to help increase strength, flexibility, range of motion, and core stability.
A personalized program will be designed which factors in your personal health history, as well as the cause of your back pain.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Do you have a condition such as arthritis which leaves you with upper back pain?
Maybe you’re recovering from a sports or running injury, and it’s left you with lingering upper back issues that just won’t go away.
Experiencing persistent pain can make focusing on other things difficult, and sometimes you wonder if there is any relief.
We’re Capitol Physical Therapy, and we can help.
Serving the Washington, DC and Upper Marlboro, Maryland areas, one of our professional physical therapists can offer you physical therapy treatments to help reduce your upper back pain, and improve your back health so you can avoid more issues in the future.
Book an appointment today, and find relief from the chronic pain you’ve been dealing with.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC