Chiropractic for Upper Back Pain
While upper back pain is rarer than neck pain and lower back pain, it is still a very common health complaint among people. When it comes to the U.S. statistics, about 2 women out of 10 and 1 man out of 10 deal with this type of pain each year. If you are also one of them currently suffering from upper back pain, then you know how this condition can affect your quality of living.
The good news is that nowadays, many effective upper back pain treatment options can help you relieve your pain. One of the best options that we will review today is chiropractic for upper back pain. Chiropractic care is a great and viable option thanks to the holistic nature of treatment for addressing spine-related pain issues. Thus, it is 100% worth trying!
A Little Anatomy – The Importance of The Thoracic Spine
When you experience upper back pain, you have pain in the area of the thoracic spine. Your thoracic spine starts beneath your neck and consists of 12 vertebrae. To each of these vertebrae are attached a pair of ribs, which makes the thoracic spine fairly immobile compared to the other parts of the spine. The upper back is often called the mid-back as well since it is located between the neck (also known as cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine).
The importance of the thoracic spine within the body is unquestionable. The thoracic spine together with the ribs protects and houses many vital organs, including your heart and lungs. Plus, since it’s connected to the surrounding muscles and connective tissues, it plays a significant role in providing optimal breathing patterns, stability to the trunk, and ensuring coordinated movement of the arms.
As you can see, the thoracic spine’s role is quite complex thanks to the many moving parts of the body that are interconnected in this part of the spine. Not surprisingly, when dysfunction occurs in this area, it can lead to serious health issues over time. And this is where the main advantage of chiropractic for upper back pain lies. Chiropractors understand why it’s necessary to restore the innate balance in this area of the body to promote the best possible bodily functions.
Which Factors Can Contribute to Upper Back Pain
If we take a look at the causes, we can see that many underlying issues can contribute to the onset of upper back pain. Below we have collected some of the primary factors that can cause a feeling of stiffness and/or soreness within this particular area.
- Poor posture: Very often, we participate in our daily activities with a poor posture. When chronic bad posture is present in activities like sleeping, standing, and sitting, it can set you up for major consequences. These may include spine misalignment and poor upper back mechanics that leave you feeling off. Of course, changing an awkward position to a neutral one can help decrease the onset of unwanted symptoms, such as stiffness and pain.
- Injuries secondary to repetitive use or overuse: Repetitive motions like lifting, bending, and twisting can lead to the strain of local tissues. Particularly, there is a high risk for an overuse injury when these moves are done in combination.
- A high-impact injury: When you sustain a high-impact injury, it means that some kind of direct pressure injures your tissues. It can occur for many reasons, including a fall, sports injury, or a car accident. This type of injury can often lead to chronic issues that you are hard to shake without holistic professional help.
- Faulty shoulder mechanics: Since your thoracic spine and shoulders are interconnected and work together to coordinate most upper body movements, an injury or dysfunction in the shoulders can result in a strain of the thoracic spine.
Which Tissues Are Typically Affected By Upper Back Pain?
Now that you are aware of some of the main factors that can initiate the onset of upper back pain, it’s time to see which tissues can be affected by upper back pain. Since there are various tissues in the area, the type of pain you may experience can vary as well. You may have to deal with aching, sharp pain, pain when using your arms, or even feel pain when breathing. Usually, there is more than one area that is contributing to the pain in the upper back. This is why it’s crucial to determine which tissues are affected to get the best possible treatment.
- Herniated disc or other types of spine degeneration: Indeed, the thoracic spine is less likely to be affected by degeneration when compared to other areas of the spine secondary to it’s innate stability. However, people can still experience wear and tear secondary to overuse, aging, or previous injuries. This can put extra pressure on the spinal cord and the nervous system, causing various symptoms, such as pain, tingling, and weakness.
- Myofascial pain: Feeling pain and tenderness in the middle back is quite common, especially in the trapezius muscles.
Joint dysfunction: Some issues at the numerous joint articulations in the thoracic spine can also lead to pain. With the vertebrae articulating with each other and the ribs, there are a lot of potential areas for irritation. For example, these joints can be misaligned, not mobile enough, or hypermobile (most often a combo of the two).
- Nerve dysfunction: Sometimes there is some kind of compression, stretching, or even misalignment present that affects the sensitive neural tissues of the spinal cord or local nerve roots. Ultimately, this can lead to various symptoms.
- Spine misalignment: A common underlying issue that can be associated with all the above-mentioned health problems is spine misalignment. Unfortunately, when the spine is not properly aligned, it can cause imbalances and disruption in the nerve flow. Thus, poor spine alignment can compromise the basic bodily functions as well.
When It’s Necessary to Consult A Chiropractor
In regards to the possible treatment options, holistic treatments like chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage therapy are all among the very best options. Since these treatments focus on restoring the innate balance to the body, they can be a better choice than other more invasive treatment options (for example, injections or heavy medications). This is especially true if you are looking for sustainable recovery! Holistic treatment options can help you prevent the onset of upper back pain, or once it’s present, they can help you manage your symptoms and recover.
Below you will find a few indicators for chiropractic care. That way you will know when you need to go to see a chiropractor for upper back pain. Let’s review them!
- After 1 or 2 weeks, common home remedies such as rest, self-massage, and stretching don’t bring you any noticeable results.
- If you have sustained a high-impact injury to your back or shoulders, you may need to seek immediate medical care to address your injury and avoid future complications.
- If your pain symptoms have become chronic or severe, then consider it as an indicator for getting chiropractic care as soon as possible.
- Being at risk for future injury (for example, because of poor posture, genetics, working conditions, or an existing health condition like scoliosis, etc.). It may be a good idea to seek care for preventative reasons.
- Any other reason that may compromise your quality of life or simply feeling that something is wrong!
- There are a lot of appropriate indications for chiropractic care regarding upper back pain. If you know you’d benefit from care or want to discuss the possibilities, consider giving Advanced Spine and Posture a call at our local Henderson, NV office.
Chiropractic Upper Back Pain Treatment
When seeing a chiropractor for upper back pain, you can expect to undergo a mix of great holistic treatments. If you are looking for the best treatment techniques, consider finding a chiropractor certified in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). Due to this in-depth research-based certification, you can be assured that the entire treatment process follows a thoroughly tested protocol.
Depending on your preferences and needs, your chiropractor may use more than one chiropractic treatment technique to bring you the best possible results. Here are a few examples of the potential treatment options:
- Spine adjustments: These adjustments can provide better joint mobility and restore the optimal alignment of the spine. Usually, spine alignment is the primary focus of chiropractic care as it can promote better nerve flow and recovery for the upper back.
- Ergonomic training: Your chiropractor can give you guidance on how to improve your posture. This includes recommendations for promoting ergonomic positions for standing, walking, sitting, or any other daily activities.
- Manual therapy: This can effectively address muscle imbalances and myofascial pain through massage.
- Natural pain-relieving modalities: These modalities can give you quick relief from the pain at the clinic or with guidance at home. Common medication-free modalities are ultrasound, self-massage, electrical stimulation (also known as TENS), ice packs, heating pads, etc.
- Exercise training: This type of training can help you to achieve better results concerning spine alignment and biomechanics. Plus, exercise can help you stay fit and keep your local tissues healthy.
- Lifestyle change: Your chiropractor may talk to you about simple changes you can make in your lifestyle that can help your recovery and live an overall healthier life.
Opt For the Best Care For Your Upper Back Pain
At this point, you should understand why chiropractic care is one of the best choices for addressing upper back pain. Whether you would like to prevent upper back pain, or you would like to better manage your symptoms and potentially get rid of them for good, a chiropractor can help you. Find a chiropractor in your area, preferably one who is certified in CBP, and get back to your normal life free of unnecessary back pain.
If you live in the Henderson, NV area, don’t hesitate to call the CBP-certified team at Advanced Spine and Rehab. They are ready to address all your back pain-related issues.