Why It’s Worth Choosing Chiropractic For Upper Back Pain
Pain in the upper back can occur for many reasons. However, once it is present, it can significantly affect the way you live your daily life. This is mainly because our back plays a vital role in body function. Though upper back pain is a less frequent health complaint than neck pain and lower back pain, there is still a high number of people who experience this type of pain each year in the U.S. According to a study published in Occupational Medicine 2015, the prevalence of upper back pain is higher in women than in men.
If you are experiencing pain in your upper back right now, consider trying one of the best treatment options: chiropractic for upper back pain. This holistic treatment option can bring you amazing results both in preventing and addressing upper back pain. Today, we will review why it may be worth choosing chiropractic care as an upper back pain treatment alternative.
The Basic Anatomy of The Upper Back
To better understand the causes of upper back pain, it is best to first take a look at the basic anatomy of the upper back. The thoracic spine, which is located in the upper and middle area of your back, is composed of 12 vertebrae. It is the most stable part of your spine because to each vertebra a pair of ribs are connected, creating a protective cage for your vital internal organs (such as the lungs and heart). For this reason, the thoracic spine has a more limited range of motion compared to the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (lower back).
Since the thoracic spine is anchored by the rib cage (making it more stable), there are generally fewer many things that could go wrong regarding the health of your thoracic spine. However, like all parts of the body, there are numerous moving parts interconnected in this area that can influence each other. Thus, even the smallest dysfunction can cause major issues in the end.
Since chiropractors are experts of the spine and they have a deep understanding of why it’s crucial to optimize balance in this particular area, choosing chiropractic for upper back pain can be the key to your recovery.
The Primary Causes of Upper Back Pain
If you are wondering what can lead to the onset of pain in the upper back, there are many potential causes. After all, the spine (no matter what area), is a complex and ambiguous system.
To give you an idea of which underlying issues can leave you in pain, here is a list of a few primary causes:
- Overuse injuries. When the thoracic spine is exposed to repetitive moves such as twisting, lifting, and bending, it can easily lead to overuse injuries (for example, you strain some of the local tissues). Down the road, it can also lead to degenerative changes in the spine itself that affect the integrity of the local nerves.
- Trauma. Sustaining an injury with a high impact on the area of the upper and middle back can lead to injured local tissues and upper back pain. It can occur from a sports injury, a vehicle accident, or even a fall.
- Incorrect posture. We all know that maintaining a good posture is important to our spine health. However, many of us often find ourselves sitting or standing in an awkward position. Chronic poor posture can lead to many complications, including issues in your biomechanics and spine alignment. Adjusting our position to a more neutral one can help reduce the onset of pain and stiffness and optimize spine alignment and nerve health.
- Poor biomechanics of the shoulders. When it comes to upper body movements, your shoulders and the thoracic spine both have a role in coordination. This is why an issue in the shoulder area (dysfunction, pain, injury, etc.) can cause further problems in the upper and middle back- or vice versa.
The Potentially Affected Tissues
Usually, when people are experiencing upper back pain, more than one area of the body is responsible for the pain at the same time. This is one of the reasons why you may have various types of pain related to the thoracic spine, such as aching, painful breathing, sharp pain, painful movements, etc. Having a healthcare professional like a chiropractor who can properly assess the affected tissues can be crucial for getting the best upper back pain treatment possible. Let’s see below which tissues may be potentially affected!
- Dysfunction of the joints. The thoracic spine alone consists of 12 vertebrae and 24 ribs. This means that there are many articulations in the area that can get irritated and lead to direct pain.
- Myofascial pain. When it comes to upper back pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and knots are common complaints. For example, when experiencing myofascial pain in the trapezius muscles, it can feel like your entire trunk is in pain and tense.
- Dysfunction of the nerves. Compression to the local nerves or a misalignment in the thoracic spine can leave your upper back and nearby areas feeling sore. For example, one health issue that affects the local nerves and blood vessels within the chest is thoracic outlet syndrome.
- Spine degeneration. Typically, the thoracic spine is considered less susceptible to the different forms of degeneration than the cervical or lumbar spine. However, wear and tear can still happen secondary to overuse, aging, or past injuries. Thus, herniated discs or other forms of degeneration in the thoracic spine can initiate the onset of upper back pain.
- Spine misalignment. Very often, spine misalignment is the main underlying cause of pain in the area of the upper back. This is because when the spine is misaligned, it can result in various imbalances and poor nerve integrity. Ultimately, this can lead to a lower quality of life since it can compromise your body functions.
When Should I See a Chiropractor?
When upper back pain strikes, you have plenty of treatment options to choose from. The best is to select one with a holistic conservative approach, such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, or acupuncture that aims for restoring the body’s innate balance and promoting better healing capabilities. Typically, these options seem to be more effective in the long term than conventional, more invasive treatment techniques like medication, injection, or surgery. This is why it’s not surprising that chiropractic care can be found among the leading recommendations for upper back pain.
However, you might want to know when you should see a chiropractor for your upper back concerns. If you experience one of the more common reasons listed below, don’t hesitate to seek care from a chiropractor.
- Even though you tried some common natural home remedies like stretching or rest, the pain is still present after 1 or 2 weeks.
You got injured in the back or shoulder area (high-impact injury). Seek immediate treatment because an injury in those areas can lead to unnecessary complications when not addressed properly.
- You are worried about sustaining a future injury. For example, if you have another health issue that puts you at risk (such as scoliosis), you lead a sedentary lifestyle, or for many other reasons. Regardless of your concerns, prevention is always important. Thus, don’t hesitate to see a chiropractor.
- You have chronic pain – it can affect your quality of life very quickly, so it’s better to seek care rather than suffer unnecessarily!
- Sometimes you don’t need a specific reason. It’s enough if you feel something is not okay. A thorough body assessment at the chiropractor can determine if you have any underlying issues. Then, from there you can also get help to unlock your health potential.
If you’re ready to get in touch with a local chiropractor, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our awesome team at Advanced Spine and Rehab in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Upper Back Pain Treatment at the Chiropractor
If you are now feeling motivated to seek care from a chiropractor for your upper back issues, then you have made the first and most important step towards a pain-free life. If you want to benefit from the best treatment protocols in chiropractic care, consider finding a chiropractor that possesses a special certification in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP)- like our specialized team at Advanced Spine and Rehab. Without a doubt, these healthcare professionals are on the top of their game when it comes to upper back pain treatment and promoting long-lasting results for their patients.
In the following, you can see a few of the treatment options you might undergo during your regular visits:
- Manual therapy. Massage and traction can help relieve myofascial pain and address muscle imbalances to restore better spine alignment.
Posture training. Learning how to maintain ergonomic positions in certain activities (sleeping, sitting, standing, and many more) can promote great long-term results for your spine health.
- Spine adjustments. Adjustments to the spine can help optimize the mobility of your joints and restore your spine alignment. Having your spine realigned can promote optimal nerve flow, better bodily functions, and faster recovery.
- Pain management modalities. Various modalities are used to give you immediate pain relief without the need for heavy medications, including hot packs, cold packs, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.
- Exercise training. Often used to promote optimal recovery by focusing on good biomechanics and spine alignment. Besides, it can also help enhance your blood circulation and tissue health.
Getting Professional Care For Your Upper Back Pain
By now it might have become clear to you why it’s worth choosing chiropractic for upper back pain. If you are ready to get professional help, find a CBP care provider in your local area.
If you live in Grand Rapids, MI, or the surrounding area, give Advanced Spine and Rehab a call (the entire team is CBP-certified!) and book your very first consultation. Chances are that with their help you can say goodbye soon to your unwanted back pain symptoms.