Upper Back Pain Symptoms
Upper back pain symptoms are generally caused by muscle strain or ligament sprain in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (middle back) regions of the spine. Symptoms are usually the result of repetitive activity or poor posture. This pain can generally be managed with over-the-counter pain medication, and rarely lasts longer than a few months.
When Pain Becomes Chronic
However, if upper back pain symptoms persist for longer than three months, the pain is classified as chronic. We recommend visiting a physician for an accurate diagnosis. When chronic pain occurs, the likelihood is higher that an anatomical structural abnormality of the spine itself may be the cause. Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, bone spurs, herniated discs, bulging discs and spinal stenosis can cause chronic neck or upper back pain.
Types of Symptoms
The first step a physician takes when diagnosing disease is gathering a history and performing a physical examination. The following is a brief summary of symptoms typically associated with degenerative spinal conditions:
- Radiating pain – also known as traveling pain or referred pain, it originates at the site of the nerve compression and moves down the nerve pathway into other parts of the body, such as the arms or chest
- Localized pain – it is not always the case, but occasionally pain will develop at the site of the nerve root impingement; it can be sharp or dull
- Tingling – also known as paresthesia, it’s similar to the uncomfortable sensation you feel when you strike your “funny” bone
- Numbness – a partial or complete loss of sensation
- Muscle weakness – this might manifest itself in a diminished ability to grip or lift objects
Treatments for Upper Back Pain
While most of these symptoms can be managed through conservative treatment, surgery may become necessary if chronic pain persists for several weeks or months. When upper back pain symptoms disrupt your quality of life, Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to open back surgery: minimally invasive endoscopic spinal surgery. Contact us to learn more, or for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.