Though lower back pain is more common, upper back pain can be just as painful – and perhaps even more frustrating because there is less readily available information about its causes and cures. The truth is that if you’re experiencing stiffness and pain between your neck and mid-back, you are not alone. There are millions of people who are suffering just like you, and most can blame one of the following four things for their discomfort:
- Deconditioned Muscles
When you think about getting in shape, you’re looking to improve the condition that your muscles are in. But the truth is that as we get older, you need to work to maintain condition. Otherwise, your muscles will weaken, usually as a result of either aging or perpetual poor posture or both. The end result is a diminished ability to provide the support your spine needs.
- Overused Muscles
Of course, there is always the possibility that your upper back pain is a result of asking too much of your muscles and causing them stress. This is particularly common for so-called ‘weekend warriors’ – whether the battle is on the playing field, jogging course, or just attacking household chores or yardwork. Muscles can also be impacted by repetitive stress injuries suffered at work, especially if your job involves a lot of lifting and putting excess strain on your muscles.
- Impinged Nerves
Though the focus of a back injury often falls on the disc or vertebrae that are involved, in most cases the actual pain comes from the pressure that those structures put on the many nerves that surround them. When a disc slips out of place, or ruptures, it or its contents invariably put pressure on these nerves and cause pain in your back as well as in other areas, such as your arms or legs. If your back pain is moving around and radiating to other parts of your body, it’s a clear indication that you need to contact our New Jersey spine pain specialists.
- Osteoarthritis of the Spine
When examining the spine, our physicians look to several different structures as the source of patients’ pain. In addition to the muscles, discs, connecting tissues, and nerves there are the bones and joints themselves. These structures are vulnerable to degeneration with aging and years of stress and injury, and some people are genetically prone to arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that can make movement extremely difficult, and when it forms in the upper spine it can lead to movement and bony outgrowths that add to already-existing problems.
The good news is that no matter what the cause of your upper back pain, our New Jersey spine specialists have options that can provide relief. The first step in the process is to make an appointment to come in and see us for a thorough examination and discussion of your symptoms. From there we will offer the best options available to you, based on our philosophy of always starting with the most conservative approach. We look forward to seeing you soon and helping to relieve your pain.