Skip to main content

Upper Back Pain & How to Relieve It

The achiness of upper back pain can keep you from the activities you love. Don't let upper back pain negatively affect your life. Identify the underlying cause and address it head on so that you can live your life to the fullest. Below is a list of some common causes of upper back pain as well as a few approaches on how to deal with them.

What Causes Upper Back Pain?

Joint or Disc Problems

Upper back pain may be caused by injuries or deterioration like herniated discs, disc fractures or degenerative disc disease. In addition, the joints connecting your ribs to your spine may become irritated or sustain an injury. A doctor can help you determine whether joint and disc problems are causing your upper back pain.

Muscular Irritation

There are large muscle groups in your upper back that connect your shoulder blades, rib cage and more. These muscles are a common source of soreness for many people and can easily be injured or overworked by many types of activity. Even if you aren't pursuing intense workouts that can affect your upper back, you may store a lot of tension in your shoulder region, which can lead to upper back pain. Often poor posture can irritate upper back muscles, like hunching over a desk or sleeping on an unsupportive bed or using pillows that are too firm or too soft.

Who is at Risk for Upper Back Pain?

Anyone can experience upper back pain, but athletes are slightly more likely to suffer upper back and shoulder injuries. Although shoulder injuries usually occur in the joints between shoulders and arms, it's possible to also wrench, strain or overwork the large muscle groups in the upper back during intense exercises like rowing, football, wrestling and more.

How is Upper Back Pain Treated?

Massage or Hot/Cold Treatment

If your upper back pain is relatively mild you may feel a lot of relief with a good massage. You can also try applying heating pads and/or ice packs (you may find that alternating them is particularly helpful) in order to soothe muscle irritation and swelling. Over-the-counter pain killers can help, too. However, these methods alone won't necessarily solve the underlying problems causing your upper back pain.

Physical Therapy and/or Surgery

If you have a particular condition, injury or disease causing your upper back pain, your doctor may recommend surgery followed by physical therapy, or just physical therapy alone. Physical therapists can help you recover from injury and deteriorating joints or discs, and prevent re-injury by strengthening your upper back.

Removing Stressors and Replacing Unsupportive Furniture

If an aspect of your life is causing undue stress, whether your job or a hectic home life, do what you can to address the issue at its core. Evaluate whether a new job or a new position within your company could help you improve your work-life balance or find ways to carve out more time for self-care. For most of us, tension is stored in the upper back – below the neckline and between the shoulder blades. Reducing stress can not only release this tension but also free you up physically and mentally to allow for greater productivity at work and enjoyment of personal time.

Upper back pain may also be exacerbated by your desk setup, chair or other furniture in your home. If you have trouble sleeping, or wake up with upper back pain chances are the bed is to blame. You spend roughly a third of your life in bed – you owe it to yourself to do the research and invest in a mattress that supports your body and spine in a natural relaxed position for truly deep and restorative sleep.

The DUX bed is designed to help alleviate any and all types of back pain, including upper back pain. If you suffer from upper back pain you may want explore DUX pillows and the innovative DUX Xleep innerspring pillow as well. The continuous support provided by DUX pillows and mattresses can help you get the rest you need to wake up feeling completely refreshed. Even if you suffer from upper back pain due to a chronic condition, the pressure-free support of The DUX bed may be able to help relieve your back pain and allow you to get better quality sleep. The DUX bed is available at  stores worldwide.