The upper back is also called the mid back or thoracic spine. Thoracic means ‘pertaining to the heart’ which highlights the importance of the thoracic spine in protecting our organs, such as the heart, liver and stomach. Unlike the neck and low back, the thoracic spine is built for stability and not movement. It forms the attachment for large, strong muscles that move the arms and stabilise the pelvis. Muscle pain or irritation through the upper and middle back is common. Muscle injuries in the middle and upper back usually come from overuse issues caused by lifting, bending or sitting.
Types of muscle injuries
The research is not very strong when it comes to classifying muscle injuries, despite their clinical importance and its high incidence in the general population. However, the clear differentiating factor is the mechanism of injury. Muscle pain and injuries can therefore be broadly classified as either traumatic (acute) or overuse (chronic) injuries.
- Acute injuries are usually the result of a single traumatic event and cause a macro-trauma to the muscle. There is an obvious link between the cause and noticeable symptoms. They usually occur in contact sports such as rugby, soccer and basketball because of their dynamic and high collision nature.
- Overuse, chronic or exercise-induced injuries are subtler and usually occur over a longer period of time. They result from repetitive micro-trauma to the muscle. Diagnosing is more challenging since there is a less obvious link between the cause of the injury and the symptoms.
Symptoms of muscle pain in the upper back
The most typically symptom of upper back muscle pain, is pain that can be made worse with movement. When you contract the muscles by moving the arms or mid back area, it will reproduce the pain. Pain can be located in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades (scapulae) or, the lower mid back area around the ribcage. Muscles in the mid back are involved in movement and stability. Generally speaking, if you can’t reproduce the pain it may be something else that needs investigation by a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Treatment of muscle pain in the upper back
Chiropractors and physiotherapists specialise in the treatment of muscles and joints by non-surgical measures. This means the chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) are positioned perfectly to treat your mid back muscle pain. Treatments may include ultrasound, instrument assisted soft tissue therapy, massage, active muscle releases and stretching. Getting a diagnosis from your chiropractor or physiotherapist is very important in the mid back. Many organs can refer to the mid back region, if your pain is not responding to regular massage appointments please call our Balmain or Dee Why spine centre and make a booking.
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