For some people, upper back pain presents at all times. However, for others, the pain worsens when lying down or during the night when they sleep. They might likewise only have upper pain in the back during the night or when they get up in the morning. Finding a comfortable pose when resting that is taking less press off of your upper back might help you get better rest.
Upper back pain can have many causes: muscle strain or overuse, poor posture, or an injury. Some severe causes include spinal diseases as a herniated disc or, much less frequently, cancer cells or the spinal column's infection.
What is Upper Back Pain?
Upper back pain can occur anywhere from the base of the neck to the middle of the ribs. It can additionally include the shoulder blades or the ribs.
The upper back has:
- Vertebrae, the bones of the back. There are 12 vertebrae in the upper and middle back (which is called the thoracic spine). The ribs attach to the vertebrae in the back and the sternum in the front.
- Spinal (or intervertebral) discs that separate the vertebrae and provide cushioning and support.
- Muscles and ligaments that hold the spinal column together.
- 2 shoulder blades that are attached to the upper back and shoulders by muscles and ligaments.
Upper back pain is less usual than pain in the neck or lower back because the spine in the upper back is less adaptable. This is because the upper and middle back, ribs, and sternum form a tough cage to protect the heart, lungs, and other essential body organs.
Upper Back Pain Causes
In general, upper back pain can be caused by:
- Muscle strain or overuse;
- Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, or spinal discs that support the back;
- Poor posture during work or pastime, particularly for extended periods without a break;
- A herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or another condition that puts pressure on the spinal nerves;
- One or more fractured vertebrae;
- Osteoarthritis in the spine. This happens when the cartilage of the joints and discs breaks down. It is much more usual in the neck and lower back;
- Myofascial discomfort, which related to the connective tissue that wraps around and supports the muscles of the back;
- Whiplash or a car accident.
Less generally, upper pain in the back may be caused by other diseases, such as cancer, an infection, or gallbladder disease.
What are the Symptoms?
Common symptoms of upper back pain are:
- A dull, sharp, or burning pain;
- Tightness or tightness in the back muscles.
More severe symptoms that ought to be examined by a medical professional immediately include:
- Numbness or tingling in your arms, chest, tummy, or legs;
- Weakness in your arms or legs;
- Loss of control of your bowel or bladder;
- Discomfort or throbbing in your abdominal area;
- Unexpected weight loss.
Why does my Upper Back Hurt when Lying Down?
If your upper pain in the back occurs only when lying down or while sleeping, it supplies clues to what's triggering your pain. Some possible causes consist of:
- Lying down puts more pressure on the back that is impacted, such as the vertebrae, spinal discs, spinal nerves, muscle mass, ligaments, or connective tissue. This can happen if you have unusual rounding of the upper back (kyphosis). This makes pushing your back unpleasant.
- Your pillow or mattress isn't a good fit. It can hint that your cushion is too high or too low or unsupportive when you are sleeping. Your bed mattress might likewise be too hard or not supply enough support.
- A lack of movement while lying down for a long time may cause muscles to become stiff or tight.
- If you toss and turn a lot while sleeping, this can strain the back muscles or spine.
Mesh Lumbar Back Support Cushion
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What information should I share with my medical professional?
If you are worried about upper back pain, you should see a doctor or other health professional. If you have any tingling, numbness, or weakness in your arms, chest, belly, legs, or other severe symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
To assist your doctor in identifying what is triggering your signs and symptoms and the most effective way to treat your problem, make a note of the following:
- What signs you have, including the parts of your body that are affected.
- How severe the pain is, and whether you have upper back pain at night only.
- If your symptoms worsen while lying down, is it right away or after resting for a long time, or after sleeping?
- Does anything make the pain go away, such as changing position while lying down, propping up your back with pillows, etc.?
Diagnosing Upper Back pain
Your physician will initially ask you about your symptoms, your overall health, previous injuries, or surgical procedures, as well as your work and entertainment activities. Then you'll take a physical examination.
Your doctor may also have you undergo an X-ray, MRI, or another imaging test to see if something such as a herniated disc, compressed spinal nerve, or broken vertebra is triggering your pain. Various other tests may be needed to identify the reason for your discomfort to rule out specific problems.
Treatment for Upper Back Pain
Treatment for upper back pain depends on the cause. Mild to moderate back pain can typically be handled with:
- Ice or heat packs;
- Non-prescription drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Aleve, aspirin, Motrin or others), or acetaminophen (Tylenol or others);
- Manual therapy, such as physical treatment, massage therapy, Thai yoga massage, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation;
- Workout, Pilates, or yoga.
If your pain is even worse at night or when lying down, your doctor or physiotherapist may suggest you attempt several things to reduce your upper back pain in bed, such as:
- Maintain your spinal column in a neutral position using a different bed mattress or foam mattress topper for additional assistance or use cushions to support your spine.
- Sleep in a different position, such as sleeping on your back or alternating sides if you are a side sleeper.
- Invest in a supportive and just-right cushion for your head and neck curvature.
Strengthening and stretching your back muscles may also provide relief since they can help stabilize the spine. You can also use a foam roller to increase the flexibility of the upper back.
As your spine curve improves, you may readjust your pillow again. The height of maybe a moving target depending upon whether you can change the way you sleep or your curvature.
If your discomfort is severe enough that you have trouble doing your everyday activities, your medical professional may advise a prescription discomfort drug. The surgical procedure is a less usual therapy for upper back pain. However, it may be used to treat back problems, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.
Several things can trigger upper back pain when lying or while sleeping. If you are concerned about your pain, you need to see a medical professional. You should visit a doctor, especially if you have any numbness, tingling, weakness in your arms or legs, or other severe symptoms.
A doctor can help you figure out the cause of your upper back pain and the very best treatment. Many upper back pain cases can be treated with rest warmth or ice bag, over-the-counter medicines, or manual therapy. For more severe cases, other treatments may be needed.