Upper back (cervical) pain causes
- What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?
- Back Pain Symptoms
- Chronic Back Pain
- Chronic Back Pain Symptoms
- Severe Chronic Back Pain
- Chronic Upper Back Pain
- Upper Back Pain Symptoms
- Upper Back Pain Types
- Chronic Middle Back Pain
- Chronic Low Back Pain
- Lower Back Pain Symptoms
- Acute Back Pain
- Acute & Chronic Back Pain
- What Should I Do If I Think I Have Back Pain?
- Back Pain Treatment
- Keyhole Spine Surgery Options at Laser Spine Institute
- Is Spinal Fusion Surgery Your Only Option?
- Chronic Back Pain Treatment
- Chronic Back Pain Management
- Back Pain Acupuncture
- Injections for Back Pain
- Back Pain Physical Therapy
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- Back Pain Surgery
- Upper Back Pain Treatment
- Upper Back Pain Exercises
- Lower Back Pain Treatment
- Lower Back Pain Causes and Treatments
- Acupuncture Low Back Pain
- Low Back Pain Chiropractic
- Low Back Pain Physical Therapy
- Lower Back Pain Exercises
- Low Back Pain Stretches
- Yoga Low Back Pain
- Alternative Treatments
- Risk Factors
Living with chronic pain in the upper back or neck is bad enough on its own. The painful symptoms can make you feel like you’re missing out on life when even the simplest things — a trip to the park or a day at work — become difficult. Not knowing the root cause of your upper back pain only adds to the stress and hardship because it prevents you from being able to find an effective treatment.
Most upper back pain causes are muscular in nature, needing only light therapy and a little time to heal. However, the pain can also be caused by an issue in the spinal column. When trying to determine the source of your pain, it is important to see a doctor for a correct diagnosis and initial treatment plan.
The role of nerve roots
There are many ways that problems in the spine can develop, from normal wear and tear to an injury from an accident. The spine is divided into three main regions: upper or neck (cervical), middle (thoracic) and lower (lumbar). If the spinal cord or any of the nerve roots exiting the spine get pinched from something like a displaced disc or an abnormal bone growth, pain and discomfort can happen throughout the body.
When a nerve gets pinched or compressed in the cervical spine, symptoms like numbness can radiate out to the upper back and neighboring areas. There are eight pairs of nerve roots that exit the upper spine, spreading out to give feeling to different areas. The general body parts and their associated cervical nerve roots are:
- C1–C2 — Head
- C3–C4 — Neck and diaphragm for motor control
- C5 — Shoulder, upper body
- C6 — Wrist, thumb and biceps
- C7 — Triceps, middle fingers
- C8 — Small finger area of hands
Common conditions that cause upper back pain
Upper back pain causes can also happen because of conditions in the thoracic region. Nerve compression is less common here than in the cervical spine, but there are other potentially painful conditions that do affect this area:
- Osteoarthritis — when the cartilage that allows for smooth motion wears out, causing the bones to rub against each other
- Osteoporosis — weak or brittle bones
- Degenerative disc disease — breakdown of discs due to the aging process
- Compression fractures — small but very painful cracks in the bone
- Scheuermann’s disease — an irregular spine curvature (kyphosis) caused when the front of the spine grows slower than the back of the spine
- Structural (secondary) kyphosis — an irregular spine curvature stemming from another spinal condition, such as Paget’s disease
- Postural kyphosis — an irregular curvature caused by poor posture
If you are considering surgery to alleviate chronic upper back pain symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute. To date, we have helped more than 75,000 patients address the causes of neck and back pain with minimally invasive spine surgeries that are performed on an outpatient basis. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.
Reach out to us today to receive a consultation review of your MRI report or CT scan.