Upper back pain types

Upper back pain often has a variety of symptoms and causes, though the symptom that typically receives the most attention is local back soreness. Pain that radiates along a nerve to other parts of the torso can also be traced to causes in the upper back. While these symptoms may present themselves differently, they share a common cause — nerve compression. To learn about the function of these nerves, the signs of this condition and the treatments available for relief, read the following article.

The role of spinal nerves

The brain sends and receives sensory and motor signals throughout the body by way of the spinal cord and an infrastructure of nerves and neurons. To facilitate this flow of information, nerves branch from the spinal cord in the spinal canal, travel through canals between the vertebrae and then travel into the body.

If these nerves become compressed, a signal is sent to the brain and symptoms may follow. The types of upper back pain depend on the specific compressed nerve. For example, compression of the ulnar nerve root (located in the cervical spine) can lead to pain that radiates from the spine through the shoulders, down the arms, across the elbows and into the fingertips.

Upper back pain symptoms

Some of the most common upper back pain symptoms of this nerve compression include:

  • Traveling pain in the upper body that radiates into the shoulders, ribs, arms, hand and muscles
  • Pain, stiffness and soreness in the back at the site of the compression
  • Unexpected muscle weakness in the shoulders or elbows
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers
  • Loss of motor function or reflexes

Upper back pain treatment

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first step toward relief is to visit your doctor. Due to the varying causes of upper back pain, it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis to determine your best plan of care. Your upper back pain may be sufficiently managed with nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy or chiropractic care. If your pain persists after several weeks or months of treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open neck and back surgery, and offer many advantages, such as a lower risk of complication and a shorter recovery time.^ Our outpatient procedures help thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain each year. Reach out to us today for a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.