Upper back pain overview

The upper back is technically classified as the thoracic spine, which consists of 12 vertebrae that stretch from the top of the shoulders to the lower back. Unlike the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back), the thoracic spine does not allow any movement. This is because the vertebrae of the thoracic spine attach to the rib cage and support the upper body with correct posture and enough room to house our vital organs.

Because the thoracic spine does not provide movement, the discs and vertebrae of the upper back are not generally susceptible to the normal wear that affects other areas of the spine and that leads to the development of degenerative spine conditions. Any nerve pain in the upper back is often caused by injury as opposed to a degenerative spine condition.

These injuries can be brought on by traumatic injury or high-impact sports, though sometimes degenerative conditions do develop as a result of years of bad posture and compression. To learn more about the causes of upper back pain and the treatment options available for lasting relief, read the following article.

Causes of upper back pain

Some of the more common symptoms for thoracic spine pain are stiffness, muscle spasms and general pain in the area. It is common for patients experiencing middle back pain to feel discomfort when taking a deep breath or during strenuous activity. This is because the nerve pathways from the thoracic spine often travel to the ribs, chest and arms, causing a compressed nerve in the upper back to sometimes radiate pain to these areas.

Some upper back pain causes include poor posture, degenerated core muscles, strenuous bending or twisting of the back, prolonged sitting in one position like at a desk at work or sometimes a violent cough or hard sneeze. Conditions such as scoliosis will occasionally cause symptoms of upper back pain as well.

Treatment for upper back pain

Laser Spine Institute provides treatment for back pain with minimally invasive spine procedures such as a foraminotomy, laminotomy, discectomy or facet thermal ablation performed in conjunction with a decompression procedure. The type of spine surgery performed is dependent on what spine condition is causing the back pain. We encourage you to take a moment and view a few of our patient testimonials to see how we can help you reclaim your own spinal health.

Laser Spine Institute is proud to have only the finest doctors, surgeons and support staff, all of whom make it a point to go out of their way to provide patients with consistent patient-centered care. Take a moment to view our page dedicated to our incredible team of board-certified+ spine surgeons. Feel free to contact us with any other questions or for more information on how we can help you.

At Laser Spine Institute, our procedures require no hospital stay and have shorter recovery times compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To answer commonly asked questions about Laser Spine Institute, please visit our back pain FAQ page. We can also determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient upper back pain treatments through a free MRI review.* Reach out to us today to get started on your journey to wellness.