Pain in the upper back can strike anywhere from your neck to your shoulder blades. You can have upper left back pain or upper right back pain. For upper back pain relief, see your pain specialist in New York City. Upper back pain treatment may be as easy as doing a few new exercises. Severe upper back pain is treated with medicated injections. Come to our sports pain management clinic to get your upper back pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our pain doctor Febin Melepura M.D. to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best sports pain management specialists in NYC.
Back pain comes in many forms. Lower back pain, which you feel anywhere from your hips to your rib cage, has its own causes and treatments. The same is true for middle back pain, which appears between the bottom of your rib cage up to your shoulder blades. Upper back pain can affect the area just below your arms up to your neck. Pain in the upper back may feel like:
To get lasting upper back pain relief, see your doctor in New York City. Only by reviewing your symptoms, taking a medical history and doing some tests can a qualified pain specialist determine the cause of your pain. Treatment for upper back pain depends on getting an accurate diagnosis.
You can feel upper left back pain or upper right back pain. The pain may also feel like it’s coming directly from your spine, in the center of your back. Pain in the upper back can feel like a:
- Dull, aching pain that gets worse over time
- Burning pain that’s worse after certain activities
- Sharp pain that comes and goes
- Tight muscle feeling that limits your flexibility
- Stiffness in your back that hurts when you move
Depending on the type of injury or illness, other symptoms may appear as well. Remember that your spine protects your spinal cord, the central nerves that reach every part of your body. If a nerve leaving your spine is compressed or otherwise compromised, you may feel pain even in your extremities. Symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness in your arms and hands
- Tingling in your arms all the way down to the tips of your fingers
- A feeling of numbness in your chest or shoulder
- Pain or numbness in your abdomen
- A stiff neck
What Causes Pain in the Upper Back
Your spine is composed of vertebral bones that are somewhat shaped like a ring. In the center, your spinal cord runs from the base of your spine up to your brain stem. Between each vertebral bone are discs, which act as shock absorbers. Each disc has a thick outer shell and a soft inner core that can bounce, stretch and move as you move. The discs keep your vertebrae from rubbing against each other.
The discs also keep your vertebrae spaced correctly, because between each bone, nerves run from the central spinal cord out to every part of your body. If these spaces collapse, the nerves are impacted and respond with pain. Causes include:
- An accident that causes a fracture
- A pulled muscle
- A muscle sprain
- A muscle spasm
- Poor posture, pulling your spine out of alignment over time
- A herniated disc
- Arthritis that leads to facet joint syndrome
- Myofascial pain syndrome
Upper Back Pain Treatment
Treatment for upper back pain — whether for upper right back pain or upper left back pain — hinges on a correct diagnosis. Still, it’s rare that your doctor needs to resort to surgery to provide upper back pain relief. In fact, your upper back pain treatment may begin with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or prescription-strength muscle relaxants.
Your Midtown NYC sports medicine doctor may also recommend an at-home upper back pain treatment consisting of alternating heat and cold compresses. Certain stretches and exercises can help your muscles relax enough to ease your pain, too. And there’s always physical therapy, massage and similar mobilization techniques that correct the imbalance between your muscles, ligaments, cartilage and bones.
Advanced Treatment for Upper Back Pain
In severe cases — confirmed with x-rays, CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests — your physician in Manhattan offers more invasive, but targeted upper back pain treatments. These treatments involve injecting pain medicine directly where it’s needed most. For example:
These injections use a corticosteroid medication combined with a local anesthetic to kill the pain. The effect of these treatments is temporary, although they generally help ease pain for up to several months. You shouldn’t rely on injections for long-term upper back pain relief. Instead, exercise and physical therapy can keep pain away for much longer.
Do you have any questions about the upper back pain treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated upper back pain management doctor Febin Melepura MD of sports pain management clinic in NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.