Upper Back – upper and middle back pain

Mid-back-3DUpper and middle back pain can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage. Ribs attach to a long, flat bone in the center of the chest (the sternum) attaching to and wrapping around your back. If a nerve in this area is pinched, irritated, or injured, you may also feel pain in other places where the nerve travels, such as your arms, legs, chest, and belly.

The upper and middle back (the thoracic spine) has:

  • 12 vertebrae. These bones attach to your rib cage. They make up the longest part of your back.
  • 12 Discs that separate each vertebra and absorb shock as you move.
  • Muscles and ligaments that hold the spine together.

Upper and middle back pain is not as common as low back pain or neck pain, because the bones in this area of the back don’t flex or move as much as the bones in your lower back or neck. Instead, they work with the ribs to keep the back stable and help protect vital organs like the heart and lungs.

Upper-or-Lower-back-strengthUpper and middle back pain may be caused by:

  • Overuse, muscle strain or injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs supporting the spine. Muscle strain, muscle pull, or even a muscle tear refers to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. Undue pressure can be put on muscles during normal daily activities with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, at home or at work.
  • Poor posture.
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves from problems like a herniated disc.
  • A fracture of a vertebrae.
  • Osteoarthritis caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the small facet joints in the spine.
  • Myofascial pain that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or group of muscles.

The stretching for the Upper Back zone is focused more on the directions of movement. It is common to have one or two vertebrae out of alignment in this region so it is very important you visit your osteopath and get these corrected. Then you can confidently carry on with the full Stretch for Life home program.

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