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Upper back pain is one of the most frequent complaints of most sedentary individuals, secretary or athletes. It could be caused by many etiologies such as work-related posture, Weightlifting, Medical conditions or poor working habits. The duration and severity of the upper back pain depend on its etiology, it could be classified as acute or chronic depending on the duration of the upper back pain. It can be treated surgically, non- surgical methods or with alternative treatments. The treatment options are changed throughout the duration, most times; upper back pain is treated with medications such as narcotics before switching to physiotherapy and other treatment options.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Upper Back Pain


Upper back pain can be treated in different ways such as using surgical methods, non-surgical methods or alternative medicine. Non-surgical methods involve the use of treatment options that don’t involve surgery. The most common non-surgical treatment for upper back pain includes:

  • Medications: One of the most common non-surgical treatments for upper back pain is using various pain medications. There are numerous over the counter drugs for relieving upper back Opioids and muscle relaxants are the most common types of medications for treating upper back pain. The body experience pains through signals sent from the brain to various pain nerve endings in our body, these pain signals are sent throughout the efferent fibers to the nerve endings and received through the afferent fibers. Opioids are pain medications that block these pain nerve endings, at this moment, relieving the pain in the lower back or anywhere in the body. On the other hand, muscle relaxants help in relaxing the muscle and preventing constant spasm, thus, alleviating the pain the upper back.
  • Injections: There are specific injections given at the site of pain for fast relief of upper back pain. However, these injections are a quick fix and not sufficient for long-term use and treatment of upper back pain. There are different types of pain injections used worldwide; steroid pain injections are the most commonly used pain injection are an epidural It is advisable not to use epidural steroid without the prescription of a medical practitioner. It could be dangerous when used in the wrong dosage and technique.
  • Physiotherapy:  Upper back can be treated with different forms of physical therapy, especially when performed by a physiatrist or physiotherapist. The physiotherapy suggests progressive exercises to ease the pain and strengthen the muscles of the back. The patient often performed a series of back exercise to alleviate the pain; these exercises are followed by therapy sessions that can be performed at home during the recovery period. It is often combined with other forms of treatment or used in alleviating chronic back pain,

Alternative Medical Treatment for Upper Back Pain


Upper back pain can also is treated with alternative medicine, which doesn.t involves the use of any medication or surgery.  This practice is considered more of a traditional approach that scientific. However, that does not rule out its effectiveness. It involves using various no-conventional methods of healing upper back pain. The most common forms of alternative medicine include:

  • Manual manipulation: This involves the use of various massaging techniques and hand trust to eliminate upper back pain. It is often performed by a chiropractor or physiotherapist; it helps in correcting misaligned spinal vertebrae and alleviating back pain. Some medical practitioner calls it chiropractic manipulator; it can be used to loosen stiff joints and reduce upper back It is one of the alternative treatments for chronic back pain.
  • Acupuncture: Pain and body stiffness can be reduced by acupuncture; it works on the principle of energy transfer through body punctures at specific trigger points in the body.
  • Electrical Therapy: Electrical energy is one of the most effective alternative treatments for upper back pain. It involves the use of electricity to alleviate the back pain by placing a device on the affected parts of the body. The most common form of electric therapy is called Trans electrical nerve stimulator (TENS), it passes electrical impulses to the body through specific electrical pads to reduce pain.
  • Meditation: Specific meditations such as yoga can help patients focus on the positive thoughts and ignoring negative thoughts such as pain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy is as effective as cognitive behavior therapy.


Surgical Treatment of Upper Back Pain


Some severe cases, it is advisable to perform surgical procedures on the back. These surgeries help in strengthening the back muscle, treat underlying etiology, and eliminating upper back pain.


Lifestyles Changes for Treating Upper Back Pain


There are numerous tweaks we can make in our day to day lives that can help in the treatment of lower back pain. The most effective lifestyle changes include:

  • Rest: It is advisable to rest especially when the back pain is exacerbated with specific exercise and movements. Balance is the key between resting and physical activity. The rest should be monitored to promote healing; the patients should be involved in physical activity
  • Cold Therapy: Applying different temperature like ice and cold to reduce the inflammatory process and eliminate the pain is suggested by many medical practitioners. However, an ice or cold compress should not be applied for more than 20 minutes at once.
  • Exercise: Participating in back strengthing exercises such as strength training, hyper-extension, walking, and stretching can reduce upper back
  • Posture: The way we position our body during sitting, walking and physical activities can affect our Maintaining a good posture by sitting and walking straight, and positioning your ears above your shoulder can prevent kyphosis and lordships, which are responsible for upper back pain. It is advisable to bend the knee when lifting heavy objects or strength training.
  • Smoking: Scientist has discovered the link between nicotine in habitual smokers and upper back pain. This is because nicotine can reduce blood flow to the back muscles, at this moment, causing upper back pain and ischemia to back muscles.


Upper back pain is a prevalent complaint in this era. It could be caused by numerous etiologies ranging from poor posture to serious underlying medical conditions. However, it can be treated surgically, non-surgically and using alternative treatments.


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