Upper and middle back pain can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage.Your ribs attach to a long, flat bone in the center of the chest called the sternum and attach to and wrap 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.
Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine, or backbone. A person usually has 33 vertebrae aligned in a column, with one on top of another and with cushions (discs) between them.
Vertebrae articulate with each other to give strength and flexibility to the spinal column, and the shape at their back and front aspects determines the range of movement.
Structurally, vertebrae are essentially alike across the vertebrate species, with the greatest difference seen between an aquatic animal and other vertebrate animals. As such, vertebrates take their name from the vertebrae that compose the vertebral column.
The vertebral disc in the spine is an interesting and unique structure. The discs throughout the spine have three primary functions:
- They act as shock absorbers in the spine, positioned between each bony vertebra.
- They act as tough ligaments that hold the vertebrae of the spine together.
- They are cartilaginous joints that allow for slight mobility in the spine.
Ligaments are short bands of tough, flexible tissue, made up of lots of individual fibres, which connect the bones of the body together. Ligaments can be found connecting most of the bones in the body.
The function of a ligament is to provide a passive limit to the amount of movement between your bones. The human body has approximately 900 ligaments.
Causes of upper back pain :
Pain in the upper back is usually the result of poor posture, muscle overuse, or injury. Treatment may include home remedies, such as rest and gentle exercises, or possibly seeing a physical therapist.
Some common causes include the following:
1. Muscle overuse
Overusing back muscles is another common cause of upper back pain. This typically occurs due to repeating the same motions over time.The classic example of how this occurs is a pitcher in baseball, who does a similar motion every time they pitch, which can often take a toll on their shoulder.
2. Muscle deconditioning and poor posture
People can condition their muscles over time to be stronger or more enduring through exercises and weight training.The reverse is also true. Humans may decondition their muscles over time by not using them correctly.
3. Herniated disc
Discs in the spine prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other.Herniated discs are more common in the lower back but may sometimes happen in the upper back too.
Discs are the soft, rubbery cushions between each vertebra. Herniated discs occur when a piece of this cushion pokes through and puts pressure on the spine.
4. Spinal infection
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat a spinal infection.
Rarely, an infection may be the cause of upper back pain. A spinal epidural abscess is a collection of germs and pus that form between the spinal cord and bones of the spine.
Causes of middle back pain
Middle back pain refers to pain or discomfort in the thoracic spine the region of the back between the rib cage and the base of the neck.
Some common causes include the following:
1. Fractured vertebrae
A fracture or broken bone can occur in any of the vertebrae in the middle back as a result of a sports injury, automobile crash, or fall.
Extreme deterioration of the spine over time, such as from osteoarthritis, can also cause a fractured vertebra.
2 . Kidney problems
Kidney problems can cause pain in the middle back, just underneath the ribcage on either side of the spine.The most common causes of kidney pain are infections and kidney stones. Additional symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain while urinating
Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on the muscles, bones, and other structures in the back pain. In a meta-analysis of almost 100 studies, obesity was found to increase the risk of back pain.
4. Mental health conditions
People who experience depression or anxiety tend to be at increased risk of developing back pain.Research suggests that people with depression are 60 percent more likely to develop back pain than people who do not have depression.