Back pain is the most common health concern that affects most of the people at some point in their lives. Upper Back pain may be sudden or can be a chronic pain that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, joints and spine. The pain can be triggered by an uncomfortable posture, bending or sitting awkwardly or lifting things incorrectly.
The main causes of upper back pain could be:
• Obesity or being overweight.
• Age factor can also cause upper back pain. Normally it occurs at the age group of 30-50.
• People who do not exercise often or aren’t physically fit.
• Persons who occasionally need to lift, push or pull things or twist their back at work can be affected. Also, people who have long hour sitting job can have upper back pain.
• Upper back pain in few people can be hereditary.
• Smoking lessens the blood flow to the lower spine thereby affecting upper back.
• People suffering from arthritics and other bone problems can experience upper back problems too.
Unexplained weight loss, fever, pain in the limbs, difficulty in bending and loss of bladder and bowel movement are some of the signs of having upper back pain. Managing upper back pain depends upon its duration and how severe the pain is. The back pain can be for a short term as well as long term. Let’s take a look on both and how to treat them.
Short Term back pain: Short term back pain lasts not more than six weeks and can be treated through pain killers and home treatments.
i) Painkillers: Paracetamol and ibuprofen can prove to be very effective in upper back pain. Codeine is a strong pain killer that can be taken in addition to Paracetamol. Pain killers can have a negative effect on the health also. That’s why pain killers should be taken after consulting a doctor or pharmacist.
ii) Hot and cold treatment: A hot bath or hot water bottle can be placed over the affected area to get rid of back pain. Also, ice packs can be used over the affected area. Remember, do not place ice directly over the area, use a cloth and wrap ice in it and then place it on the area.
iii) Sleeping position: Change in sleeping position can also ease off the back pain. If you sleep on your side, try keeping a pillow between your legs to minimize back pain and if you sleep on your back, keep a pillow below your knees.
iv) Be active: Continuously staying in bed and being inactive can worsen the upper back pain. People who remain active are likely to recover early and more quickly. You can start walking around to nearby places to remain active.
Long term back pain: If you are having chronic back pain lasting for more than six weeks, following ways should be adopted.
i) Exercise: Exercise sessions should include strengthening of muscles and improving postures and aerobic as well as stretching exercises.
ii) Chiropractic: Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to restore joint mobility. They manually apply force on the joints that have become restricted by muscle injury, pain and inflammation. Manipulation is believed to lessen the pain and tightens the muscles and encourages healing.
iii) Acupuncture: It is an ancient Chinese treatment where fine needles are inserted at different points in the body. Acupuncture has proved in reducing upper back pain. Acupuncture includes 10 sessions spread over 12 weeks.