Most of the time people tend to complain about pain in their lower back or their neck. That’s not to say that people don’t have their upper back affected - with studies showing that 10 percent of men and 20% of women can have ailments in that part. It can be tricky to pinpoint what the issue is since the mid and upper back both comprise the thoracic spine and it’s huge - 12 of the 24 vertebrae are in it. That’s a lot of ground to cover.
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There’s a network of muscles that are layered around each other - and the fascia is tissue that keeps these muscles from getting stuck to each other when you move. “Myofascial” is a clinical term that means pain from irritation of the muscles. This can be a problem spot for the upper back muscles since there are trigger points that can cause this. It can stem from poor posture, an injury, or from overuse. It can be fleeting, but it can also become chronic.
Treatment can depend on the situation, but oftentimes a chiropractor can help the most with Myofascial Release Therapy. The chiropractor might do manual therapy. Treatment may also involve exercises and physical modalities (heat, cold laser, electrical stimulation, ice). Some even use acupuncture or dry-needling. The main goal here is to release muscle tightness and ease the pain.
This is a pretty rare scenario given its location, but it can happen. The soft material in a disc leaks out and it can make you feel pain in your upper back along with numbness. It depends which disc is herniated since it can affect different nerves.
The chiropractor wants to reduce the pain while giving the body time to heal itself. They also want to mitigate any dysfunction. They can do adjustments, ergonomic training, physical modalities, distraction or traction, or they may have you do specific exercises.
If one sits back and thinks about it, the thoracic spine is amazing. There is such an intricate amount of layers of joints and muscles and they usually seamlessly interact with all kinds of motion patterns. There’s 220 (!) joints in this area - and if there’s any kind of dysfunction, it can throw things way off track for you. The chiropractor wants to get things back to the way they were. They can do that with
Baseball fans, especially Mets fans who live in Queens, including Howard Beach, might recognize this. It’s what derailed the career of budding superstar pitcher Matt Harvey. He went from being “The Dark Knight” to bouncing from team to team after this injury. Harvey had the nerves of his brachial plexus and blood vessels compressed… which resulted in numbness in his hands. Not a good situation when trying to pinpoint where a fastball should go.
While many can get chiropractic treatment that includes postural instruction and adjustments, Harvey had to undergo surgery to remove a rib. Most people don’t make a living violently throwing a baseball 90 miles an hour 100 times every five days, though. So conventional chiropractic treatment is best.
People can have upper back issues for other reasons like
Other reasons can include muscle overuse, a recent injury, spinal scoliosis, and fibromyalgia. Upper back pain can be very frustrating. Whatever the case, it’s best to see a doctor and have X-rays and other tests taken to definitively diagnose what the problem is before going to a chiropractor- who will then use those results to form the best plan of action. Then you can get on the road to recovery.
Dr. Robert Gucciardo has specialized in upper cervical issues for a long time. He can use his vast chiropractic knowledge to help you with your upper back issues. If you live in or near Howard Beach, give him a call at 718-550-5790.