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Dignity Health: Expert Diagnosis & Care for Upper Back Pain

If you feel discomfort or tightness in the area between your shoulder blades, you might be experiencing upper back pain. This common condition can be short lived or long lasting, and your pain can be mild, severe, or constant. Upper back pain is less common than lower back pain.

Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who can diagnose you properly and provide the right treatment plan for your upper back pain in Arizona. Our team of orthopedists are board certified and dedicated to helping you live a life free of upper back pain and other spine conditions.


Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can strike anywhere between the base of your skull to your ribcage. It may start slowly or come on very quickly. Symptoms include pain that can be sharp, stabbing, dull, achy, or cramping. Upper back pain can sometimes be severe and limit your mobility.


What Causes Upper Back Pain?

Pain from a sprain or strain is a typical cause of upper back pain. This may occur if you suddenly change positions during sports or a strenuous activity. Such pain usually goes away within a few days.

Other causes of upper back pain involve the spine. They include:

  • Spinal arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Herniated, degenerated, ruptured, or torn discs
  • Osteoporosis (thinning bones)

Serious medical conditions can cause pain that spreads to your back. Examples are heart attack, aortic aneurysm, pneumothorax (c)ollapsed lung, or compression a vertebrae. 

Call 911 immediately for emergency medical help if you have upper back pain with:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea


How We Treat Upper Back Pain in Arizona

Options for treatment and prevention depend on the cause of upper back pain, your risk factors, and medical history. Dignity Health’s goal is to relieve your pain and treat the underlying cause.

Treatment recommendations may include:

  • Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Stretching
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Massage

If you have constant or severe upper back pain, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers, physical therapy, or a back brace. A back brace, along with exercises to strengthen the back muscles, can help prevent future problems. Surgery is usually a last option. If necessary, our expert team orthopedic specialists will use the latest advanced technology, imaging, and computer-guided surgical equipment to treat your upper back pain and help you enjoy your daily life with less discomfort.

The professionals at Dignity Health are skilled in treating upper back pain in Arizona.