Upper back pain, or pain between your shoulder blades, can be chronic (long lasting), or you may only notice it with activity. It can be mild or severe. In general, back pain is very common, but upper back pain is less common than lower back pain.
At Dignity Health Southern California, we want you to be able to feel healthy and enjoy life free of upper back pain. If you are experiencing upper back pain in Southern California, you can rely on the orthopedic specialists at Dignity Health for effective diagnosis and treatment options. Find a Doctor online to schedule a consultation about your back pain.
Diagnosing Upper Back Pain Causes
Upper back pain can be caused by spine conditions, including:
- Spinal arthritis
- Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
- Degenerated, ruptured, or herniated discs
More commonly, sprains or strains from awkward, sudden movements are what usually cause upper back pain. This kind of pain usually resolves within a few days.
Other medical conditions, such as a heart attack, can sometimes cause pain, radiating to the upper back. Seek medical attention if you have upper back pain with nausea, jaw pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, or sweating.
Upper Back Pain Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of upper back pain usually involve pain that is sharp, cramping, stabbing, dull, or achy. Upper back pain can sometimes be severe and limit your mobility. It can also develop gradually or come on quickly.
Your Options for Upper Back Pain Treatment at Dignity Health Southern California
Your doctor’s goal for your treatment is to relieve your pain and treat the underlying cause.Your specific treatment options for upper back pain will depend on the cause, as well as your risk factors and medical history.
Upper back pain often resolves on its own in a few weeks, but we recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines, stretching, hot and cold therapy, and massage to help your recovery.
For severe or persistent upper back pain, your doctor may prescribe:
Your care team at Dignity Health can use your symptoms and health history to diagnose your upper back pain, as well as find a treatment plan that helps you get back to your normal activities.
Dignity Health offers comprehensive treatment for upper back pain in Southern California.