Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

Peer Reviewed

Upper Back PainMany cases of upper back pain are caused by muscle or soft tissue problems, such as sprain, strain, or tension. Many symptoms, then, relate to the muscles:

  • stiffness
  • spasm
  • pain
  • tightness
  • tenderness when the injured area is touched

Sometimes, you can also feel upper back pain when you take a deep breath because the vertebrae (the spinal bones) in your thoracic spine are connected to the ribs. Sneezing or coughing may also be painful.

With upper back pain (or mid-back pain), you may also have pain in your shoulders and neck (cervical spine). That's because all your muscles are connected, so if it's a muscle problem causing your upper back pain, the other muscles in your shoulders and neck can be affected.

Updated on: 09/01/15
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Upper Back Pain Causes
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
This article was reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD.
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Upper Back Pain Causes

Upper back pain can be caused by many different spinal problems, such as sprain or strain. Here are 10 potential causes of upper back pain.
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