Pain in the upper back is usually felt between the two shoulder blades. It may be diffused or piercing like a nail forced into your back. Occasionally the pain is described as a burning sensation. Often it is related to posture when standing, sitting, or doing home or office work.

Muscular irritation causing upper back pain may be due to lack of strength or injury caused by repetitive motions. Sports injuries, car accidents or other injuries can all result in pain from muscular irritation.

The ribs connect with each side of the spine by two joints and problems in these joints can result in upper back pain. Both of these types of upper back pain are amenable to osteopathic treatment.

What to Expect

We will discuss your medical history and examine you to determine whether the pain is a result of muscle irritation, a problem with the joints or an indication of something more serious such as heart disease.

We will look at the part of your spine from your neck to the bottom of your ribs, rib alignment and lower back alignment. We will check for any specific area that is very tender.

Depending on the underlying causes of the pain we may

  • Employ stretching, pressure and traction to the muscles of the spine to improve elasticity and motion.
  • Apply sustained pressure to tight muscles and connective tissue to restore motion and reduce pain.
  • Ask you to push repeatedly against a force applied by the osteopath to stretch and relax muscles.
  • Use movements to stretch connective tissue around a restricted joint to increase mobility.
  • Apply slow movements at the limit of the joint’s range of motion. Manipulate the joints using quick thrusts to move it beyond a restricted range of motion.

At the end of the session we will usually prescribe tailored exercises and stretches to reduce future pain.