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Chest and Upper Back Pains? Possible Causes and Therapy Options

relieve upper back pain Know more about possible upper back pain causes and treatment

Only the doctor can determine the cause of pain in the thoracic spine, having examined the patient. It is impossible to determine the diagnosis independently, since the symptoms of many pathologies are similar. Sometimes the pain is caused by sprains or muscle cramps, but often they are caused by diseases of the spine, as well as the heart and lungs. For successful treatment, it is necessary, as soon as possible, to identify the ailment and begin appropriate therapy. 


With pathologies of the spine, the pain is both aching and  acute. It can be present constantly, weaken or intensify with certain movements. In addition to pain, other symptoms sometimes appear. For example, a decrease in mobility, a crunch during movements, the spread of pain in other parts of the body and a decrease in sensitivity.

 The causes of back pain can be:

  • spinal injuries;
  • joint injuries;
  • soft tissue damage;
  • protrusion;
  • herniated discs;
  • scoliosis  and kyphosis;
  • osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine ;
  • joint diseases;
  • sciatica and other diseases.

Spinal injuries usually cause severe pain and require immediate medical attention. However, the cause of this symptom may be old injuries that occurred many years ago. They could provoke the formation of muscle blocks and clamps, as a result of which other muscles, taking on a compensatory function, ended up in hypertonicity. Over time, this becomes the cause of muscle pain, pinching of nerves and other complications.

The same applies to joint injuries. They can also provoke severe pain after a lot of time. Damage itself may be minor and cause slight discomfort, however, without timely treatment and with continued load, the condition may gradually worsen.

With damage to the soft tissues – muscles, ligaments and tendons, the pain is most often permanent. Most often it is aching, not sharp.

In diseases such as protrusion and herniation of the intervertebral disc, the pain can also be aching for a long time. It can also intensify during movements and become acute with the development of complications, for example, pinched nerves.

Symptoms of radiculitis are more pronounced. It is characterized by a sharp and acute pain syndrome, as well as a significant limitation of mobility. However, in this department it develops rather rarely.

Other pathologies can also cause chest pain. For instance:

  • respiratory system organs (bronchitis and pneumonia);
  • heart and blood vessels;
  • nervous system (in particular intercostal neuralgia).


Treatment of diseases of the spine and joints should be comprehensive. If you eliminate the symptoms, but do not treat the underlying disease, it can worsen and soon lead to a new exacerbation.

First, if the  back in the thoracic region hurts  very badly, intensive care methods are used to quickly relieve acute symptoms. In this case, the patient can undergo therapeutic blockades – injections of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs in the center of localization of the pathological process. They provide an almost instantaneous reduction in pain.

During the first examination of the patient, the doctor also recognizes his complaints and examines the medical history. In some cases, obtained in this way, there is enough data to make a diagnosis.

The follow-up therapy program is compiled individually by the doctor, taking into account the main diagnosis, concomitant pathologies and other factors.

The treatment of protrusions, hernias of the intervertebral discs and scoliosis of 1-2 degrees in most cases is carried out by conservative methods and does not require surgical intervention.

Treatment of radiculitis should include therapy not only for this syndrome, but also for the underlying ailment. Radiculopathy does not develop independently, but in the presence of another pathology of the spine.

Thoracic osteochondrosis  also needs to be treated non-symptomatically. Thanks to the right approach, it is possible to reduce the severity of pain and to restore the structure and functionality of the spine.

For the treatment of diseases of the spine and joints, apply:

  • medications;
  • massotherapy;
  • spinal correction;
  • physiotherapeutic procedures;
  • medical gymnastics.  

Each technique has its own mechanism of action and ensures the achievement of a specific result. The best effect is achieved with complex treatment, when the effect on all links of the pathological process is provided.

Sometimes, after the end of the main treatment, the patient may need to undergo a rehabilitation course. Its goal may be to eliminate residual neurological symptoms and restore normal mobility of the spine and joints.  

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