If you have been sitting for long hours in front of the computer, typing your way through a report, or if you have been bending over a sheet of paper as you sketch or write, you would know how painful a back pain is. But there are more causes of back pain other than simple posture. In women alone, there are quite a number of causes that can be attributed to back pain. Furthermore, there are different reasons depending on the part of the back that is affected. So, what causes upper back pain in women?
Upper back pain
Back pain is the pain felt in the back. Everything from muscle pain, nerves, joints, bones, and other structures in the spine can be attributed to back pain. Back pain, also called dorsalgia, can be further categorized depending on the area or region of the back where the pain is felt. One is upper back pain.
Upper back pain is the pain or discomfort in the upper area of the back. The area includes the back side of the upper abdominal area, the thoracic (chest) area, the shoulder blades and the where the rib cage connects to the thoracic spine. The upper back is also known as the thoracic spine or the middle back.
Causes of upper back pain in women
The most common cause of upper back pain is due to poor posture or strain over time. In recent years, more and more people complain of back pain when they work at computers for long hours of the day. And often, this upper back pain is accompanied by neck pain and/or shoulder pain.
Majority of the upper back pain cases are due to one or both of the two causes:
• Muscular irritation. This is also referred to as myofascial pain. This is when the large muscles attaching the shoulder girdle to the scapula and the thoracic ribcage are strained, overused, or de-conditioned. Muscle strains, accidents, sports, and other injuries can all result to muscular irritation, leading to upper back pain.
• Joint dysfunction. This is when there is a dysfunction in the joints connecting the ribs with the vertebrae in the thoracic spine. The dysfunction can lead to upper back pain.
Other causes of upper back pain are less common to occur. Take for example, herniated discs. Only about 1% of disc herniations occur in the thoracic spine. Rarely is the upper back affected by the disc diseases like herniated disc and degenerated disc. Significant impact or trauma to the spine can also lead to a fracture in the vertebrae.
Upper back pain may also be caused by arthritis. It is true that most arthritis occur in the knees and other joints. But it can also cause upper back pain as arthritis is any inflammation of the joints and the spine is composed of a number of vertebrae attached at joints.
Osteoporosis is another possible cause of upper back pain. Osteoporosis is when the bones lose density or when there is a degeneration of the bone tissues. The loss of bone density could lead to serious problems and poor structural stability. There are two type of osteoporosis. Type I usually develops in postmenopausal women. Type II is more common and affects both men and women. As people age, calcium and phosphate is depleted as these minerals are absorbed back into the body. And this lowers the bone density. Upper back pain is one of the symptoms of this disease.
Pregnancy is another cause of back pain in women. It usually just affects the lower back but the pain may spread to the upper area. During pregnancy, there are a lot of changes going on. The uterus expands and the added weight of the baby puts your muscles into more work and stresses your joints further. The hormonal changes also affect your joints and ligaments. Also, during labor, you may use muscles that you don’t normally use and you only feel the pain after giving birth.
Below are more causes of upper back pain:
• Fibromyalgia. This is a common disease characterized by muscle aches and muscle stiffness. This can cause the inflammation of the connective tissue of the upper back and can result to sever and chronic pain.
• Spinal stenosis. It is characterized by the pinching of nerves and tissues in the spinal column. Spinal stenosis is quite similar to herniated discs.
• Back spasms. These are generally a less serious cause of upper back pain. Spasms are abnormal and spontaneous contractions of the muscles in the upper back. Sometimes, back spasms are a response to other types of injury, such as muscle strain.
In order to treat back pain, it is important that you know the source and the cause of the pain. When you know what causes your back pain, it is easier to devise a treatment plan.