Cure Burning Upper Back Pain Ch 2
Simple Changes You Can Make

Relief or your burning upper back pain may be as simple as raising your monitor to eye level, getting your keyboard at an appropriate level, and hiring a teenager to help with the yard.






If your keyboarding skills are less than great, and you spend time bent forward looking at the keyboard, go online and find a free game that you can download to better your skills and improve your posture.

"hire a teenager"

There are many simple changes that you that you can make that will help relieve your burning upper back pain. But, you must analyze how you spend your time, and the position of your body during that time.

If you need more guidance on the available back pain treatments, a trained professional such as a physical therapist can teach you exercises for strengthening specific muscle groups, and correcting your posture.

"there is no magic at the physical therapy clinic"

Two to three visits per week may be required in the beginning, and then after you learn the exercises, you would need to be seen only every two or three weeks to learn more advanced exercises as you improve.

You need to remember, there is no magic at the physical therapy clinic. It is you doing the exercises that gets the job done. If you don't do the exercises, nothing will change.

"if your pain has a very strong burning/tingling quality"

Something else that must be considered, especially if your pain has a very strong burning/tingling quality, is herpes zoster. Also known as shingles, this nerve pain is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus can lie dormant in the nerve and then years later cause an outbreak of shingles.

Nerve pain symptoms often begin with a severe burning/tingling/aching/throbbing pain, with occasional sharp stabbing sensations. Initially the skin will appear normal, but over time a red vesicular blistering rash will develop.

"symptoms usually involve only one side of the body"

Eventually the blisters will crust over and fall off, and the rash will resolve. There may be residual scarring and discoloration after the rash heals.

The hallmark of herpes zoster is that the symptoms usually involve only one side of the body. The virus will effect only one specific dermatome, either on the left or the right side of the body. The rash and pain will wrap around the trunk and then stop abruptly at the midline, in the front on your chest and in the back.

"ongoing nerve pain in the same area"

After an outbreak of shingles you may also experience post herpetic neuralgia, which is ongoing nerve pain in the same area. This may cause burning upper back pain for months or sometimes even years and is very difficult to treat effectively.

Treatment for the back pain of herpes zoster begins with antiviral drugs such as, acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir. These are most effective if started within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. For pain control, gabapentin and over the counter analgesics may be adequate. When the skin is unbroken, topical preparations such as capsaicin or lidocaine can help. For severe back pain, your doctor may prescribe morphine or other strong pain medication.

"Once an infection has started it..."

Infections of the skin and muscles can cause burning upper back pain from irritation of the nerves. People in poor health and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections.

Infections can begin from the slightest scratch, when bacteria get into the scratch and begin to multiply. Once an infection has started it may spread to adjacent skin or muscles. You may have increased back pain and a fever. It may cause back pain with a burning sensation and tenderness with redness and swelling, the skin may weep a clear fluid or there may be draining pus.

"most effective at resolving your infection"

A healthy immune system will usually fight of minor infections, but once an infection is established it will require treatment with appropriate antibiotics. The longer treatment is delayed the greater the risk for permanent damage.

Your doctor may take a swab of the infection to send to the lab, and start you on a general antibiotic. The lab will grow some of the infection in a culture dish and then run tests to find the specific antibiotic that it is most susceptible to. Then your doctor can start you on that specific antibiotic which will be the most effective at resolving your infection.

"less common but more serious causes of upper back pain"

Most burning upper back pain is caused by chronic or acute muscle injury, diseases of the nerves, or infections of the skin or muscle.

Other less common but more serious causes of upper back pain that may have a burning sensation would be pain from your lungs, vertebral fractures, and aortic aneurysms. Vertebral fractures are discussed on my page about Back and Abdominal Pain.

"When the wall of the aorta develops a weak spot..."

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and it carries blood from the heart to the body. It lies just in front of the spine, where it is well protected. When the wall of the aorta develops a weak spot it can begin to balloon out and cause pain that radiates to the back.

This is very dangerous because if the aorta ruptures you can bleed to death within a few minutes. When people are having back pain caused by their aorta, it usually begins suddenly and they describe severe pain with a burning tearing sensation in their back. This requires immediate treatment, an ambulance should be called.

"you must get in to see a medical professional"

If conservative treatments fail to resolve, or at least improve your burning upper back pain, you must get in to see a back pain specialist for a more complete evaluation. 

They will review your medical history, perform a complete physical examination, and order the appropriate tests to rule out rare but serious conditions such as lung cancer, aortic aneurysm, and vertebral fractures. With all of these, early detection is the key to successful treatment.

As long as your burning upper back pain is improving with conservative back pain treatments, you should be persistent and continue to do the exercises, over time your pain will resolve, and you can return to normal activities.

Learn More:
Return to Cure Burning Upper Back Pain Ch 1
Simple Exercises



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