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Cure Burning Upper Back Pain

When you have burning upper back pain there are three common possibilities to consider:

  • Muscle pain from a back injury or poor posture.
  • Shingles, neuropathy, and other diseases of the nerves.
  • Infections of the skin or muscles.


Other possibilities would include pleurisy, cardiac pain, and pain from gastro-esophageal reflux disease which are discussed in my article about Burning Back Pain.  

Less common but more serious considerations must include back pain that is caused by lung cancer, herpes zoster, or a vertebral fracture. You can read more about these conditions at Lung Cancer And Back Pain and Back And Abdominal Pain.

Pain In Upper Back Left & Right Side

Some of the more common causes of burning upper back pain would include poor posture and repetitive strain types of injuries. These are often seen in people who work in a stressful environment and sit at a desk or other restricted surroundings for long hours at a time.

Fortunately, this type of pain can often be relieved with simple exercises, taking mini-breaks, and organizing your work station.

"determine what may be causing your pain"

When trying to determine an appropriate back pain treatment and what may be causing your burning back pain, begin by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • How long have I had the pain?
  • When did it start?
  • What was I doing when it started?
  • Did it begin suddenly or gradually?
  • Have I ever had this before?
  • What made it better last time?
  • What activities make it better?
  • Does it get better when I rest?
  • What activities make it worse?
  • Do certain movements make it worse?

Next you can have a friend help you or use a mirror to examine your back and posture.

Image thanks to Mikael Haggstrom via Wikimedia Commons

Take a close look at the skin:

  • Are there any areas of redness, 
    or changes in the texture of the skin?
  • Are there any obvious muscle spasms 
    or areas of tenderness?

How is your posture when you are standing up?

  • Is your head straight above your shoulders? 
    Or out in front of your shoulders?
  • Are your shoulders straight above your hips? 
  • Or are you hunched forward with your 
    shoulders out in front of your hips?

"The most common cause"

The most common cause of burning upper back pain is muscle pain. This may be from a back injury such as a muscle strain, or muscle pain from poor posture.

Fortunately the most common cause is also the most benign, and can be effectively treated with conservative treatments like exercise, postural correction, and gentle stretching.

"it will probably resolve with a few days rest"

If your pain began suddenly after a long day of working in the yard, it will probably resolve with a few days rest and over the counter pain medication. Sometimes excess activity can cause myofascial trigger points in the upper back muscles.

Trigger points are areas of spasm like activity in small distinct areas of a larger muscle. These can be very painful and tender, and difficult to treat. They can develop into a very localized, self sustaining cycle of pain that may last for months.

Quicker back pain relief of your burning upper back pain is often possible with deep tissue massage, or injection with some combination of steroids and local anesthetic. Physical therapists will often use ultrasound treatments in conjunction with massage.

"more difficult to cure"

Postural problems causing burning upper back pain are more difficult to cure and respond slower to standard back pain treatments. You can begin to help yourself by checking the position of your body periodically through the day.

Do you spend time hunched over a keyboard, squinting at a monitor that is too low? Does your yard require a lot of maintenance? Do you spend endless hours bent over pulling weeds or planting flowers?


Learn More: 
Cure Burning Upper Back Pain
Ch2 Make Simple Ergonomic Changes

Maybe these will also help:

Burning Back Pain

Lower Back Pain and Fever

Your Lungs and Back Pain

Back and Abdominal Pain

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Return from Burning Upper Back Pain to Causes of Back Pain

Return to Living with Back Pain


Discover our Very Popular Newsletter "Yes You Can"   

Check our "Back Issues" and see what you have been missing