The human back is designed to give us strength, and it protects our spinal column and nerves. The upper back, also called the thoracic back, provides stability and is less mobile than the lower back. Because of this, lower back pain is more common. However, upper back pain still causes a significant amount of discomfort that may inhibit everyday living. Upper back pain is not a disorder, however it may be a symptom of other underlying conditions.

A person may experience upper back pain in a number of different ways. This pain may occur when:

  • you take a deep breath
  • during movement
  • when your back is touched
  • when the neck is bent forward or the shoulders are moved

The pain may also be dull, burning or sharp. Other symptoms include muscle spasms, stiffness, and in rare cases numbness or tingling in other parts of the body.