Severe upper back pain can be a debilitating condition that affects every facet of life. When the muscles in the upper back, shoulders and neck spasm, they can cause pain. Some people develop severe migraine headaches that are collateral damage due to muscle tension and spasms in the upper back, shoulders and neck. Experiencing nausea or vomiting due to sever upper back pain in not uncommon. The nerves that go to the stomach and abdominal organs are located in the upper and mid spine. When these nerves are pinched or affected by pressure from muscle spasms, nausea or vomiting can occur.
Poor posture is a major cause of severe upper back pain. Hunching over a desk, computer or work station creates stress on the upper and middle spine. Letting your shoulders curl forward or tucking your head between your shoulders can cause severe upper back pain, neck pain and excruciating headaches. There are several exercises and stretches that can strengthen your core muscles, improving posture which will go a long way eliminating pain and discomfort.
It is important when sitting in one spot for any length of time that you maintain good posture. Keep back straight with shoulders back and down. Head should be seated between the shoulders with the chin parallel to the floor. If you wear glasses avoid tilting your head at an unnatural angle up or down, to see above or below your glasses. Learn to raise and lower your eyes. Make sure you are comfortable in your seat. Your legs shouldn’t be dangling or your knees higher than your waist. It sometimes helps to relieve pressure on the spine by putting one foot on a block or book that elevates one leg 1 to 2 inches higher than the other leg. You may need to place a small pillow or rolled towel behind your back to add extra support. Take 1-3 minute breaks every thirty to sixty minutes, to stretch and take some deep relaxing breaths. Taking frequent breaks will stop tension from building in the muscles of the back, shoulders and neck. It will also remind you to check your posture and find a more comfortable position if you notice any aches or pains.
A poor mattress or the wrong kind of pillow can also cause severe upper back pain. We sleep lying on a mattress for 6-10 hours a day. If you lie on a mattress that has outlived its usefulness and it does not provide the support you need, you can develop sever back pain. The wrong size pillow, usually a pillow that is too fluffy or full will put the head and neck at an unusual angle. This can throw the entire spine out of whack and create sever upper back pain. You should choose a pillow that supports the head without elevating it more than 2-3 inches above the mattress.
If you experience sudden, severe upper back pain, see a doctor immediately. Heart problems can manifest with severe upper back pain. Other medical conditions like acid reflux and certain gastrointestinal conditions can also cause severe upper back pain. Get checked out by a physician to rule out any serious medical conditions.