My Back is killing me! Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain

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This is part two of a five part series on Back Pain. Click here to read part 1.

Upper, Middle or Lower back pain may originate from muscles, bones, nerves, joints or other parts of the spine. Upper back pain can occur anywhere from the base of the neck to the bottom of the ribcage

Upper and middle back pain isn’t as common as lower back or neck pain since the bones in the upper and middle back don’t move or flex as much as the bones in the neck and lower back.

The upper and middle back consists of:

  • 12 vertebrae: These are the bones that are stacked on top of each other making up the spine or back.
  • Discs: These separate each of the vertebrae and absorbs shocks during movement
  • Tendons, Ligaments and Muscles that hold the spine together.

Ligaments and Tendons are fibrous tissue that attach to bone. Ligaments connect two or more bones together and help stabilize joints whereas tendons attach muscle to bone.


Over stretching a muscle is referred to as a sprain while over stretching a ligament is called a strain.  Both can lead to back pain.


Lower Back Pain


Usually a specific cause cannot be found for people suffering from lower back pain. If the pain appears suddenly it’s usually a sign of muscle tear, sprained ligament or

disc problem. Lower back pain can be symptom of an underlying injury.


Causes of Back pain:

  • Poor Posture
  • Muscle overuse, strain or injury to tendons or ligaments and discs that support the spine.
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves due to herniated discs. When discs in the spine are damaged it may bulge or break open. This is knows as a herniated disc (also know as slipped or ruptured disc)
  • Osteoarthritis caused when the cartilage that cushions the spine breaks down.
  • Myofascial Pain is the pain associated with fasica or connective tissue.


In rare circumstances, medical conditions not related to the back such as gall bladder disease, kidney infections, stomach issues or cancer can also cause back pain.


Pain that is at is worst in the morning and eases with movement and stretching could indicate muscle injury. However if the pain is worst at night and isn’t relieved by exercise it might be a “referred” pain or pain caused by issues elsewhere and could maybe a bone problem.


This article is for information only.  Please seek medical advice if you notice any symptoms.


Next week more on Pregnancy related Back pain and Sciatica.

Content sourced from WebMD and photo courtesy Flickr


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