Pulled Muscle in Upper Back

The back is a complex area with many bones, disks and muscles. The upper and middle back, called the thoracic spine, is made of 12 small bones (vertebrae) that form your backbone. The spine connects to ribs that wrap around your body and attach to the long, flat bone down the center of your chest (sternum).

A pulled muscle in the upper back can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage. Symptoms of a pull in this part of the back include pain that moves from one side to the other, muscle spasms, and tenderness.

Injuries to the upper back are common, especially if you’re active. Many people injure their backs by lifting something heavy while twisting or bending at the same time, by falling, or by participating in sports with bad technique. Poor posture also puts extra strain on the upper back and can lead to tight back muscles, causing pain and stiffness. Being overweight and being pregnant also make it harder for the upper back muscles to support your body weight.

Mild back strains and sprains are usually diagnosed by your doctor based on a medical history, symptoms and physical examination. Your doctor may order an X-ray or other imaging tests to determine the cause of your back pain and to rule out other conditions, such as a broken bone or a herniated disc. Treatment includes rest, applying ice and heat, exercise, changing shoes, taking medication, and avoiding activities that make your pain worse. pulled muscle in upper back

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