Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can become a barrier to you living the life you want to live. It can be incredibly painful around the spine as well as causing other symptoms such as headaches and reduced mobility. It’s often difficult to pinpoint a specific cause to upper back pain, so is characterised as ‘acute non-specific’ upper back pain. In contrast, a ‘specific upper back pain has a known cause, such as carrying something that was too heavy or whiplash from an accident.


So what has caused my back pain?

This is precisely what your assessment uncovers. If there’s a specific cause, it may be something like:

  • – Impact trauma (vehicle accident or impact from sports)
  • – Lifting a particular object that was too heavy without a correct lifting technique
  • – Osteoporosis
  • – An infection


Most people will fall into the category of non-specific back pain. This means a variety of factors may contribute, including:

  • – Poor sitting posture
  • – Daily overuse (repetitively lifting heavy loads or working above your head, like when stacking shelves, for an extended time)
  • – Muscle and tendon strains
  • – Smoking
  • – Obesity
  • – Other lifestyle factors


It’s very important to note that when we assess your upper back pain, the first priority is to exclude the serious causes of upper back pain that can have significant consequences. Once we exclude these and any other specific causes, we start musculoskeletal treatment for the non-specific causes. Don’t worry – we have very specific and proven treatments, despite the cause being labelled as ‘non-specific’.