Upper Back / Thoracic Spine Pain

Thoracic Spine

Upper Back/Thoracic spine pain

Upper back/Thoracic spine pain is one of the more common presentations we will see day to day. It affects people of all age ranges and sex however has been shown to be particularly prevalent in the child to adolescent range and a higher incidence in the female population. (Briggs et al, 2009)

What causes thoracic spine pain?

There are many factors which can contribute to the rise in thoracic spine pain. Some of these may growth and physical, psychological, environmental, lifestyle and social factors. Posture has also been noted as being a potential cause to the rise of pain. When presenting with thoracic spine pain to your osteopath all these factors will be taken into consideration to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. Some of the common diagnosis to your specific thoracic spine pain can be found in the links below.

Common Causes of Upper Back/Thoracic spine pain are:

Joint related:

  • Facet joint pain
  • Rib joint sprain/Costovertebral joint sprain
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)

Disc related:

  • Disc herniation
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Bone related:

Muscle related:

  • Whiplash
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  • Muscle strain/tear
  • Postural strain

Nerve/referred pain:

  • Nerve pain
  • Pinched nerve
  • Fibromyalgia



  • Shingles

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Briggs, A. M., Smith, A. J., Straker, L. M., & Bragge, P. (2009). Thoracic spine pain in the general population: prevalence, incidence and associated factors in children, adolescents and adults. A systematic review. BMC musculoskeletal disorders10, 77. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-77