Upper Back & Chest

Upper Back & Chest Pain is most often caused by:
Traumatic incident(i.e. landing from height, football tackle).
Without trauma (repetitious work, poor posture, muscle imbalance, genetic diseases).

Upper Back / Chest pain is usually caused from one of the following:

  • Ligament Sprain (costovertebral)
  • Nerve Irritation / Referred Pain (Intercostal, Thoracic Nerve Roots, Ganglion, Neck)
  • Boney degeneration of the Hip or Lower Back (cartilage damage, bone degeneration, arthritis)
  • Joint Sprain / Stiffness (facet)
  • Poor Back Bio-mechanics (flat feet, immobile joints of the foot/ankle/knee/hip)
  • Muscle Tears/Spasm (Muscular- intercostal, abdominals, obliques)
  • Facet Impingement
  • Thoracic Disc Bulge / T4 Syndrome
  • Fracture (Rib, Sternum, Clavicle) / cartilage damage
  • Dislocation of Costovertebral, Costochondral (sternocostal) joints
  • Postural Syndrome (poor posture)
  • Scheuermanns Disease (growth abnormality)

thoracic cage

If your upper back or chest hurts, don’t ignore it. Physiotherapists are well trained to give an accurate diagnosis and treatment the problem. We can refer for MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound or blood test as required. We are able to provide a proven, safe and effective treatment.

Physiotherapy Aims
1) Treat the pain and other symptoms
2) Help identify the causes to prevent recurrence
3) Provide self-management strategies

Treatment: Strong Evidence in Literature
1) Specific middle, upper & lower back strengthening and general exercise programs (core stabilisation, pilates)
2) Mobilisation, Manipulation and Hands On Therapy
(Manipulation is traumatic and should only be used for certain conditions)

3) Acupuncture / Dry Needling
4) Electrotherapy (TENS)

Treatment: Others
1) Postural Modification (seat supports, taping, postural bracing, body awareness exercises)
2) Hydrotherapy (great supportive environment)
3) Supportive Taping / Bracing
4) Use of Gels, Creams, Hot & Cold

Upper Back & Chest pain is very individual due to the large number of structures and factors that contribute to your condition. What works for others may not work for you and you will have to trial various treatments under the guidance of your Physiotherapist to find what works for your particular condition.