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Alleviating Upper Back Pain: Effective Strategies for Relief

May 09, 2024 | 3 min read

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Upper back pain can result from poor posture, muscle strain, or pregnancy-related changes. Understanding how to relieve upper back pain is important for improving daily comfort and maintaining long-term health.


How to Relieve Burning Pain in Upper Back?

To effectively manage upper back pain, it’s essential to incorporate several strategies into your daily routine. 

  • Maintaining good posture is crucial; ensure you sit and stand upright with balanced weight distribution. 
  • An ergonomic workspace setup can also significantly reduce strain on your upper back—adjust your chair to support your spine’s natural curve and keep your computer monitor at eye level to avoid bending your neck.
  • Engaging in regular stretching and strengthening exercises can alleviate and prevent pain. For example, performing movements like the Cat-Cow or Child’s Pose can loosen up tight muscles, while exercises like planks or rows strengthen the muscles that support your upper back.
  • Alternating between heat and cold therapy can also provide relief. Applying cold packs can reduce inflammation during acute pain episodes, while heating pads can relax and soothe stiff muscles.
  • Massage therapy, whether self-administered using tools like a foam roller or provided by a professional, can be very effective in easing pain. 
  • Over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs are useful for managing pain and inflammation but should be used as directed to avoid side effects.

Additionally, lifestyle adjustments such as maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking can have a positive impact on your back health. Staying active is vital; try to avoid prolonged periods of inactivity, as they can lead to muscle stiffness and increased pain.

By integrating these approaches, you can significantly improve your upper back pain and enhance your overall spine health. If symptoms continue, it’s important to seek further evaluation from a healthcare provider to rule out more serious conditions.

How to Relieve Upper Left-Side Back Pain?

Upper left-side back pain can result from muscle strain, poor posture, or more serious conditions like a herniated disc or kidney issues. Identifying the likely source is key to determining the best course of action.

To relieve upper left-side back pain, consider the following approaches:

  • Gentle Movement: Avoid sudden, jerky motions that could exacerbate the pain. Instead, use gentle stretches that specifically target the muscles in the upper back to improve mobility and reduce stiffness.
  • Heat and Cold Application: Cold packs can help numb the affected area and reduce inflammation, especially if the pain is recent. Heating pads or warm compresses can relax the muscles and increase blood flow if the pain is more chronic.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can help alleviate pain by reducing stress, which often aggravates muscle tension.
  • Massage Therapy: Gentle self-massage or professional massage therapy can release knots and improve blood circulation in the upper left back.
  • Medication: Non-prescription pain relievers like NSAIDs can provide short-term relief from pain and inflammation.

How to Relieve Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Upper back pain is a common issue during pregnancy due to changes in body mechanics and posture as well as hormonal shifts. According to CDC statistics, women (40.6%) are more likely to experience back pain than men (37.2%). 

Pregnancy further increases this likelihood because of the additional weight and shifting center of gravity. To alleviate discomfort during pregnancy:

  • Posture Awareness: Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity forward, causing postural changes. Stand and sit up straight, with shoulders back and chest lifted. Use a chair with good back support or a cushion to maintain alignment.
  • Prenatal Exercises: Gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or swimming strengthen the back and core muscles. Exercises like Cat-Cow and seated stretches can improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
  • Supportive Gear: Wear supportive footwear to improve stability and consider using a maternity belt to help distribute weight evenly.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Alternating between warm compresses and cold packs can provide relief by reducing inflammation and easing muscle tension.
  • Sleep Support: Sleep on your side with a supportive pillow between your knees to align the spine. A pregnancy pillow can also support your belly and reduce pressure on the back.
  • Massage Therapy: A prenatal massage by a licensed therapist can reduce muscle tightness and improve circulation. You can also gently massage the upper back using tennis balls or foam rollers.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and eating foods rich in calcium and magnesium can support muscle health and minimize cramps.
  • Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Before starting any new exercise or treatment, check with your doctor. They can provide tailored advice and suggest physical therapy if necessary.

How to Relieve Upper Back Pain from Coughing?

Coughing can strain the muscles in your upper back, causing pain.

To relieve this pain, rest and apply a warm compress to soothe the muscles.

Gently stretch your back by rolling your shoulders or performing the "child's pose." Maintaining good posture while coughing can also help reduce strain.

If pain persists, consult a healthcare provider to address the cough itself and prevent further discomfort.

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