Upper back pain



Physical discomfort affecting the upper part of the back that may vary from a dull ache to serious pain.


Hot or cold packs may ease discomfort. Pain relievers available without a prescription often help back pain. Limited bed rest, followed by regular activities and gentle stretching exercises may help.

When to seek immediate medical care

Seek medical care immediately if the pain:

  • Happens after a car crash, bad fall or sports injury.
  • Causes new bowel or bladder control problems.
  • Occurs with a fever.

When to make a doctor's appointment

Make an appointment to see a health care professional if pain:

  • Persists or worsens.
  • Occurs with unintentional weight loss, nausea or both.
  • Limits the ability to work, sleep or perform daily activities.