Upper Left Side Back Pain

upper left back pain

Upper back pain is a popular complaint encountered by most chiropractors. Back pain is often categorized as upper left back pain when it occurs on the left side of your back extending from the end of the rib cage to your neck. Parts of your body that make up the upper left back area include the left shoulder area, left side of the neck, area behind the ribs and chest on the left side and the shoulder blades.

The reasons behind your upper back left side paining are numerous with the most common being musculoskeletal issues. The pain comes in various forms which are sharp, dull sudden and chronic. The pain can also be general or happen in a specific area.

Causes of Upper Left Back Pain

Some of the most popular causes of upper back pain include:


The types of injuries that can cause you pain in your upper back are.

  1. Fractured spinal vertebra, bones, and ribs especially the ones that on the left side of your body.
  2. Torn ligaments and muscles or damaged soft tissues that are located on the left shoulder joint, left the side of the neck and the middle and upper back.
  3. Sports injuries affecting your upper back.
  4. Abrasions, wounds or cuts that have occurred on your upper left back.

Musculoskeletal Issues

Some of the conditions or activities that lead to musculoskeletal issues consequently leading to back pain are:

  • Keeping your body in strained position for long periods of time.
  • Moving your body in ways that strain the muscles.
  • Overuse of particular muscles and overstretching.
  • Straining and pulling of the upper left back muscles as a result of lifting heavy objects.
  • Spine disorders which include damage to the disc, nerves compression and intervertebral disc protrusion.
  • Pain related conditions such as myofascial and fibromyalgia that cause pain in certain muscle groups.
  • Certain joint disorders and conditions that affect the ribs such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Nerve Conditions

  • Examples of nerve conditions that lead to back pain include
  • Pinched nerve that often results from spinal issues
  • Nerve infections such as shingles
  • Stroke that affects the nerves of the left upper back

Other Causes of pain in the upper left back

  • Lung infections and respiratory issues that are often coupled up with coughing.
  • Skin conditions that cause itching and a burning sensation.
  • Gastrointestinal conditions such as pancreatitis, bloating, indigestion, and complication of peptic ulcers. More often than not these gastrointestinal issues are often accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and burning in stomach.
  • Issues of the urinary tract for example kidney stones.
  • Cardiac issues such as heart attacks that often lead to chest pain that extends to the upper back.

Upper Left Back Pain Symptoms

In most cases, pain in your upper left back is itself a symptom of other underlying issues. In certain circumstances, the pain is accompanied by you having a hard time moving the arms, shoulders, and back. The pain often escalates when you cough, breathe or make any sudden movements. Pain whose cause is nerve conditions is often accompanied by tingling and numbness in the arms.

Diagnosis of Upper Left Back Pain

Chiropractors rely on physical examinations and history taking to diagnose pain in the left upper back. Any injuries occurred in the recent past or a long time ago are taken into consideration. To rule out infections as a source of your pain, the chiropractor will check your temperature to detect any fever. He or she will also conduct blood investigations to ascertain the same. In the case of trying to establish whether it is tissue, ligament, muscle or bone damage that is causing you back pain the chiropractor will conduct X-rays, MRI’s and bone scans. Lastly, just to be thorough he or she will conduct cardiac related investigations such as ECG to arrest any issues that may be present.

Treatment of Pain in the Upper left Back

The treatment of pain the upper left back is often treated based on the cause of the pain. The most common form of treatment is the RICE formula (Rest, ice, compression, and elevation), which often deals with pain resulting from ligament strains, fractures, and injuries. Other options include non – inflammatory medicines, hot and cold compresses, and pain killers. In the case that the condition is serious surgery may be administered.


Pain on the upper left side of your back should not be a cause of concern for you as it is often easy to deal with especially with the help of chiropractors. All you need to do is follow their advice, and your pain will disappear in a short period. The secret to relieving pain in your back in a short period is to remain active unless advised otherwise by your chiropractor.

Upper Right Side Back Pain