Your upper back is also called your thoracic spine, it is the part of your back where the ribs attach to the spine. Upper back pain is described as pain between your neck and your low back. 

How does it occur 

Upper back pain may occur from a twisting motion, poor posture, overuse or another specific injury. It is common for someone to injure their upper back when carrying objects, throwing, bending or twisting. Sitting at a desk for a prolonged period can cause upper back muscles to tighten and become stiff and uncomfortable. Upper back pain can occur after vigorous coughing or sneezing however other nonmusculoskeletal causes of upper back pain can also cause upper back pain and review with your GP may be appropriate.  


  • Pain in the upper back 
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Pain when you take a deep breath 
  • Pain when you move your spine or it is touched 
  • Pain when you move your neck and shoulders forward 

As described, upper back pain can be caused by nonmuscle, ligament and joint problems. If you have any additional symptoms or the pain started without an obvious cause it would be advisable to seek a medical assessment to rule out another cause.