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Your upper back is considered by most to be your thoracic spine, which runs from your neckline  into the lower part of your mid-back. Since your thoracic spine offers you lots of stability and protection (i.e. protecting your heart and lungs), it’s a special place in your back.

Reasons for Back Pain

      • muscle strain
      • joint dysfunction
      • poor posture
      • overuse
      • pressure from spinal nerves
      • osteoarthritis
      • harm or injury
      • myofascial pain

Please note: if you experience upper back pain combined with any of the following symptoms, you should consider the pain a serious problem and should seek a doctor’s advice immediately:

      • weakness in your arms or legs
      • numbness or tingling in your chest or arms
      • loss of bladder or bowel control


More often than not, your doctor won’t be able to find much if anything incorrect, though it never hurts to have some tests done only in case. When nothing are available as a source of your pain, most likely it is time to get the support of natural medicine, such as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture (a modality of TCM) does not require a traditional medical diagnosis to help alleviate your pain – you just clarify where the pain is coming from, and the practitioner will ask you some other questions and feel your heartbeat. Once they have attained a TCM diagnosis in this fashion, they will most likely choose some acupuncture points on your upper back where you are feeling pain, and perhaps also in other areas of your body to help fortify the treatment so you stay pain-free for longer. Some of those other points include ones on the top of your head, your hand or wrist, and your lower legs.

Acupuncture and Qi

You may now be wondering how these other points in your body are selected. Essentially, TCM diagnosis of upper back pain tends to concentrate on whether your inherent energy routine is one of deficiency or excess. Since TCM is a natural medicine and believes that everything that exists in the world also exists inside us, surplus patterns may consist of congestion generated from Cold, from Dampness, or from Qi (energy) and Blood stagnation (please be aware that some phrases are capitalized here to differentiate from the scientific definitions). Deficiency patterns generally grow from Qi and/or Blood deficiencies. Thus the acupuncture points selected in your body, besides the points on your upper back, are selected to assist either remove excess from the body in general, or to generally boost your vitality and/or nourish your blood.

More than likely, after an acupuncture treatment your TCM practitioner will want to also perform some Tui Na (Chinese Massage), as an adjunct to the acupuncture. A massage of the kind after an acupuncture session can help to additional move blockage from the local area. You will probably note that Tui Na is a bit different from a Swedish massage: its rule are based on exactly the same as those that define acupuncture and the rest of TCM.

Also Helpful

Next, if your pain is severe enough, your TCM practitioner may suggest some cupping, which includes the placement of (usually) plastic or glass cups in the local area. The cups will also help remove blockage, and will help rid your body of toxins also. Other modalities, like herbs, may be indicated but aren’t always necessary. Each people is unique, and thus each treatment by an experienced R.TCMP (Registered TCM Practitioner) is unique to an individual’s situation.