How to Relieve Upper Back Muscle Spasms

The strenuous and hectic work we go through affects us physically and mentally. Sitting in the wrong posture for hours can give rise to numerous physical problems. One of the most common problems we all face due to improper working postures is upper back spasms. It can also happen due to a fall or injury that we tend to ignore. Hence, if we do not take immediate action, the pain can become chronic and hamper our daily activities. Below is a description of the common causes of upper back spasms.

upper back spasms muscle spasm in upper back upper back spasm relief upper back spasms relief upper back spasms muscle spasms in upper back back spasms in upper back what causes upper back spasms upper back locked up upper back muscle cramps


What Causes Upper Back Spasms?

Upper back spasms are not due to one particular reason. Various causes are as follows:

Poor Posture:

If you are routinely sitting in the same position for long hours with a poor posture, then it is sure you are calling for a serious physical health issue. Most of us know the cause of upper back pain, but we still tend to ignore it due to work pressure. However, we must understand that ‘Health is Wealth’ and hence must take precautionary measures to avoid muscle spasms in the upper back. A poor posture can cause structural changes in your back and neck, weakening muscles. Thus, sitting with your head and shoulders hunching forward for a long time can affect the spine bones, discs, and ligaments. In due course, it gives rise to muscle spasms in the upper back.

Improper lifting:

A significant cause of back spasms in the upper back is an improper lifting of objects. You must be careful while lifting a heavy object as it affects your spine and causes tension in your upper back muscles. Lifting a heavy object that is too heavy for you can cause an injury to your upper back, causing pain.


Sometimes when you are doing some physical work for long hours without taking some rest, it can result in upper back muscle crampsYou may not be aware of the consequences, but finally, you will encounter an upper back spasm at the end of the day. It would be best to take preventive measures immediately; the back pain can become chronic, causing distress.


One of the most common causes of upper back spasms is an accident or collision with some heavy objects. You may not feel the pain then, but as the day progresses, the pain in your upper back will start showing up. The pain in your upper back can also happen by a sudden jerk or while playing a game. Hence, when the pain is mild, please do not ignore it as it can become serious gradually.


Sometimes the source of your back pain may not be due to the muscles, and it can also arise due to a problem with your bones and joints. It is more common in aged people because the cartilage protecting the bones starts to deteriorate. It is a sign of arthritis, and if you ignore it, you will find yourself bedridden permanently. Hence, you must see your doctor immediately to prevent further bone damage. If you diagnose it early, it can prevent you from unending back pain.

Myofascial pain:

When there are problems with the connective tissues of your back, it may lead to the fascia. The pain is unending and can be lifelong if you do not take an early medication. You will have to bear the pain throughout your life. Hence, it is advisable to seek early medicines as soon as possible. Physical therapy is the best solution for those suffering from the fascia and it can relieve the pain and ensure that you carry on with your daily activities.

Herniated Discs:

Though herniated discs are standard in the lower back, they can also cause pain in your upper back. It occurs when the discs on the spine degenerate and a little pressure on the spine can cause a lot of pain. Hence, getting medication as soon as possible is advisable to relieve the unending pain in your upper back. If you are suffering from herniated discs, you should stop all physical activities and rest completely. You can also take some anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain for the time being. However, before taking the medicines, you must get them prescribed by your doctor.

Symptoms of Upper Back Muscle Spasm

Following are the most common symptoms of upper back pain:

Sharp Pain:

The pain in the upper back can feel like a knife-like burning sensation. The pain is usually in one spot and does not spread over other body regions, and it causes a lot of discomfort and does not allow you to work smoothly.

General discomfort:

Sometimes you may not understand the exact spot of back pain as it spreads to other regions of your body, including the neck and shoulders.


The stiffness in your upper back pain can stop all movements of your body, and it can be either a sharp pain or a sore on your back. When there is stiffness in the upper back, it reduces the normal mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and joints.

Radiating pain:

Radiating pain can be excruciating as it gives an electric shock-like sensation when you try to move, and it forces you to stop all movements causing much pain and discomfort.

Helpful Tips to Get Upper Back Spasm Relief

When you experience upper back pain, it can become frustrating as it stops all your daily activities. You will not be able to move and work smoothly, causing extreme pain and discomfort. Following are some helpful tips that can give you upper back spasms relief:

Take rest at regular intervals:

While performing some work like sitting for long hours in one position at your office table or doing household chores, you may feel uncomfortable. During such times, it is advisable to rest for a while, and it is because resting will help the muscles to loosen up and release the tension. However, it would be best if you did not rest for too long as it can lead to more pain.

Ice and heat therapy:

If the pain in your upper back is swelling, the best therapy is to apply ice to the area. It reduces the swelling, and the pain will also disappear gradually. If the pain persists for longer, you can apply heat to your back. However, it is better to use heat application only after 48 hours. However, whether you are using ice or heat, you must limit the application to a maximum of twenty minutes.


Massage is an age-old tradition that can give instant pain relief. Therefore, when you are experiencing upper back pain, a quick massage can give you a temporary replacement for the time being. It helps to loosen the muscles that become tight after some strenuous work. It is beneficial when you are experiencing upper back muscle cramps. You can either self-massage or get the help of your family members to massage in the affected area.


There are various pain-relieving medicines that you can find over the counter at medical stores, and it reduces the inflammation in the body, causing comfort within some time. However, checking with your local physician is advisable as some medicines can have side effects.

How Can You Prevent Upper Back Muscle Pain?

We all face some risks in our daily life, primarily due to wrong posture or improper ways of lifting objects. However, if you can follow specific methods, it can prevent you from upper back spasms. Following are some easy but highly effective methods that you can follow:

Regular exercise:

Regular exercise and yoga can be beneficial, especially for those who spend most of their time in office work. Going for regular morning walks, stretching, and other simple exercises and yoga can prevent upper back pain, and it makes your muscles flexible and reduces the risk for pain. Therefore, it is advisable to start your regular exercise to get relief from pain.

Better posture:

It is common for most of us to sit in the wrong posture while at work. Due to the long work hours, sometimes we ignore the pain gradually building up. One of the best solutions during pain is to leave your work instantly and walk around for a while. However, practicing sitting in the correct posture can prevent you from searing upper back pain. You must also follow the proper procedure while lifting heavy objects. It is because if you try to lift a heavy object inappropriately, it is most likely that you will develop a muscle cramp. Therefore, if you want to perform a smooth flow of your daily activities, it is advisable to follow the correct posture.

Quick smoking:

People who smoke a lot can develop chronic pain in their upper back. It is because it leads to degeneration of spinal discs, causing discomfort and pain. One of the reasons for back pain is that nicotine restricts the smooth flow of blood in your body and blocks the flow of nutrients causing pain in your upper back.


Q1. What are the standard diagnostic tests for upper back pain?

Ans: If you are facing unending upper back pain, you must seek the help of a physician for proper medication. Some of the standard diagnostic tests that your doctor will ask you to do, depending upon your condition, are:

  • X-Ray
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • EMG
  • Blood test.

Q2. How can you prevent getting upper back pain?

Ans: Various ways can prevent you from getting upper back pain. You need to follow specific guidelines at work as well as at home.

  • Take regular exercise to relieve the tension of your muscles and make them flexible.
  • Stand and sit in the correct posture.
  • Relax for some time after continuous strenuous physical work.

Q3. When should I call the doctor for my upper back pain?

Ans: Usually, upper back pain occurs after you perform some physical work in the wrong posture. A simple message or a heat pack can reduce the pain. However, if you find the pain persists for days, it is time to fix an appointment with your doctor for immediate medication.


An upper back spasm is a common concern for many. Sometimes, it eases off quickly with a little bit of stretching and exercise. However, you must immediately contact your physician for urgent medication if the pain continues. Moreover, if you follow proper sitting and working posture, it can prevent severe back spasms.