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Upper Back Pain during Pregnancy

Upper back pain is quite a common complaint although not as prevalent as lower back pain or neck pain. Pregnant women commonly complain of back pain which can be lumbar in origin or from the sacroiliac joints. Further information about upper back pain can be accessed at Wikipedia's upper back pain page and more general back pain information at NHS Choices.

Around three quarters of women suffer back pain during their pregnancy but this typically settles down after delivery of the baby.

Various ideas have been put forward for the appearance of spinal pain in this period, including the increasing weight causing postural alteration in the lumbar spine and knock on effects further up to the relaxation of ligaments by hormonal means later on in the pregnancy.

Due to the postural changes and perhaps reduced activity and more sitting, the neck may give problems and refer shoulder blade pain or upper back muscle pain. Middle back pain, lumbar back pain and sacroiliac pain can also occur.

Upper back pain symptoms do vary significantly from a troublesome ache when holding a position for too long to an annoying upper back pain between shoulder blades to a sharp pain on movement of an injured or painful joint.

Musculoskeletal pains are the most common presentation but many other medical conditions can refer pain to this area, such as lung pain, gall bladder pain and tumours of varying types. If the pain is not obviously musculoskeletal then medical advice should be sought.

Physiotherapists can help with these kinds of pain, especially those who specialise in women's health as they will be able to advise and treat a variety of problems in one person. Often patients ask why they have upper back pain left side and this is typically because the changes, stresses or injuries occurring in the spine rarely do so perfectly symmetrically, leading to one-sided pain.

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