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Upper and Middle Back Pain - Overview

How is it treated?

In most cases, people with mild to moderate back pain can manage their symptoms with:

But if your pain gets worse and you're having a hard time doing your daily activities, you may need to take a prescription pain medicine. Surgery is seldom used to treat upper and middle back pain.

How can you care for yourself at home?

There are several things you can do at home to help reduce your pain. For example:

  • Rest. If your back hurts a lot, take a break. But try not to let too much time pass before you get moving again. Instead, return to your activities slowly.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin). These can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Use a heating pad or ice pack. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Exercise. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders, and stomach can help improve your posture, decrease your chance of injury, and reduce pain.
  • Practice good posture. Be sure to stand or sit tall. Don't slump or slouch.
  • Learn ways to reduce stress. You might try deep breathing and relaxation exercises or meditation.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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