Back pain that occurs on the right side, below the neck yet above the lower back is defined as upper right back pain, or upper back chest pain and usually takes place where the ribs attach to the spinal column. If you are experiencing pain in this area there may be damage to the ligaments or muscles and generally this pain develops from injury or muscle strain. However, right back chest pain may have other causes such as an infection. Some patients who complain of upper right back chest pain may have another type of infection known as pleurisy, a condition of inflammation of the membrane that surrounds and protects the lungs (the pleura). Sharp chest pains are the primary symptom of pleurisy.
The main symptom with upper right back pain is a dull aching pain that is localized to the specific region of the back. The patient can also experience occasional muscle spasms, which most chiropractors and physicians consider abnormal, and are not extremely painful but can become more painful if they occur close to the spinal column. Additionally, when the sufferer is breathing deeply or when the region afflicted is touched, pain can occur. There is also difficulty in mobility when moving the neck and shoulders.
In cases of muscle strain, as a result of exercise or on the job heavy lifting, the general diagnosis includes providing a medical history and an examination of the upper back. Ice packs and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended, and usually this is the first line of defense in the early stages of upper back pain, whether it is on the left side of the back or the right side of the back. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed, but the best thing a patient can do is simply refrain from any physical activity that may have caused the pain in the right upper back or chest to ensure that the symptoms do not become worse. The patient should also be aware that there are exercises that can be done to stretch the muscles and ligaments before any physical activity. Even the worker who has a job where there is much heavy lifting, twisting and/or bending is advised to try to ‘stretch out’ before the work day starts in an effort to prepare for a heavy lifting session.
Treatment such as ice packs and over the counter medication is considered conservative treatment, while other methods such as surgery are used in severe cases of upper back chest pain. Very few cases of upper back chest pain will require surgery and the pain must be considered chronic before surgery would even be considered.
Pain can be avoided by maintaining a proper weight by diet and exercise. Refraining from activity that creates repetitive stress on the right upper back and chest should be avoided. Always use proper posture and in some cases protective supports or braces can be used to help the prevention of an injury that may take weeks to heal.