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Upper back pain


Hot or cold packs may ease discomfort. Limited bed rest, followed by regular activities and gentle stretching exercises may help. Avoid sudden movements.

When to seek immediate medical care

See a doctor immediately if:

  • Sudden and severe
  • Caused by trauma, such as a car accident or sports injury
  • Fever
  • Pain begins with no explanation, especially if older than 55
  • Pain radiates from the midabdomen to the midback

When to make a doctor's appointment

Make an appointment to see a doctor if:

  • Pain persists or worsens
  • Swelling or redness
  • Unintentional weight loss, nausea, or both
  • Limits ability to work, sleep, or perform daily activities

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