Back Pain in Upper Left Side: Causes and Relief Techniques

Feeling pain in your upper left back? Many others have felt this too. It can be from simple muscle pulls to more complex spinal issues. Know that both light, dull pain and sharp, severe pain need looking into. We should find what’s causing this and how to get some relief.

Why does your upper left back hurt? It might be from muscle strain, a hit to a rib, or spine issues. This pain could shift with your movements. Or it could stay the same, no matter what you do. If it’s not going away on its own, you may need to see a doctor.

Learning about what causes this pain is a great first step. Next, we look into ways to deal with it. This will help you keep your back healthy and free of pain. We’ll talk about what could be making your upper left back hurt, its signs, and how to get relief.

### Key Takeaways

  • Upper left back pain can come from many reasons. These include muscle strains, rib issues, and spine problems.
  • It might feel like a dull ache or a sharp stab. It could get better with rest or worse with movement.
  • Often, this pain gets better on its own. But if it keeps up, seeing a doctor is a good idea.
  • It’s important to understand what causes the pain and how to get some relief.
  • If the pain is bad, lasting for long, or comes with other issues, it’s wise to see a doctor.

Understanding the Back Structure

The back is like a puzzle made up of three parts. They are the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine. Each part from the neck to the lower back helps us move, stand, and protect our body.

The Cervical Spine

The neck is where the cervical spine is. It has seven vertebrae that support our head and let us move our neck easily. Sometimes, injuries in this part can cause upper left back pain if they affect the nerves.

The Thoracic Spine

Next is the thoracic spine in the middle of our back. It has twelve vertebrae that give stability to our spine. Still, things like scoliosis or osteoarthritis can make our upper left back ache.

The Lumbar Spine

The lower back has the lumbar spine with five vertebrae. It supports a lot of our weight. But, issues here, like herniated discs, can also cause upper left back pain sometimes.

Vertebrae and Discs

Between each vertebra, there are discs that act like springs. They help us move and protect our spine. If these discs or vertebrae have problems, we might feel upper left back pain.

Knowing how our back is built helps doctors find out why we have back pain. Then, they can make a plan to help us feel better.

Common Causes of Upper Left Back Pain

Upper left back pain has many causes needing different treatments. Knowing what might be causing it helps find the right relief.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is often a big cause. It happens from using your back too much, quick moves, or lifting things wrong. Strains make your back feel tender, stiff, and more painful when you move.

Herniated Disc

A bulging disc in your spine can press on nerves. This brings sharp, shooting pain from your upper left back to your arm. It can happen from getting older or sudden injuries.


Scoliosis makes your spine curve abnormally. It’s not too common, affecting only 3% of people. This curve might stress your back more and cause pain.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis means the spine’s canal is too narrow. It’s mostly from bone spurs or other growths pressing on nerves. This can cause upper left back pain.


Kyphosis makes your upper back curve forward too much. It can stress your back, leading to pain and stiffness. This often comes from bad posture or other health issues.

Vertebral Fracture

Fractures in your spine’s bones cause sudden, severe upper left back pain. This can happen in accidents or with weak bones, like in osteoporosis.

Poor Posture

Slouching a lot or lifting things wrong for long can hurt your upper back. It strains your back muscles and spine. This leads to pain.

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Getting older can bring on osteoarthritis in your spine. It’s a joint wear and tear that makes your back stiff, less flexible, and painful.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome makes certain muscle points very sensitive. This type of pain comes with tight muscles and less ability to move. It can also make your upper left back hurt.

Indirect Causes of Upper Left Back Pain

Upper left back pain isn’t always just about the back itself. It can come from issues with your organs too. For example, pancreatitis, kidney stones, and heart attacks can cause this pain.


When your pancreas is inflamed, it hurts a lot. You might feel it as a strong pain in your upper belly. This pain can then move to your back.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small but can cause big pain. They form in your kidneys and can hurt as they come out through your pee. This pain is often in your lower belly but can go up to your back too.

Heart Attack

Even a heart attack can show up as back pain. The chest pain can spread to your back, neck, and jaw. If you feel this pain, get help right away.

If your upper left back hurts a lot and won’t go away, talk to a doctor. They can help find out why and the best way to treat it.

Risk Factors for Upper Left Back Pain

Having pain in the upper left back might come from many reasons. But, some things make this pain more likely. Knowing about these can help you stop or deal with your back pain better.


Smoking is a big risk for upper left back pain. It slows the blood getting to your spine. This stops your body from healing fast. That can mean more and longer back pain.


Being too heavy can also hurt your upper left back. It puts more stress on your spine and back muscles. This can lead to pain. Eating right and moving a lot can keep your back healthy.

Lack of Physical Activity

Not moving enough can weaken your spine muscles. This makes your back easier to hurt. Doing things like lifting weights and stretching makes you stronger. It helps stop upper left back pain.


Getting older means more chances of upper left back pain. Things like scoliosis become more common. After 30 or 40, back pain gets more likely. Good posture and talking to a doctor help handle this risk.

Other Symptoms of back pain in upper left side

Experiencing upper left back pain comes with other symptoms. These signs are key in understanding the main issue. They can help you and your doctor find out the cause of your discomfort.

Upper Left Quadrant Pain Radiating to the Back

Pain starting in your upper left abdomen and moving to your back could mean a few things. It might show muscle strain, herniated disc, kidney stones, or pancreatitis. These issues often cause pain in these areas.

Pain Under the Shoulder Blade

Feeling pain below your left shoulder blade signals a few possible back problems. It could be due to muscle strain, myofascial pain syndrome, or spinal stenosis.

Pain While Breathing

Back pain getting worse when you breathe deep or cough has several possible causes. These include spine issues like scoliosis, or problems with your pancreas or lungs.

Pain After Eating

Notes to display:right Upper left back pain getting worse after eating could be pancreatitis. This means your pancreas is inflamed, causing pain that shoots to your back.

Arm Pain and Numbness

Left arm pain, and numbness could point to spinal problems or muscle issues. Sometimes, it’s even a sign of a heart attack, though this is rare.

Diagnosing Upper Left Back Pain

Your healthcare provider will start by talking about your medical history. They will also ask about your back pain. This helps them get clues about what’s causing your pain.

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Medical History Review

Your provider will want to know when your back pain started and how long it’s been happening. They’ll ask if the pain spreads, if you feel numb, or if you are weak. Also, they might ask about how active you are, any recent injuries, or past surgeries that could be important.

Physical Examination

Then, your provider will check you out physically. They will look for sore spots, tense muscles, and if your body moves well. They might push on your back or ask you to move in certain ways to learn more about your upper left back pain.

Diagnostic Tests

If needed, your provider might ask for extra tests like blood work or scans. These tests help look closer at your body. They can find out if there are any bigger issues causing your pain.

After reviewing your medical history, doing a physical examination, and running diagnostic tests, your provider makes a diagnosis. Then, they suggest a treatment plan to help with your upper left back pain.

Treatments for Upper Left Back Pain

Dealing with upper left back pain needs many kinds of help. You might use things at home or see a doctor. Changing how you live and using natural ways can help a lot, too.

Home Remedies

For not too bad back pain, try some things at home. Use pain medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to feel better. Cold or hot packs can make your muscles feel good and heal faster. Don’t forget simple exercises and stretching to keep moving without hurting more.

Medical Treatments

Really bad or long-lasting pain might need a doctor’s care. They could give you stronger pain or muscle pills, or drugs to fight swelling. Physical therapy makes your back and core muscles stronger and helps keep your back straight. Sometimes, you might need injections or surgery to fix the main problem causing the pain.

Lifestyle Changes

How you live can make a big difference in back pain. Sitting and standing straight helps a lot. So does lifting things carefully, keeping your back safe. Doing regular exercises that make your back and core strong can lessen the pain.

Natural Remedies

For some, natural ways to cure pain work well. Massages loosen tight muscles and make blood flow better. Acupuncture is another option. It uses needles in certain spots to help with pain. Also, things like meditation or yoga can reduce stress, which is good for your body and your mind.

Using a mix of these ways is often the best. It depends on what suits you and why your back hurts. With the help of experts and making some changes in your everyday life, you can feel better and manage your pain for the long run.

Prevention of Upper Left Back Pain

Stopping upper left back pain before it starts is key. You can do this by doing things that make your back healthier. This will lower your chances of feeling pain there.

Maintaining Good Posture

Sitting, standing, or doing things means you need to watch your posture. This is how you hold your body. Make sure to keep your shoulders back and head up. Never slouch or hunch, as it’s bad for your back.

Proper Lifting Techniques

When you lift heavy stuff, don’t just pick it up any way. This can hurt your back. Instead, use your legs to lift and keep your back straight. Also, don’t twist when you lift. These steps help keep you from getting hurt.

Regular Exercise

Working out often keeps your back strong. It’s best to do exercises that work on your core and back. Things like yoga and Pilates are good. They make you more flexible and stable. This lowers your risk of back pain.

Smoking Cessation

If you smoke, stopping can be good for your back. Smoking can mess with your blood flow. This slows healing and can cause lasting back problems. Stopping smoking helps your back recover and stay healthy.

back pain in upper left side: When to Seek Medical Attention

Minor upper left back pain is usually not a big worry. You can try home treatments and lifestyle changes. But if the pain is really bad, keeps going, or if you feel strange, see a doctor right away.

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If the pain came after you got hurt, you need a doctor now. They can check for things like strained muscles, a hurt disc, or a broken bone. Fixing these issues early can stop more pain later on.

Keep an eye on how bad and how long your upper left back pain lasts. If it doesn’t get better in a few days or it stops you from doing your normal things, it’s time to talk to a doctor. They can find out why you hurt and what will help you feel better.

Getting help for your upper left back pain is very important. If the pain won’t go away or you feel more than just the pain, see a doctor. Getting the right care can ease your pain and keep it from getting worse.


Upper left back pain can be caused by many things. This can include muscle strain or serious issues. Knowing what these are helps you deal with this kind of pain. You can use home treatments, see a doctor, make lifestyle changes, and take steps to prevent it. This can make you feel better and keep your back healthy.

If you have strong pain or warning signs like numbness, get help from a doctor. This is crucial to find the right treatment. Don’t ignore lasting or strong upper back pain. It could get worse if not handled quickly.

Learning about good posture, how to lift right, and regular exercise can stop this pain. Doing these things can help you stay healthy and free of pain. By being active and getting help when needed, you can handle this common pain and live better.


What are the common causes of upper left back pain?

Many things can cause pain on your upper left back. This includes muscle strain and herniated discs. It can also be from issues within the spine like scoliosis, or kyphosis.Other causes are vertebral fractures and poor posture. Sometimes, pain comes from osteoarthritis or myofascial pain syndrome.

Can upper left back pain be caused by issues with internal organs?

Yes, issues with organs can cause upper left back pain. These might be pancreatitis or kidney stones. Even a heart attack could be the cause.

What are the risk factors for developing upper left back pain?

Certain things can make upper left back pain more likely. These include smoking and being overweight. Not being active or getting older are also risk factors.

What are the associated symptoms that can provide clues about the underlying cause of upper left back pain?

Besides back pain, you might have other symptoms. This can be pain that moves from your abdomen to your back. You might hurt under your shoulder or when you breathe or eat.You could also feel arm pain or numbness. These hints help doctors find the cause.

How is the cause of upper left back pain diagnosed?

Doctors will check your history and symptoms first. Then, they do a physical exam. They might also use tests like X-rays, or MRIs to find the cause.

What are the treatment options for upper left back pain?

Treatment for back pain can vary. It might include home care, medical treatments, or lifestyle changes. The treatment depends on what’s causing your pain.

How can upper left back pain be prevented?

You can try several things to avoid this pain. First, keep good posture. Use your body correctly when lifting things. Also, make sure to exercise often.Finally, quitting smoking can also help keep your back healthy.

When should you seek medical attention for upper left back pain?

Don’t ignore your pain if it’s very bad or won’t go away. Other warning signs are numbness or weakness. If you lose control of your bladder or bowels, see a doctor right away.If your pain comes after an accident, that’s another sign to get medical help.