Upper Left Back Pain: Causes and Treatments

The upper left back pain is a symptom of several disorders. It is advisable to know the various reasons for it.

Many vital organs are connected to the back, and any complication with those organ scan reflect in the back pain.

Apart from medications, which has its reactions and long term disadvantage, you can try some back stretches to release the tension in the muscles and relieve pain.

Being a natural therapy, it is entirely safe, effective, and economical.

What causes upper left back pain?

The back of the body is a significant part of the body, which thas the spine running through it. A huge muscle trapezius holds the neck, shoulder, and back in place with the help of the skeletal structure.

One of the common issues with the back is the upper left-back pain. The treatment and cure of the pain would very much depend on the reason, and with that intent in mind,let us look at the reasons for upper left back pain.

Muscle strain 

Constant use of any particular muscle of the left-back can give rise to fatigue. IT can be due to the nature of work or sports.

Bad sitting posture can also create tension in the muscles,and stiffness can set in.

Another reason for the back muscle strain can be an injury resulting from some fall, accident, or playing sports.

Foraminal stenosis

The foramen is a small opening in the vertebra. The nerves come out of the spinal cord through the foramen and branches in the adjoining part of the body.

Foraminal stenosis is the condition, when the foramen is narrowed out, due to bone spurs or other reasons. Narrowing of the foramen ‘pinches’ the nerve, passing out through it. It results in radiating pain along the nerve, and if the nerve branches to the left side of the back, it will result in pain in the left upper back.

Vertebral compression factors

Due to age or weak bones (osteoporosis), the thoracic spine may compress and is one of the causes of pain in the upper body.


Prevalent in preteens and teens, this is sideways bending of the spine. If the bend is on the left side, it will result in pain in the upper left-back.


The outward bend of the spine is known as Kyphosis. It is also known as hunchback. A little bow is not painful, but the higher curve of the spine can give rise to the upper back pin.

Osteoarthritis of the spine

It is a condition where the cartilage of the bone wears off and results in severe pain. This pain can spread to the left side of the upper back.

Myofascial pain- trapezium muscle pains

The trapezium muscle develops pain at some points because of muscle tension or repetitive, monotonous movement. It can also create left upper back pain.

Pancreatitis-inflammation of pancreases

Inflammation of the pancreases can give rise to a painful condition, in which the pain arises from the abdomen to the upper left-back.

Kidney stone

As the stone leaves the kidney, it develops pain in the groin and abdomen, and in some cases, like pancreatitis, the pain may shoot up to the upper left-back.

Why feel back pain when breathing?

Instead of the pain being continuous, there are some situations, wherein the upper back pains only when you breathe.  It is because of the following conditions.


If scoliosis (sideway bend) is more, it puts pressure on the rib cage and the lungs. As a result of this, pain in the upper back accompanies breathing.

Heart attack

Obstruction of the blood flow to the heart results in heart-attack.  In such a case, breathing becomes difficult with pain in the upper left-back.

Lung cancer

In the case of lung cancer, if the tumor happens to press or irritate some nerve, it can result in upper left back pain.

Pulmonary embolism

If there is a clot in the artery supplying blood to the lungs, it will make breathing difficult. The back and shoulder may develop pain because of this condition.


Inflammation of thin membrane, pleura, which surrounds the heart will result in sharp chest pain that can travel to the upper back and shoulders.


It makes breathing difficult and also develops pain in the back.

Stretches for upper back pain

In the case of the painful upper back, stretching the muscles will ease the tension and relieve pain. It is much better than taking medicines and drugs.Regular exercise will strengthen the muscles and avoid back pain.

Some simple back stretching exercises which you can do easily:

Butterfly moves

a. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart.

b. Raise your hand in front of you at shoulder level.

c. Place your right hand on the left shoulder and left hand on the right shoulder.

d. The hands would cross in front of your face.

e. Try to touch the elbow with one another or bring it as close as possible.

f. Hold for a count of 10

g. Go back to the original position (point C)

h. Repeat 8 -10 times.

Thoracic extension

a. Sit comfortably on a chair that has a backrest.

b. Move both your hands out in a broad embrace.

c. As you move your hands,push your upper back on the chair backrest and bend backward to extend the thoracic spine.

d. Keep your self balanced

e.      Hold for a few moments.

f.       Feel the stretch nicely.

g.      Return to the original.

h.      Repeat 8 -10 times.

The chair rotation

a. Sit sideways on the left side of a chair.

b. Turn slightly to the left to hold the backrest of the chair with your hands.

c. With the support of your hands, try to turn your upper torso to the left to feel a good stretch on your shoulders and upper back.

d. Do this stretch 6 -8 times.

e. Repeat the whole sequence,sitting on the right side of the chair and stretching on the right side.

Shoulder roll

a. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart.

b. Keep your hands by your side.

c. Raise the shoulders as high as possible and roll it back and bring to the original position in a smooth round movement.

d. Repeat this 5 -7 times.

Trapezius stretch

a. You need to sit comfortably on a chair.

b. Stick your back firmly to the backrest of the chair.

c. With your right hand, hold your left temple, taking the hand over the head.

d. Hold firmly to the base of the chair with your left hand.

e. Stretch your neck, back,and shoulder in the direction of the right hand, with the right hand pulling your head to the right.

f. Hold for a few moments to feel the stretch.

g. Repeat for 5 -7 times

h. Reverse the sides and repeat for 5 -7 times.

Turmeric for Back Pain

Turmeric Curcumin is an alternative method to relieve upper left back pain.

It has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that can promote healing.

Since turmeric curcumin is made from natural ingredients, it is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, even at higher doses.

Turmeric may be an effective and reasonably-priced solution to inflammatory back problems.


In most of the cases, the upper left back pain is because of muscle stiffness or muscle strain. These stretching exercises will ease the pain very efficiently and make it flexible.

In cases where the pain is due to some underlying disease or sickness, it is best to consult the doctor.