Causes of Upper Back and Neck Pain

Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, chiropractic subluxations, stress, and in some instances, disc problems.


By far, the most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Get checked out by a good chiropractor.

Poor Posture / Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture is very common for people who are stooped over their computers all day long. If not taken care of with chiropractic care, subluxations like this can worsen over time. One of the most common causes of neck pain, and sometimes headaches, is poor posture. It’s easy to get into bad posture habits without even realizing it.


Subluxations in the neck and upper back area are extremely common due to the high degree of stress associated with holding up your head, coupled with the high degree of instability in the cervical spine. If they are not taken care of soon after they occur, then they can get much worse over time due to the accumulation of compounding interest.


When most people become stressed, they unconsciously contract their muscles. In particular, the muscles in their back. This ‘muscle guarding’ is a survival response designed to guard against injury. In today’s world where we are not exposed to physical danger most of the time, muscle guarding still occurs whenever we become emotionally stressed. The areas most affected are the muscles of the neck, upper back and low back.

Disc Herniations

The discs in your cervical spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine through that area. Although cervical discs do not herniate nearly as often as lumbar discs do, they occasionally can herniate, especially when the discs sustain damage from a whiplash injury. Contact us today!

Additional Risk Factors

A decrease in bone strength and muscle elasticity (perhaps due to scar tissue build up)
Discs losing their fluid and flexibility (which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae)
Arthritis (which can cause constant inflammation of the spine)
Degeneration or osteoporosis
Stress related muscle tightness
Obesity, smoking, stress, poor physical condition, posture inappropriate for the activity being performed, and poor sleeping position also may contribute to neck pain.