Can Anxiety Cause Upper Back Pain?

Back pain can be very difficult to deal with and can be caused by a number of factors. Some, like sporting injuries or accidents, are immediately noticeable and easy to spot, but others are more difficult to pinpoint. Anxiety is one of them – read on to find out how anxiety can lead to upper back pain and the ways in which you can combat it.

Can anxiety cause upper back pain?

In a word – yes. The most direct way in which this can be the case is through the muscle tension commonly caused by anxiety. However, many of the behavioural changes that anxiety can cause may also contribute to upper back pain. For instance, people suffering from anxiety might begin to slouch or reduce their levels of physical activity, both of which are known causes of back pain.

It’s worth noting that anxiety is not thought to be able to directly cause severe back pain, but that doesn’t mean that the pain caused by your anxiety will not worsen over time. This is because many people over-adjust their posture in response, changing the way they sit, stand and walk in an attempt to lessen the pain that is ultimately more likely to worsen it.

How can I deal with upper back pain caused by anxiety?

Many of the treatments for back pain stemming from other sources can apply here too, including pain medication. As mentioned previously, it’s important to maintain good posture and stay physically active, and stretching regularly helps to prevent your upper back muscles from seizing up.

Of course, as with many injuries, the best treatment and prevention is to combat the underlying cause and, in this case, this will mean finding ways to manage and cope with your anxiety. There are a wealth of helpful resources available that can point you in the right direction including Mind and Anxiety UK, along with counselling services.

If you’re looking for more information about the causes of back pain and how to manage it, Morley Chiropractic Clinic is happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today by calling 0113 238 3693 or emailing us at

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