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What causes burning upper-back pain?

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Causes of burning upper-back pain include overuse or muscle strain, a herniated disk, a spinal fracture, osteoarthritis, and myofascial pain, according to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. A minority of patients with burning upper-back pain have gallbladder disease, an infection or cancer.

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Spinal fractures often occur after car accidents, falls, sports or acts of violence, notes Mayfield Clinic. Medical conditions such as spine tumors or osteoporosis can also cause a spinal fracture, which can damage the spinal cord if not treated. Symptoms of a spinal fracture include back pain, weakness, paralysis and tingling. Spinal fractures are diagnosed through X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography tests, and are treated with pain medication, braces and surgery.

Chronic myofascial pain is muscle pain that lasts for a long time and affects the connective tissue, explains Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Doctors do not know the exact cause of the condition, but it occurs after a muscle injury, stroke or broken bone. Patients with chronic myofascial pain experience pain in the neck, shoulders and back that gets worse after pressing a trigger point. The condition is diagnosed with a physical exam along with other tests, and is treated with hypnosis, physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

There are various types of gallbladder disease, including cholelithiasis, which refers to gallstones in the gallbladder, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gallstones develop when chemicals in the bile form hard particles that can block the gallbladder ducts and cause pain. The pain is mostly localized to the upper-right side of the abdomen, and it often follows high-fat meals. Treatment for the condition includes medications that dissolve gallstones as well as gallbladder removal surgery.

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