A common cause for back pain in the thoracic spine due to weightlifting is muscular irritation, reports Spine-health. Joint dysfunction can also cause pain in the upper back. Herniation of disks in the upper back is uncommon, but could occur under heavy straining.
Muscle strains and sports injuries are common causes for muscular irritations in the upper back, reports Spine-health. The muscles that attach the scapula to either side of the spine and rib cage are large and can become very painful when irritated. These irritations may be worked out through massage therapy, stretching and strengthening, and acupuncture. Anti-inflammatory injections are used in some cases. Joint dysfunction between the ribs and thoracic spine can cause upper back pain as well. Chiropractic manipulation can increase mobility of the joint and provide pain relief, but strengthening and stretching of the shoulders and spine are required to provide lasting relief. Injections are not commonly used to treat joint dysfunction.
Disk herniations in the thoracic spine are uncommon and make up around 1 percent of all disk herniations, adds Spine-health. If a herniation is suspected, an MRI or other imaging techniques are used to diagnose the problem. Significant pressure or trauma in the upper back may also result in a fracture of the vertebrae, a serious condition which requires immediate medical attention.