mid & upper back pain relief.

Physical Therapy for Your Middle and Upper Back

When your back hurts, it’s hard to think of anything but finding immediate pain relief. Maybe you ice it or use a heating pad, take some ibuprofen, rest, and wait for the pain to pass. And that could work–for now. Back pain can always resurface, and if it’s not properly addressed, it can feel worse every time it does. There are so many causes of upper and middle back pain: Injuries, poor posture, repetitive movements, poor posture, sciatica, degenerating and/or herniated disks, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and more.

Going to physical therapy for upper and middle back pain can help you diagnose and address the underlying causes of your pain, determine its severity, and work with you on your journey to full, pain-free movement. You can also learn about how to minimize or avoid pain in the future. Our physical therapists are trained specialists in spinal and back muscle injuries and conditions that can cause back pain. Our main goal is to improve your daily quality of life by providing physical therapy care that helps decrease your pain and increase your strength and mobility. Professional’s expert PTs are committed to providing pain management and effective pain relief treatment for your upper and middle back pain. Don’t just accept back pain as a part of your life; let Professional PT help you treat it!


All About Your Upper and Middle Back

Functionally, your back is the anatomical feature that connects your arms to your legs and allows the human body the ability to move around and be productive. The upper and middle back is called the thoracic spine. The spine is very complex, consisting of many joints, soft tissues, a spinal cord, and hundreds of nerves that run to your arms and legs. Problems with any of these components can lead to back pain.

A physical therapist skilled in the treatment of the spine will fully understand the anatomy, physiology, and all the functional aspects of the human spine. At Professional Physical Therapy, our licensed physical therapists receive advanced clinical training in the treatment and management of patients who are suffering from various spinal conditions that can cause upper and middle back pain.

When Should I Seek Physical Therapy for My Upper and Middle Back Pain?

Back pain, especially pain in the upper and middle back, can flare up at any time for many different reasons. Due to its countless symptoms, it can be tricky to identify when it is time to seek medical attention for back pain. A good rule of thumb when experiencing back pain is to seek attention as soon as the discomfort is noticeable, especially if it begins to interfere with your everyday activities. Addressing back pain as soon as possible is key to obtaining relief and preventing potential future injuries or worsening symptoms.

Professional’s physical therapists work with you to assess and address your specific needs to create a personalized treatment plan for pain in your upper and/or middle back.

What Are Common Upper and Middle Back Pain Symptoms?

Back pain symptoms tend to differ depending on the cause and severity of the patient’s condition. For some patients, upper and middle back pain may be mild and intermittent, disappearing after just a few days only to reoccur later. For others, it may be chronic, worsening over time and indicating a more prominent issue. The most common symptoms associated with upper and middle back pain include:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain
  • Stiffness
  • General discomfort or aching
  • Reduced mobility
  • Tingling and/or numbness
  • Radiating pain that travels into the arms, chest, or middle back

Common Conditions that Cause Back Pain

At Professional, we treat many injuries and conditions that can cause upper and middle back pain. Below are some common injuries and conditions affecting the upper and middle back. Click on the diagnoses below to see detailed information about how physical therapists at Professional treat these conditions.

Do you have middle or upper back pain?

Our physical therapists will diagnose your condition and customize a back pain treatment plan just for you. We will work in an effective way to get you back on your feet, focused on your wellness before, during and after therapy.

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Insurances We Accept

Below is a condensed list of insurances we participate with throughout our network of physical therapy clinics.  Find your particular provider below based on your area.
For a complete listing of all insurance providers and individual plans by name: CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL INSURANCE PAGE.


New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

  • Aetna (NY, NJ, CT)
  • AmeriHealth (NJ)
  • Anthem BCBS (CT)
  • Bardavon (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Cigna/ASH (NY, NJ, CT)
  • CIGNA - Medicare (NY, NJ)
  • Claims Resolution Corp (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • ClearComp (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ)
  • Clover Health Medicare Advantage (NJ)
  • Comp X (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • ConnectiCare (CT)
  • Department of Labor (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Empire BCBS (Individual Providers In Network – NY)
  • Empire Plan MPN (UHC – NY, NJ)
  • Fidelis Wellcare (NJ)
  • First MCO (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • GHI (Emblem Health – NY, NJ, CT)
  • HIP (Emblem Health – NY)
  • Horizon BCBS (NJ)
  • Horizon Casualty (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • Independence BCBS (Southern NJ)
  • Magna Care (NY, NJ, CT)
  • Magna Comp (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Medicare (NY, NJ, CT)
  • MedRisk (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • MultiPlan (NY, NJ, CT)
  • New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM - Workers' Compensation - NJ)
  • No Fault (Various Carriers)
  • Northwell Health Clinical Integration Network IPA (NY)
  • OccuNet (NJ)
  • One Call (Workers' Compensation - NY, NJ, CT
  • Oscar Health Plan (NY, NJ)
  • Oxford (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • Providers Edge Scheduling Group/PESG (Workers' Compensation - NJ)
  • QualCare (NJ)
  • Qual-Lynx (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • SPNET (Workers' Compensation - NY, NJ, CT)
  • Streamline (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • United Health Care (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • VACCN (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • WellCare (NY)
  • Workers' Compensation (Various Carriers)

Massachusetts, New Hampshire

  • Aetna (MA, NH)
  • Ambetter/NH Healthy Families (NH)
  • Amerihealth Caritas (effective date 4/27/2020 - NH)
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (NH)
  • Bardavon (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • BCBS Massachusetts (MA)
  • CeltiCare (MA)
  • Cigna/ASH (NH)
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance (MA)
  • Fallon Health (MA)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA, NH)
  • Health New England (MA)
  • MaineCare (NH)
  • Magna Care (MA, NH)
  • Magna Comp (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Martin’s Point Health Care (NH)
  • Mass General Brigham Health (Formerly AllWays Health Partners)
  • Massachusetts Health (Medicaid – MA)
  • Medicaid (MA, NH)
  • Medicare (MA, NH)
  • Med Risk (Workers' Compensation – MA)
  • ML Healthcare (NF – MA, NH)
  • No Fault (Various Carriers)
  • Omni Healthcare (MVA Lien – MA, NH)
  • One Call (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • SPNET (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Streamline (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Tufts Cigna (MA)
  • Tufts Health Plan (MA, NH)
  • Tufts Medicare Advantage (MA)
  • Tufts Public (Medicaid – MA)
  • UniCare (MA)
  • United Health Care (Optum – MA, NH)
  • WellSense Health (Formerly BMC – Boston Medical Center – MA)
  • Workers’ Compensation (Various Carriers)

Woman sitting at a pain relief consultation with a professional physical therapist.

How is Back Pain Diagnosed?

At Professional, we use many techniques to find out what is causing your back pain and how we can put you on the best path to recovery. Diagnosis starts with an initial physical evaluation to analyze the cause of your back pain, assess limitations you have due to your pain, and discuss any other signs and symptoms you may be experiencing.

If you have been referred to physical therapy for back pain from an injury or ongoing condition, our PTs will work with you and information from your referring doctor to determine the make-up of your physical therapy plan. Then we can establish a customized strategy to ease pain, improve your physical strength, flexibility, and mobility, and better your overall quality of life.

Upper and Middle Back Pain Relief After an Injury

An injury that results in back pain often requires a period of rest. This time helps with healing, but also weakens your back and other muscles from underuse. If your back pain is caused by an injury, muscle activation, mobility, and strength-building exercises are essential to the recovery process. Our certified physical therapists can guide you through a treatment plan targeting back pain symptoms after a period of immobility.

Back Pain Relief Before and After Surgery

While back pain is often treatable and preventable with ongoing physical therapy, serious conditions may require surgical intervention. When surgery cannot be avoided, research shows that physical therapy is a vital part of your road to recovery—both before and after your procedure. Before a surgery to address upper and middle back pain caused by severe conditions or injuries, physical therapy allows you to strengthen your muscles, educate yourself on what to expect post-surgery, and develop a home exercise routine to prepare for the journey ahead. The stronger and more informed you are before surgery, the stronger and more assured you’ll be afterward. Post-surgery physical therapy may feel similar, with treatment targeted toward regaining strength and mobility to help you heal properly and recover most effectively.

treatment techniques.

Physical Therapy Treatment Techniques for Upper and Middle Back Pain

Below are just a few of the physical therapy skills and techniques we use to treat chronic pain or rehabilitate you after an injury or surgery:

  • Pain Modulation Techniques
  • Manual Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Manual Muscle Stretching
  • Manual Traction
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Self-Management Techniques
  • Heat Therapy
  • Cold Therapy

Back Pain Q&A

Back pain is a common condition that brings about many questions. Check out the Back Pain Q&A below for answers to some frequent questions:

Yes, physical therapy is becoming the treatment of choice by medical professionals when managing patients experiencing back pain. If back pain has just occurred and it is difficult to move, finding positions of comfort and rest is the best treatment. There are also many forms of manual treatment with physical therapy that can help decrease pain such as massage, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, and manual traction. Once the acute symptoms (sudden pain) have subsided then active movement and exercising can be very beneficial. A skilled physical therapist trained in treatment of the spine can help prescribe the right treatment program for your back pain.

Repetitive work with your arms or poor postural positions may cause problems in your neck. Also, improper strength training exercises or poor exercise technique can be problematic. A physical therapist can be helpful in advising on posture and exercise. Some common diagnoses in patients experiencing neck pain are degenerative discs, pinched nerves, muscle tightness or tension, and facet joint problems that cause pain and stiffness.

A bad whiplash injury is similar to a bad ankle sprain in that due to the trauma of the injury there can be a lot of swelling and inflammation of the many tissues that surround your joints. The difference being that in the neck there are many more joints and nerves. Just like a bad ankle sprain, it can take months and even up to a year to heal. Physical Therapy can benefit those suffering from whiplash as there are various pain modulation techniques and it also can help stabilize the joints along the spinal column.

Sciatica is a general term used for referred pain in one’s legs that originates from his or her back. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs down the back of your leg. There are many nerve roots that come out of your spinal column and bundle together to form the sciatic nerve and therefore injury to, or inflammation of, the sciatic nerve (sciatica) can give you varying degrees and locations of pain in your leg (referred pain). Often, the problem lies at the nerve root level due to some sort of impingement (“pinched nerve”) like a bulging disc or a chemical inflammation from locally inflamed tissues. It is very common for patients to experience both back pain and sciatica. Physical therapy can be helpful when experiencing back pain and sciatica.

Generally speaking, for those suffering from neck pain and back pain, there is a very small percent of this population that are good surgical candidates, and your surgeon will help identify the criteria for a particular surgery. In most cases, when you are not a surgical candidate, trying conservative treatment such as physical therapy first is the best choice. Those who do elect to have surgery usually require physical therapy post-operatively. Some of the most common surgical procedures we see post-operatively would be discectomy, laminectomy, and spinal fusion.

Chronic Upper and Middle Back Pain Relief

Chronic pain in your upper and middle back is long-term, persistent pain and discomfort that could indicate severe conditions, such as sciatica, osteoarthritis, bulging discs, or pinched nerves. Back pain often worsens over time, meaning that the longer you try to cope with the pain on your own, the more damage you may be causing. Consulting a certified physical therapist for upper and middle back pain relief is an important tool to lay the foundation for appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.


Committed to Providing Upper and Middle Back Pain Relief

Our physical therapists are trained specialists in back injuries, back pain management, and pain relief for the back. We don’t just help you treat your back pain one time and send you on your way. Our PTs make sure to educate you on the how and why of your back pain and put you on a path to ongoing wellness and prevention of more serious conditions.

Find the clinic nearest to you⇒ to speak with a Professional physical therapist who specializes in back pain today.

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Convenient physical therapy clinics near you

We provide middle and upper back pain relief from our physical therapy clinics throughout Manhattan NYC, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Fill out the form above, or contact a clinic near you to speak with a Professional Physical Therapist and back pain treatment specialist today.

Get physical therapy for upper and middle back pain relief

We will work in an effective way to manage your back pain during and after therapy