If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your back in the proximity of your chest area, then you may be struggling with middle back pain. This region of the back is far less prone to injury because it doesn’t work as much as your lower back or carry as much of your body weight. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t experience problems.
For some, the pain is manageable with over-the-counter pain meds. However, middle back pain can be debilitating for many people, affecting every area of their life. Not only can it prevent patients from doing activities they enjoy, but it can also impact their work and personal life. If you’re struggling with middle back pain, it’s important to seek out professional healthcare options, like what you’ll find at Spine Institute of North America.
How to Know If It’s Middle Back Pain
The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. The location of your pain will determine if you are struggling with lower, middle or upper back pain. Middle back pain generally is discomfort experienced in the thoracic spine. This region includes 12 vertebrae between your rib cage and the base of your neck, called T1 through T12 — T standing for thoracic.
Of course, there’s more than just vertebrae in this region of your back. The area consists of many different muscles, ligaments and spinal discs that act as shock absorbers for your spine’s vertebrae. Any damage, injury or irritation to these structures can cause you to experience middle back pain.
Symptoms of Middle Back Pain
If you’re encountering pain in the middle region of your back, chances are, you’ll know it. However, many different symptoms may accompany middle back pain, including:
Muscle aches, tightness or stiffness
Dull, sharp or stabbing pain
If your middle back pain is severe, additional side effects may occur, such as:
Arm and leg weakness
Tingling or numbness in your extremities, chest or belly
Loss of bladder or bowel control
What do we do?
Providing a thorough diagnosis to know the cause of your pain
Using the least invasive procedure that will relieve your pain quickly
Providing effective follow-up to ensure fast recovery
Ensuring that you remain fit so that you can enjoy long-term relief from pain
We see patients who experience middle back pain for a variety of different causes. Some are related to lifestyle choices or deterioration from the way you move and work every day. Other issues arise because of an injury or a more serious medical condition. At our office, some of the common reasons we see patients come in for middle back pain include:
Lifestyle: Repeated pressure on your spine and back muscles can be the result of how you live your everyday life. This includes factors like poor posture, obesity, smoking, being out of shape or even the natural process of aging.
Sprain or Strain: This tearing or stretching of the muscles, tendons and ligaments can occur if you move your back in a sudden, awkward movement, such as improperly lifting heavy objects.
Fall or Injury: Thankfully, because it’s more rigid and structured, the middle back is less prone to injury. However, injuries from sports, car accidents, falls and other causes can bring about middle back pain, especially in the elderly.
Herniated or Ruptured Disc:Overtime, the discs that protect your vertebrae can start to bulge, become compressed or even rupture. This puts pressure on the nerves causing severe pain.
Osteoarthritis: When the cartilage covering your joints breaks down, this can cause the bones to rub together.
Fractures: Following a trauma, injury or accident, fractures — or bone breaks — can cause severe middle back pain and require immediate treatment.
Pinched Nerve: A compressed nerve in your back, pinched nerves can create minor or severe pain.
Scoliosis: This curvature of the spine leads to an uneven distribution of weight and may cause middle back pain.
Treatment Options for Middle Back Pain
We offer a range of treatment options to our patients struggling with middle back pain. We always strive to start with conservative options first and foremost, as most people wish to avoid any surgical intervention. Our primary goal is to ensure you experience relief from middle back pain, as well as a return to full functionality.
Some of our minimally invasive options include a combination of medications, cold or hot compresses, specialized exercises and massage. We may also recommend some sort of injection that either harnesses the body’s ability to heal, like platelet-rich plasma injections, or provides short-term pain relief.
If further intervention is needed, we can also provide a personalized plan of care that may include a least or minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as: