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What is Middle Back Pain?

Middle back pain (Thoracic pain) is less common compared to upper back pain, cervical pain or lower back pain. The middle thoracic spine consists of the largest portion of the back, from the area between the shoulder blades to around the back opposite the navel area. Pain in the middle back typically concentrates between the shoulder blades, at the center of the rib cage, or at the thoracic spine near the bottom of the rib cage.

Most of the symptoms of middle back pain can also be felt by those suffering from lower back pain or upper back pain. In addition, many who suffer from neck, upper back, or low back pain may also experience mild mid-back pain as well.  It is not uncommon to see that most of the treatment and management options for middle back pain are similar to those with upper and lower back pain.

If you are suffering from middle back pain that doesn’t go away after several days, consider contacting a physician for a diagnosis.  It may be more serious, however, and you may need additional supportive care and therapy which may include physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and massage. In more serious cases, it may be recommended that you consult for injections and possibly spine surgery. Contact your doctor for more information.

Causes of Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain may be caused by one of many different conditions. These include but are not limited to:

  • Injury – Motor vehicle collisions, slip and falls, sporting injuries
  • Sprains and strain – some movements can cause strains and sprains of muscles of the middle back.
  • Compression fractures of spinal vertebrae
  • Aging – The cartilage discs between the vertebrae gradually wear away. This degenerative osteoarthritis of spinal joints can lead to inflammation and pain, pinched nerves, and reduced flexibility.
  • Bulging and Herniated discs – When the discs in the spine tear and bulge, this can compress the nerves in the spine, causing inflammation and pain.

Symptoms of Middle Back Pain

The symptoms of middle back pain are similar to the symptoms of other types of back pain. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain – sharp, shooting, aching
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of mobility and flexibility

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, try to relax for a few days and be sure to stretch and do gentle exercises. If the back pain doesn’t go away, schedule a visit with your physician as soon as possible.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Middle Back Pain

If your middle back pain continues for more than a couple of weeks, you should consult a physician for diagnosis and treatment. The doctor may order x-rays and an MRI.

In most cases, middle back pain can be treated at home. By engaging in a light exercise regimen, stretching, and self-awareness of your posture, you can go a long way toward reducing pain. Over-the-counter medications can also help as can ice and heat therapy with homemade or store-bought ice and heat packs. A gentle massage may also help solve the problem.

Contact a physician if your middle back pain persists for more than a couple of weeks.

Contact your physician or dial 911 if you develop any severe pain, have middle back pain accompanied by chest pain, difficulty breathing, or develop problems with balance, loss of strength or paralysis.