Typically, middle back pain occurs in the thoracic spine, between the neck and the bottom of the rib cage. This area contains 12 vertebrae – the T1 to T12 vertebrae. The disks are located between them. Spinal cord is protected by the spinal column. An important function of the spinal cord is to allow the brain to communicate with the body. Spinal nerves can be irritated or injured in several ways by the bones, muscles, ligaments, and disks in the spine. Identifying where your back pain comes from can be difficult if you have back pain. Even though you may believe your pain is coming from your upper back, it’s actually coming from your middle back. Generally speaking, middle back pain (also known as thoracic back pain) occurs between your shoulder blades and below your neck. It is felt over the bottom of your ribs (where your waist is) and between your shoulder blades. Depending on how intense the pain is, it may last for a long time or be a sudden, sharp pain that is difficult to deal with.
Middle back pain can present with a variety of symptoms. You will experience different symptoms depending on the cause of your pain. Mid back pain is commonly characterized by the following symptoms:
Other serious symptoms may include:
Middle back pain can be caused by repeated pressure on the spine. This pressure can be caused by poor posture in some cases. Slouching stresses the muscles and ligaments in your back. When these muscles are overworked, they can cause back pain and aches.
There is also a positive correlation between obesity and back pain, according to a meta-analysis of 95 studies on weight and back pain. A person’s back pain risk increases with weight.
Muscle sprain or strain
An injury caused by tearing or stretching of ligaments is called a strain. A strain occurs when muscles and tendons tear or stretch. If a person lifts heavy objects regularly, especially without proper form, they are at risk of straining their backs. Strains and sprains are often caused by sudden, awkward movements.
Fall or other injury
It is less likely that the middle back will be injured than the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back). The reason is because it is more rigid and structured. The middle back can still be injured, though. People of all ages are at risk of thoracic spine injuries, but older people can sustain more serious injuries. Immediately contact your doctor if you suffer back pain following such an event.
An injured disk herniates when the gel-like inside of the disk presses against the cartilage outside, placing pressure on a nerve. Slipped disks and ruptured disks are two other terms used to describe herniated disks. Pain, tingling, or numbness in the legs or areas along the affected nerve can result.
A degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA), is a degenerative joint condition. In this condition, your joints rub against each other due to worn-down cartilage. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 30 million Americans suffer from OA. Adult Americans are more likely to suffer from it than any other cause.
People with back pain are more likely to be older. The American Association of Retired Persons reports that the most common age range for back pain is 30- to 50-years-old. As we age, the body naturally loses bone density, muscle mass, and fluid in the joints. These factors can all lead to back pain.
Fractures of the vertebrae are common following trauma such as falls or car accidents. Similarly, someone with osteoporosis has a higher chance of a fracture. The pain from a fracture can be very severe and get worse when you move. In addition to incontinence, tingling, and numbness, the fracture may have also affected your spinal cord.
Based on the underlying causes of middle back pain, there are varying treatment options. In most cases, people first try treating their back pain at home with simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive treatments like physical therapy. Medications or surgery may be needed if home remedies aren’t effective. Back pain that lasts longer than 72 hours and isn’t relieved by home remedies should be checked out by a doctor.
If you are experiencing middle back pain, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis. Here are some symptoms your doctor may use to diagnose you:
Your doctor will examine your spine, legs, head, pelvis, arms, and abdomen in a physical examination. A collar might also be placed around your neck to stabilize your spine if you’ve been in an accident.
During the diagnosis process, your doctor is likely to run some tests. A neurological or imaging test may be required.
This test evaluates the function of the spinal cord and the brain. You may be asked to wiggle your fingers or toes during this procedure. Nerve endings and spinal cord health can be determined from this.
Your body’s insides are pictured by imaging tests. In addition to revealing fractures, bone degeneration, and other causes of back pain, X-rays can reveal underlying health issues. The following tests may be conducted:
Your doctor can use these scans to determine whether your spine has been damaged and determine the appropriate treatment.
Consider physical therapy. For better posture, mobility, and core strength, ask your therapist for a customized program.