Middle Back Pain

As we know, the spine is divided into three parts, the cervical spine-upper back, the thoracic spine-middle back, and the lumbar spine-lower back. Each part exhibits its own type of pain. Today we will be focusing on the middle back, also known as the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine begins at the base of the neck and extends to the middle of the trunk-this is where one experiences middle back pain. This part of the body forms a sturdy structure that supports and protects organs vital for our survival-the heart, lungs, and liver. Typically, the term middle back pain describes any pain or discomfort felt in the middle back region, including the area where the rib cage connects to the chest region of the spine. Middle back pain can be acute or chronic; the levels and types of pain experienced depend almost completely upon the cause and severity of the underlying issue. With an accurate diagnosis, there are many treatment options available for middle back pain. Now, this part of our spine is as important as the cervical and lumbar spine. Therefore, taking care of it is as equally as important as it is taking care of our entire spine.

Why is it that we often forget about the thoracic spine? What is important to note here is that the thoracic spine is often forgotten about because it is located between the neck and the lower back- parts of the body that are very sensitive to pain-but is also very much susceptible to injury.middle back pain

When one speaks about “back pain”, one thinks about where the pain is located. Is the pain in the upper back, middle back, or lower back? Now, it’s known that back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. Usually people complain about having upper or lower back pain and simply forget to mention middle back pain- because it is not that easy to distinguish where the middle back is if you are not looking at the spine through an anatomical viewpoint. Now, forgetting to mention your middle back pain happens because it is often mistaken for lower back pain and often treated together. So, what might be causing your middle back pain? Here are some common ailments that contribute to mid-back discomfort in men and women:

  • Strained or Irritated Muscles Lifting heavy objects improperly or repeatedly performing the same motion can aggravate muscle tissue and damage small blood vessels, causing pain in the middle back region.
  • Injured Discs lie between spinal vertebrae and act as cushions to absorb shock and facilitate movement. When a disc is injured, its inner, liquid-like nucleus may seep through the weakened point in its hard-outer casing. The seeping material places strain on surrounding nerves, ligaments and tissues while simultaneously threatening the structural integrity of the spine. Discomfort and sometimes debilitating pain results when a disc becomes injured. Disc degeneration or sudden trauma may cause a slipped disc.
  • Fractured Vertebrae High impact accidents, such as car crashes or violent falls, as well as extreme spinal deterioration over time, can lead to a vertebral fracture. Intense back pain that worsens with movement typically occurs in correlation with a spinal fracture. In grave situations, this complication may affect the spinal cord.
  • Osteoporosis is an ailment that happens when new bone is not created quickly enough to replace old bone, resulting in frail, brittle bones. Osteoporosis makes the spinal column vulnerable to structural failures and causes pain as breaks, strains and shifts in weight occur.
  • Aging: As you age, you become increasingly at risk for maladies that may cause back pain, such as spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal canal narrows abnormally.
  • Infection: Spondylitis, an illness that incites inflammation in the spinal joints, can cause middle back pain. Other infections may cause similar results.
  • Spinal conditions, such as scoliosis: Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, can cause pain as the proper weight distribution system of the spine is disturbed and tissues, ligaments and nerves are disrupted. Many spine complications have similar effects.
  • Health issues, like tumors or disease Tumors can spur pain by upsetting the spine’s inherent architecture and placing pressure upon nerves, ligaments and tissues in the middle back.
  • Family history, pregnancy, obesity, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and stress can increase your risk of developing middle back pain. Begin keeping track of your symptoms, writing down what triggers your pain and what alleviates it. If your discomfort can be mitigated by over-the-counter medication, ice packs or heating pads, you may be enduring a strained muscle that will resolve on its own. If the root cause of your pain is unresponsive to conservative treatment, more extensive measures may be necessary to regain comfort.

Certain types of middle back pain are responsive to physical therapy, massage and at-home treatments. If a fractured vertebrae or ruptured disc is causing your discomfort, however, minimally invasive surgery may be imperative to relief. As opposed to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery involves making a minute incision. Because the procedure is so non-invasive, the surgical site generally scars very little, loses little blood and requires almost no recovery time.

Types of minimally invasive surgery relevant to middle back pain include:

  • Discectomy is designed to resolve the complications associated with herniated discs. During a discectomy, the surgeon will remove the injured portion of an affected disc. They will then treat the disc wall to prevent further painful leakage.
  • Microdiscectomy is almost identical to discectomies, except they involve even more delicate and minute surgical processes.
  • Fusion joins two vertebrae with a bridge structure and replaces damaged discs with “spacers.” Fusions are geared toward restoring structural balance and strengthening the spine, so that you can regain your range of motion and ease.

Chronic middle back pain can decrease your quality of life and keep you from doing the things you love. Depending on the origin of your discomfort, delaying care may lead to lasting consequences, such as permanent nerve damage. Our team of spine specialists is ready to guide you through every step of the healing process, so you can live a full, pain-free life.

The road to healing begins with an accurate diagnosis. Our team of experienced specialists is committed to helping you discover the cause of your pain and eliminating it. Expert, Board-certified physicians will work with you to create a customized treatment plan based upon your unique symptoms, medical history, physical state, needs and preferences. For patients with elusive conditions, we may recommend utilizing pain mapping technologies.

Pain mapping procedures apply numbing medication to suspect nerves in order to temporarily and immediately reduce pain and determine the exact location of your issue. We may also recommend undergoing an imaging program, such as a CT scan or an MRI. When the precise locale of your pain is identified, effective and safe strategies to address your condition can be constructed.

Remember – If you or a loved one has exhibited middle back pain, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Our Spine Specialists are here to help. They are here to provide you with the medical care you need to help you with your condition. If you are interested in booking an appointment with one of our world-renowned doctors, be sure to call us at 516-355-0111 to make an appointment.