Mid back pain can occur anywhere along your spine starting just below the neck and stopping at the bottom of the rib cage. Twelve vertebrae called thoracic vertebrae (T1-T12) make up the mid back, and since these vertebrae are attached to the rib cage, their movement is limited. The middle back does, however, absorb pressures placed on the spine and it also provides structural support to the neck, lower back, and ribs, so painful problems in the thoracic spine are not unheard of.
Back pain can develop, either gradually or suddenly, for many reasons. Muscular strain is the most common cause of mid back pain. The muscles can become strained from activities like lifting of heavy objects, traumatic injury, or sitting for a prolonged period. Other back pain causes can come from arthritis, bulging or ruptured discs located between the spine's vertebrae, or strained ligaments.
Since it originates in the thoracic area of the spine, mid back pain is often called thoracic back pain.
Symptoms may include:
- Aching or stiffness
- Sharp pain
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness or tingling
- Chronic middle back pain (lasting more than 3 months)
If you're suffering from neck pain, mid back pain, or lower back pain, contact your doctor. He or she can perform tests including:
- Range of motion
- Nerve function
- CT scan
- Once the cause of your pain is pinpointed, your doctor can then prescribe treatment options which can include over-the-counter medication and the use of heat and ice therapy.
- In cases where there is nerve impingement in the thoracic spine caused by a herniated disc, bone spur, or other serious problem, patients may require more than conservative treatment to relieve their symptoms. Fortunately, there are other options available for pain relief, including the state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures.