What is middle back pain?
The thoracic spine is an area where middle back pain can be found below the neck, above the bottom of your rib cage and below the top of your chin. This area is home to 12 back bones, the T1 through T12 vertebrae. Between them are disks.
The spinal column protects and supports the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a long, complex bundle of nerves that allows brain to communicate with other parts of the body.
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Middle back pain symptoms
Middle back pain can manifest in many ways. The cause of your pain will determine which symptoms you experience.
The most common signs of pain in the mid back are:
- Muscle aches
- The dullest pain
- A burning sensation
- Sharp or stabbing pain
- Tightness or stiffness of the muscles
You may also experience other serious symptoms such as:
- Tingling or numbness in your legs, arms, and chest
- chest pain
- Symptoms of weakness in the arms or legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
What causes pain in the middle of the back?
- Poor posture
Middle back pain can be caused by repeated pressure on the spine. This pressure can be caused by poor posture. Your back muscles and ligaments have to work hard to maintain balance when you slouch. These muscles can become sore and cause pain in the middle of your back.
A meta-analysis of 95 studies about weight and lower back pain found a positive correlation between obesity, back pain, and both. The risk of developing back pain increases with increasing weight.
- Muscle strain or sprain
Sprains refer to the stretching or tearing of ligaments. Strains can be defined as the stretching or tearing of muscles and tendons. Strains can be caused by lifting heavy objects regularly, especially if they are not properly formed. An awkward or sudden movement can cause strains and sprains.
- Falls or other injuries
The injury rate to the middle back is lower than that of the cervical spine (neck), and lumbar spines (lower back). Because it is more rigid and structured, this is why. It is still possible to injure your middle back. Most often, these injuries are caused by:
A fall from heights or down stairs can be considered a serious fall.
- a car accident
- blunt force trauma
- sports accident
Anyone can sustain a thoracic spinal injury, but it is more common in older adults. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel back pain.
- Herniated disk
A herniated disc is when the inner, gel-like disk pushes against the cartilage’s outer ring, placing pressure on a nerve. Also known as slipped disks, herniated disks can also be called ruptured disks.
The nerve pressure can cause pain, tingling or numbness in your middle back, and other areas where the nerve travels such as the legs.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition. This happens when the cartilage that covers your joints begins to break down and bones rub together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC) estimates that 30 million Americans have OA. It is the leading cause of disability among adult Americans.
Back pain is more common in older people. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), back pain is more common in those aged between 30 and 50 years. As we age, our bodies naturally experience changes such as thinning bones and muscle mass loss, and fluid between the spine joints. These things can lead to back pain.
Vertebrae injuries are often caused by trauma such as a fall or a car accident. Fractures are more common in those with low bone density such as those with OA.
Fractures can lead to severe pain in the middle of your back that becomes worse when you move. Your fracture could also be affecting your spinal cord if you experience incontinence or tingling..
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Broken bones or fractures can lead to serious injuries. These injuries often require immediate attention. You can wear a brace or go to physical therapy. Surgery may also be an option.