We often hear about neck or lower back pain, but mid back pain is also relatively common. This pain can be just as disruptive to everyday life as other types of back pain.
There are many effective ways to treat mid back pain and get back to normal.
What is mid back pain?
Mid-back pain is the pain you feel between your shoulders and the bottom of your ribs. It can occur for many reasons, and in some cases, you may not know why your back is hurting.
The back can be divided into two main parts: the sides of the back (mainly muscles, connective tissue and skin) and the spine. The column can be further divided into 4 main sections:
One reason you might be experiencing pain in your mid-back could be a problem with your spine. The spine protects the spinal cord and the nerves that run from the cord to the rest of the body. It also provides the structural support that allows the body to stand upright.
The spine is made up of bones, called vertebrae, separated by intervertebral discs that absorb pressure and impact on the vertebrae. It is also connected to muscles and ligaments that support the spine and integrate with other parts of the body.
Middle back pain can be caused by problems with any one of these parts of the back or a combination of several of them. It’s important to find a healthcare professional who takes the time to find the root cause of your back pain, not just relieve the pain itself.
What should I do if I have mid back pain?
If you have persistent or severe pain in your mid-back, consult your healthcare professional to determine the root cause. If you experience chest pain, jaw pain, leg muscle weakness or paralysis, or loss of bladder control along with back pain, call emergency services.
The most common symptom of mid-back pain is pain in the area between your shoulders and the bottom of your ribs. You may experience sharp pain or a dull ache, and the pain may be chronic or acute, depending on the root cause of the pain.
In addition to pain symptoms, you may also experience muscle stiffness or a feeling that the joints in your spine are stiff. Some patients describe their back pain as a burning sensation.
Patients with mid-back pain also often experience lower back pain, shoulder pain, and/or neck pain, as the muscles and connective tissues are connected along the back.
What are the symptoms of mid back pain?
Symptoms of mid back pain are aching (dull or sharp), aches, burning sensations, or stiffness in the mid back.
What causes mid back pain?
Middle back pain can be caused by almost any part of the back including muscles, nerves and bones. There are some underlying causes of mid back pain that are more common than others, which we will briefly touch on here.
What symptoms result in mid back pain?
Mid-back pain is a symptom of many conditions, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, poor posture, osteoporosis, arthritis, or injury.
One of the most common causes of mid-back pain is sitting or standing with poor posture throughout the day. If you spend most of your day hunched over a computer, your slouched posture is almost certainly contributing to your back pain.
Damage to Spinal Discs
Occasionally, the discs between the vertebrae can herniate. This means that the soft inner part of the disc protrudes through a break in the hard outer cartilage of the disc. Herniated discs put extra pressure on the nerves exiting the spine, causing pain or numbness.
Disc degeneration can also cause mid-back pain. In conditions like degenerative disc disease, the discs become inflamed, which can produce severe pain. Likewise, osteoarthritis of the spine involves the degeneration of discs and can cause a lot of back pain.
damage to the vertebrae
Damage to the bones in the spine is another common cause of mid back pain. When the vertebrae are damaged, they can put pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves that exit the spine. This can lead to pain, numbness and general discomfort.
Osteoporosis is one of the most common reasons why vertebrae wear down or become damaged. Weakened vertebrae can develop compression fractures and other fractures that are quite painful and disabling.
Sports injuries, car accidents or other acute injuries can easily lead to back pain. Trauma to the spine or muscles in the mid back results in ongoing pain until the injury heals.
Patients can also experience overuse injuries, muscle strains and sprains that cause back pain.
Some mid-back pain occurs when the nerves in the lower back become irritated or injured. Pinched nerves, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canals through which the nerves pass), and other anatomical changes or injuries can all lead to nerve pain in the back.
Conditions that cause chronic muscle pain, such as fibromyalgia or lupus, can also lead to back pain.
The pain associated with these conditions is usually not limited to the back, and these patients often experience pain throughout their entire body.
Scoliosis occurs when the spine develops an abnormal curve, which can lead to back pain. Depending on its severity, scoliosis can be quite painful if it presses on spinal discs or nerves.
Studies have shown that obese patients are more likely to experience back pain than non-obese patients. Although obesity is usually not a direct cause of mid-back pain, it can make patients more susceptible to developing back pain from other causes.
Middle Back Pain in Women
Pregnant women often suffer from back pain due to a combination of the biomechanical forces applied to the spine by the growing fetus and the loosening of its ligaments due to the hormone relaxin released during pregnancy.
What organs can cause pain in the middle of the back?
The kidneys and gallbladder are organs that can cause pain in the middle of the back. Middle back pain can be a symptom of kidney stones.
You should see a specialist doctor for acute, recurrent, or chronic pain in your mid-back. A healthcare professional can make sure your back pain isn’t caused by a potentially serious health condition, such as a tumor.
Your healthcare professional will work to identify the cause of your back pain before prescribing a treatment. You may need x-rays or other tests of your spine to rule out fractures, problems with your spinal discs, or other potential problems with your vertebrae or discs.
If you are suffering from mid back pain, there is good news: back pain is very treatable in most cases. Effective treatments for mid back pain include:
Chiropractic Adjustments and Care
Chiropractic adjustments help reposition the spine and correct misalignments that can cause pinched nerves, system dysfunction
nervous system and other problems that cause back pain. Chiropractors also offer whole-body health care.
Physical therapy is an effective way to relieve mid back pain. Physical therapists can help relieve back pain with a combination of stretching, strengthening, balancing, massage therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and other therapies.
Strengthening exercises are an important part of treating mid-back pain. Strengthening the muscles around the spine can help prevent future injuries.
Pain management includes treatments such as pain medications, physical therapy and even alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Life style changes
Adopting healthy habits, such as maintaining good posture and sleeping well, can help prevent back pain.
Remember, mid back pain doesn’t have to be a part of your life. With the right treatments, you can ease the pain and get back to your normal life.