Recover from your middle back pain, muscle aches, dull pain, or a burning sensation with the newest pain treatments. The team of spine pain management doctors use conservative methods such as physical therapy, hot and cold therapy, injection-based therapies, such as nerve blocks, steroid injections, and other procedures to treat patients with middle back pain. Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, massages, or electrical nerve stimulation, can make a big difference for patients with pain in the middle back. Your spine specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians can help you to decide whether alternative treatments can benefit you. As experts in spine pain management, our physicians offer comprehensive treatments that focus on your specific level of pain. Visit our center in Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan to get the middle back pain under control.
Middle Back Pain
Middle back pain is a sensation of pain, which affects the area below the neck and the area above the bottom of the rib cage. This area is other referred to as the thoracic spine, where 12 backbones are located, the T1 to T12. Between these bones, disks reside. The spinal column has the function of protecting the spinal cord, which is a long bundle of nerves that makes it possible for our brain to communicate with the rest of the body.
The bones of the middle back, as well as the muscles, discs, and ligaments, can all lead to damage of these nerves or irritation, which then causes mid-back pain.
One of the biggest risk factors for degenerative disc disease is age. The discs begin to shrink down as we get older and lose their cushioning property and shock-absorbing function. It is estimated that almost all adults over 60 years old suffer from some type of disc degeneration, but not all cases lead to pain.
What are the symptoms of mid-back pain?
As the name of the condition already reveals, one of the main symptoms is pain. However, some patients experience muscle aches, other experience dull pain, a burning sensation, sharp and stabbing pain, or muscle stiffness and muscle tightness. Some more symptoms of mid-back pain include a loss of bowel control or bladder control, weakness in the legs and arms, tingling or numbness in the legs, arms, or chest and chest pain.
What causes mid-back pain?
Poor posture can lead to pressure on the spine that can cause mid-back pain. Whenever you slouch, the ligaments and muscles of the back need to work harder, to keep you balanced. Overuse of these muscles can lead to aches and mid-back pain.
Studies show that weight plays a big role when it comes to the health of your spine. If you are overweight, the risk increases of suffering from mid back pain or lower back pain, as your body has to carry the additional weight.
Another reason behind mid-back pain can be a tear or stretching of the ligaments. Such strains can occur after lifting heavy objects regularly, especially when doing so without proper form. A sprain or a strain can also occur due to a sudden and awkward movement.
The middle back is not as much at risk of suffering an injury, as the neck area or the lower back, because it is more rigid and structured. However, there are still several ways, in which you can injure your middle backs. Such injuries can be caused by a sports accident, a car accident, blunt force trauma, or a hard fall, such as from a certain height or down the stairs.
A thoracic spine injury can affect anyone, however, older people are at a higher risk. When you experience back pain after such an accident, you must seek medical attention immediately.
A herniated disk can occur when the inner and gel-like core of a disk in the back pushes against the outer ring of cartilage, which can put pressure on a nerve. A herniated disk is referred to as a ruptured disk or a slipped disk. This pressure that is put on the nerve can lead to tingling, pain, and numbness in the middle back and in areas where that affected nerve travels, such as the legs.
Another cause of mid-back pain can be osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition, which occurs once the cartilage that covers the joints breaks down and leads to the bones rubbing together. It is a very common condition and one of the main causes of disability in adults.
Age plays a big role when it comes to back pain. The older a person is, the more likely he or she is to experience back pain. Aging can naturally cause wear on the body, by thinning the bones, a reduction in muscle mass, and a reduction of fluid that is found between the joints in the spine. These are all things that can lead to mid-back pain.
A vertebrae fracture often occurs after a trauma, such as a sports injury, a fall, or a car accident. Such vertebrae fractures are another cause of back pain and are more likely to occur in individuals who have a reduced bone density, such as people who suffer from osteoarthritis. This type of pain typically worsens whenever you move and can also lead to numbness, tingling, incontinence, and more. A fracture or a bone break can be a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.
Kidney issues might also lead to pain in the middle of the back and can be a reason why individuals might be experiencing mid back pain right side, although the pain can occur on either side of the pain. Most commonly, this is caused by a kidney infection or kidney stones. Additional symptoms include nausea and vomiting, chills, issues when urinating, and fever.
How is mid-back pain diagnosed?
If you suffer from middle back pain, you must speak to your doctor, to receive a diagnosis. Your doctor will first do a physical exam and look at your spine, head, pelvis, arms, legs, and abdomen. If you have suffered an accident, you might also get a collar around the neck, as this can help to stabilize the spine.
To be able to diagnose the condition, you might also need to get some imaging and neurological tests. A neurological test is done to evaluate the function of the spinal cord and the brain. Your doctor might ask you to wiggle your fingers or your toes during such a test. An imaging test will be able to provide pictures of the inside of the body. Such pictures might reveal a fracture, bone degeneration, as well as other causes of middle back pain. Some possible tests include an ultrasound, an MRI scan, a CT scan, or an X-ray.
What middle back treatment options are there?
Mid back pain treatment will depend on what is causing the pain. As back pain occurs very commonly, most individuals first try home remedies, before seeking medical attention. Some mid-back pain relief options at home include icing the affected area and afterward applying heat to it. This is considered to be one of the most at-home mid-back treatment options, which can also provide quick mid-back pain relief. Some take over-the-counter pain medications, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, which can help to reduce pain and swelling.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can also help to provide relief from the pain. Working on your posture is also very helpful. Make sure that you avoid slouching, take standing breaks whenever you sit for a long period, keep the shoulders back when standing and adjust your chair and computer monitor height whenever you’re working at a desk, which can enable good posture.
In cases where your back pain doesn’t go away even after a couple of days and home remedies don’t help to alleviate the pain, you must speak to your doctor about it. Your doctor might recommend physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescription pain medication, or steroid injections.
Physical therapy sessions can help show you the proper way of doing strengthening and stretching exercises, as well as how to maintain proper posture. If over-the-counter painkillers aren’t sufficient to provide you with mid back pain relief, you might profit from stronger, prescription drugs, which however are in most cases only to be used for a short time.
A corticosteroid injection as a more powerful anti-inflammatory treatment option can help to reduce both swelling and pain. Normally, a corticosteroid injection takes a couple of days before it works, however, the effects of the corticosteroid injections can last as long as several months.
Only once all noninvasive treatment options appear to be unsuccessful, your doctor might recommend surgery. Several procedures can be used in this case, depending on what is causing the pain. Some possible surgical approaches include a diskectomy, a laminectomy, or a laminotomy. A laminectomy is a surgical approach, where the entire lamina or the back wall of the vertebrae is removed, to decrease the pressure that is being put on the spinal cord. A laminotomy is a surgical approach, where a part of the lamina is removed to alleviate a pinched nerve, whereas a diskectomy removes part of the spinal disk for the same reason.
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Can middle-back pain be prevented?
As accidents can lead to mid-back pain, they are more difficult to prevent. However, there are some things that you can do to help protect your spine from other causes of pain. Posture is one of them. If you maintain good posture, you allow your muscles a break for them to strengthen and heal. Make sure to sit straight, to stand straight, to lower the chair height so that the feet sit flat on the ground, move the computer screen to eye level or get a standing desk.
The way you sleep also plays a big role, so consider changing your sleeping position. If you are someone who enjoys sleeping on the back, you might be contributing to your mid-back pain. Try sleeping on the side and put a pillow between the knees, as this is a position that is more protective of the health of your spine. Last but not least, you must have a strong core, good posture, spinal mobility, and endurance. Working with a physical therapist can help you to achieve these goals.
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The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.