The bad news is that the numbers of those suffering mid back pain are growing in our fast-paced society. The good news is that you do not have to be among them.
Mid back pain is most frequently caused by irritation or injury to muscles and ligaments supporting your thoracic spine. What is the thoracic spine? it’s the back of your chest, in layman’s terms. It involves your spine’s middle group of 12 vertebrae.
Mid Back Movement
The middle part of your back does not move as much as the upper and lower parts. Since these 12 vertebrae connect to your ribs, they spend most of their time simply keeping the back part of your ribs in place. This protects the spinal discs and joints in the mid back from the kind of wear experienced by those in the upper or lower back. Mid back pain usually does not originate in the vertebrae, discs, or joints.
Muscles and ligaments in the mid back work mainly to keep your spine straight. If you have mid back pain, it will usually be muscles and ligaments.
Mid Back Pain Causes
Mid back pain will usually be caused by one or more of these:
1. injury or irritation to mid back muscles and ligaments
2. scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
3. habitually poor posture
4. lack of adequate exercise
5. lack of muscle conditioning
6. repetitive motions of the chest/back area
7. prolonged sitting
8. unhealed past injuries
9. incorrect lifting techniques
Mid Back Pain Aggravation
Some people, knowing that mid back pain can be caused by a lack of exercise, go to the opposite extreme. They get overly zealous about exercise. One of the following may sound like you.
VOLLEYBALL: You barely managed to get under the ball and pop it up. Your team cheers at your amazing stretch! You run backwards to take your serve, swing your arm back, and are suddenly caught by chest pain as well as mid back pain. You probably just suffered a painful rib joint pain (subluxation). You have back pain when inhaling. If you continue that volleyball game, you will aggravate mid back pain.
COMPUTER: You sit in front of a computer throughout your workday. You try not to slouch, but you get weary and forget. Many times, you are stressed, trying to complete a project on time. At first, your mid back pain occurred at the end of the day. Now, it seems as though you have mid back pain all day long. If you don’t make ergonomic changes in your work station, or take time for exercise at various points in the day, you will aggravate mid back pain.
POSTURE: Your mother always told you to stand up straight – and you used to do it. But after a recent injury, you began to unconsciously favor the area that was injured. It healed, but you continued to sit and walk with changed posture. It wasn’t long until you had mid back pain now and then. You changed your posture further, and now the mid back pain is constant. You aggravated it.
Mid Back Pain Treatment
Most common mid pack pain can be treated with simple, gentle exercise. Rest from normal, more strenuous activities, but do not stay in bed. Alternate hot and cold compresses to relieve the pain. You may also want to take an over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.
If your mid back pain persists for more than a few days, you should seek medical advice.