What is Middle Back Pain?
Typically, the term middle back pain describes any pain or discomfort felt in the middle back region, including the area where the rib cage connects to the chest region of the spine (known as the thoracic spine). Middle back pain can be acute or chronic; the levels and types of pain experienced depend almost completely upon the cause and severity of the underlying issue. With an accurate diagnosis, there are many treatment options available for middle back pain.
Middle Back Pain Symptoms
If the traditional middle back pain symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to be proactive about identifying and alleviating your condition. So, what might be causing your middle back pain? Here are some common ailments that contribute to mid-back discomfort in men and women:
- Strained or Irritated Muscles
Lifting heavy objects improperly or repeatedly performing the same motion can aggravate muscle tissue and damage small blood vessels, causing pain in the middle back region.
- Injured Discs
Discs lie between spinal vertebrae and act as cushions to absorb shock and facilitate movement. When a disc is injured, its inner, liquid-like nucleus may seep through the weakened point in its hard outer casing. The seeping material places strain on surrounding nerves, ligaments and tissues while simultaneously threatening the structural integrity of the spine. Discomfort and sometimes debilitating pain results when a disc becomes injured. Disc degeneration or sudden trauma may cause a slipped disc.
- Fractured Vertebrae
High impact accidents, such as car crashes or violent falls, as well as extreme spinal deterioration over time, can lead to a vertebral fracture. Intense back pain that worsens with movement typically occurs in correlation with a spinal fracture. In grave situations, this complication may affect the spinal cord.
Osteoporosis is an ailment that happens when new bone is not created quickly enough to replace old bone, resulting in frail, brittle bones. Osteoporosis makes the spinal column vulnerable to structural failures and causes pain as breaks, strains and shifts in weight occur.
As you age, you become increasingly at risk for maladies that may cause back pain, such as spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal canal narrows abnormally.
Spondylitis, an illness that incites inflammation in the spinal joints, can cause middle back pain. Other infections may cause similar results.
- Spinal conditions, such as scoliosis
Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, can cause pain as the proper weight distribution system of the spine is disturbed and tissues, ligaments and nerves are disrupted. Many spine complications have similar effects.
- Health issues, like tumors or disease
Tumors can spur pain by upsetting the spine’s inherent architecture and placing pressure upon nerves, ligaments and tissues in the middle back.
Middle Back Pain Causes
You may be suffering from middle back pain if you encounter:
- Stiffness and tightness, especially in the morning
- Muscle spasms
- Shooting pain
- Bad posture
- Shoulder, neck or hip pain
- Sleeping problems
Depression and anxiety may also accompany your middle back pain. In the case of chest pain, difficulty breathing, jaw pain, loss of bladder control, severe abdominal pain or if paralysis in the leg occurs, seek emergency medical assistance as these complications may signify a life-threatening problem.
Middle Back Pain Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Family history, pregnancy, obesity, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and stress can increase your risk of developing middle back pain. Begin keeping track of your symptoms, writing down what triggers your pain and what alleviates it. If your discomfort can be mitigated by over-the-counter medication, ice packs or heating pads, you may be enduring a strained muscle that will resolve on its own. If the root cause of your pain is unresponsive to conservative treatment, more extensive measures may be necessary to regain comfort.
The road to healing begins with an accurate diagnosis. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our team of experienced specialists is committed to helping you discover the cause of your pain and eliminating it. Expert, Board-certified physicians will work with you to create a customized treatment plan based upon your unique symptoms, medical history, physical state, needs and preferences. For patients with elusive conditions, we may recommend utilizing pain mapping technologies.
Pain mapping procedures apply numbing medication to suspect nerves in order to temporarily and immediately reduce pain and determine the exact location of your issue. We may also recommend undergoing an imaging program, such as a CT scan or an MRI. When the precise locale of your pain is identified, effective and safe strategies to address your condition can be constructed.
Middle Back Pain Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach
Certain types of middle back pain are responsive to physical therapy, massage and at-home treatments. If a fractured vertebrae or ruptured disc is causing your discomfort, however, minimally invasive surgery may be imperative to relief. As opposed to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery involves making a minute incision. Because the procedure is so non-invasive, the surgical site generally scars very little, loses little blood and requires almost no recovery time.
Types of minimally invasive surgery relevant to middle back pain include:
Discectomies are designed to resolve the complications associated with herniated discs. During a discectomy, the surgeon will remove the injured portion of an affected disc. They will then treat the disc wall to prevent further painful leakage.
Microdiscectomies are almost identical to discectomies, except they involve even more delicate and minute surgical processes.
A fusion procedure joins two vertebrae with a bridge structure and replaces damaged discs with “spacers.” Fusions are geared toward restoring structural balance and strengthening the spine, so that you can regain your range of motion and ease.
Chronic middle back pain can decrease your quality of life and keep you from doing the things you love. Depending on the origin of your discomfort, delaying care may lead to lasting consequences, such as permanent nerve damage. Our team of spine specialists is ready to guide you through every step of the healing process, so you can live a full, pain-free life.
Visit one of our North Texas locations or fill out the form on this page to schedule your initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you!