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Middle Back Pain

2110 S 17th St


600 Beaman St
Clinton, NC 28328

116 N Norwood St
Wallace, NC 28466

Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain, also known as thoracic spine pain, refers to discomfort or pain in the region of the back between the lower neck and the bottom of the rib cage. This area, known as the thoracic spine, is less mobile than the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions but can still be susceptible to pain and injury.

Common Causes of Middle Back Pain:

  1. Muscle Strain or Sprain:

    • Overuse, improper lifting, poor posture, or sudden movements can strain muscles and ligaments in the middle back.

  2. Poor Posture:

    • Sitting or standing for long periods with improper posture can lead to middle back pain.

    • Common in people with desk jobs or those who use computers extensively.

  3. Herniated or Bulging Discs:

    • Discs between the thoracic vertebrae can herniate or bulge, pressing on nerves and causing pain.

  4. Degenerative Disc Disease:

    • The natural aging process can lead to the degeneration of discs in the thoracic spine, causing pain and stiffness.

  5. Spinal Stenosis:

    • Narrowing of the spinal canal in the thoracic region can compress the spinal cord or nerves, leading to pain.

  6. Scoliosis:

    • Abnormal curvature of the spine can cause uneven pressure on the thoracic spine, leading to pain.

  7. Osteoarthritis:

    • Degeneration of the cartilage between the facet joints in the thoracic spine can cause pain and stiffness.

  8. Injury or Trauma:

    • Accidents, falls, or sports injuries can damage the bones, muscles, or ligaments in the middle back.

  9. Other Conditions:

    • Osteoporosis: Weakening of bones can lead to vertebral fractures.

    • Fibromyalgia: A chronic condition causing widespread pain and tenderness.

    • Infections or Tumors: Rare but can cause middle back pain.


  • Dull, aching, or sharp pain in the middle back.

  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion.

  • Muscle spasms.

  • Pain that radiates to the chest, abdomen, or other areas.

  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness if nerves are affected.

Common Injuries Associated with Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain can be both a symptom of and a risk factor for various injuries. Common injuries associated with middle back pain include:

  1. Muscle and Ligament Strains:

    • Common from overuse, improper lifting, or sudden movements.

    • Symptoms include localized pain, swelling, and muscle spasms.

  2. Herniated Discs:

    • Occurs when a thoracic disc bulges or ruptures, pressing on nerves.

    • Symptoms include sharp pain, tingling, and numbness.

  3. Fractures:

    • Vertebral fractures often result from trauma or conditions like osteoporosis.

    • Symptoms include sudden, intense pain and limited mobility.

  4. Spinal Stenosis:

    • Narrowing of the spinal canal can compress the spinal cord or nerves.

    • Symptoms include pain, cramping, and weakness in the middle back and possibly radiating to other areas.

  5. Scoliosis:

    • Abnormal curvature of the spine can cause uneven pressure and pain.

    • Symptoms include visible spinal curvature, pain, and stiffness.

Prevention and Management

  • Medications: Pain relievers (NSAIDs, acetaminophen), muscle relaxants, and corticosteroid injections for inflammation.

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen back muscles, improve posture, and increase flexibility.

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, avoiding heavy lifting, and using proper body mechanics.

  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Ensuring proper posture and ergonomic setups for workstations to reduce strain on the middle back.

  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat to relax muscles and improve blood flow, and cold to reduce inflammation and numb pain.

  • Alternative Therapies: Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy.

  • Surgical Options: In severe cases, procedures such as discectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion may be considered.

Effective management of middle back pain involves a combination of medical treatment, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms, improve mobility, and prevent further injury.

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