Back pain can occur in various locations of the back, and the mid back is no exception. The muscles, ligaments, bones or discs of the thoracic spine may become irritated or injured, leading to various degrees of discomfort along the middle part of the back. The thoracic spine is the area below the neck and above the base of the rib cage. Twelve back bones and the corresponding discs between them are located in the thoracic spine.
What causes mid back pain?
The most common culprits of pain in the mid back are inadequate exercise and muscle toning, poor posture, obesity, and the sedentary lifestyle that many people live today. Other things linked to mid back pain include improper lifting techniques, repetitive torsal motions, muscle sprain, scoliosis, herniated disc, poor rehabilitation from previous injuries, car accidents or other injury, osteoarthritis, aging, poor diet, and smoking. Much of the time, problems with the soft tissues of the back are the root cause of mid back pain.
What is the treatment?
The first step in treating mid back pain is identifying the cause and contributing factors. Dr. Charla Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC can diagnose the cause of your mid back pain. Once it is determined, a personalized treatment plan can be developed to suit your needs.
- Home remedies – most patients start with home treatments for mid back pain before seeing a doctor. Some common methods are alternating ice and heat on the mid back, taking over-the-counter pain medications, and performing exercises and stretches to strengthen and loosen the back muscles.
- Posture improvement – many patients with mid back pain also focus on improving their posture. This might include standing straighter, keeping the shoulders back, taking periodic breaks from sitting, and adjusting items like the chair or computer monitor at work.
- Medical intervention – if home remedies aren’t working and pain continues, it is recommended to visit a doctor such as Dr. Charla Fischer. Physical therapy, prescription pain medication or muscle relaxers, steroid injections, or chiropractic care are some of the treatments a medical professional might advise. If less invasive approaches like these are unsuccessful, back surgery could be the recommended solution.
How do I maintain a healthy mid back?
Avoiding an accident or a fall may be impossible, but there are some ways to reduce your risk of mid back pain from other causes. One of the best ways is to strengthen your back muscles and your core, both of which will give you a better chance of a healthy spine. Dr. Charla Fischer can recommend some great exercises and techniques that focus on strengthening these important areas of your body. Other suggestions are to adjust your posture and improve the ergonomics of your lifestyle, such as using a standing desk instead of sitting all the time, moving your computer screen to eye level, and making sure your feet are flat on the ground when sitting. You may also want to change your sleeping position to one that is more back-friendly, such as on your side with a pillow between your bent knees. Practicing proper lifting techniques will also protect your mid back from injury and pain. Regular exercise helps keep your spine and entire body healthy, strong, and flexible. Finally, proper nutrition gives your body the correct fuel to help it work better and lower the risk of illness and injury. None of these tips for maintaining a healthy back are very difficult or overwhelming for most people, so consider making these efforts to avoid mid back pain.
Contact NYC spine surgeon Dr. Fischer today if you have mid back pain that needs additional treatment.