What is mid-back pain?
Mid-back pain refers to pain or discomfort in the thoracic spine — the back region between the rib cage and the base of the neck. This area has 12 spinal disks, several vertebrae, and many muscles and ligaments. Any of these structures can get irritated or hurt, which can cause pain in the middle of the back. Back pain in the middle can make it hard to do daily tasks or do things you enjoy. Mid-back pain can be treated in several ways, such as through physical therapy, medicine, or surgery. Mid-back pain is usually caused by an injury, like a fall or car accident. It can also be caused by diseases that get worse over time, like arthritis.
Mid-back pain on the right side can happen for various reasons, including injury or issues affecting internal organs. The location and type of pain can help a doctor diagnose the issue. People can often find relief from back pain with home remedies such as OTC pain relievers and rest.
Mid-back pain on the left side could result from poor posture, often placing extra strain on your muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae. This extra strain and pressure can cause pain in your middle back. Common examples of poor posture include hunching while using a computer, texting, or playing video games.
Causes of mid-back pain
Pain in the thoracic spine is often caused by a sudden movement, such as during sports or home improvement projects. Most of the time, people who aren’t very active are more likely to get these strains and sprains.
There are many possible causes of middle back pain, ranging from injury to poor posture.
- Fractured vertebrae
- Herniated disks
- Kidney problems
- Lifestyle factors
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Poor posture
- Mental health conditions
What issues does pain in the mid back lead to?
This includes spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis (a spinal canal narrowing), and degenerated, ruptured, or herniated discs. Osteoporosis, or thin bones, can also cause pain in the middle back. What parts of your back can hurt in the middle? Kidney problems Pain in the mid back, just under the ribcage, and on both sides of the spine can be caused by kidney problems. An infection or a kidney stone causes most kidney pain. Symptoms like fever are also present.
Treatment for mid-back pain
Treatment for mid-back pain depends on what is causing it. Since back pain is pretty standard, most people first try treating it at home using easy, cheap, and noninvasive methods. If home remedies don’t help your symptoms, you might need to see a doctor or have surgery.
There are several methods you can do at home to treat middle back pain:
- Ice the area and later apply heat.
This is one of the most common methods that can provide immediate relief.
- Consider taking over-the-counter pain medications
Such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) to reduce swelling and pain.
- Stretch and strengthen the back muscles by doing exercises such as yoga.
Exercise will also strengthen the groups of muscles that support your left mid-back, which will help relieve back pain. General exercises like swimming, walking, and cycling, as well as specific exercises and stretches for this area, are recommended.
What happens if mid-back pain is left untreated?
When mid-back pain goes untreated for too long, it can irritate nerves for a long time. This can cause permanent disability. Spinal injuries that aren’t treated can even cause spinal stenosis, when the spinal canal gets smaller, radiculopathy, which is severe nerve pain, and nerve damage.
When diagnosing and treating middle back pain quickly, it can help control the pain and lessen the chance of problems like becoming disabled. Get medical help immediately if your pain is severe, lasts a long time, or worries you. In some cases, the reason for middle back pain can be dangerous to your life. Call 911 immediately if you or someone with you has middle back pain, chest pain, trouble breathing, loss of bladder or bowel control, or tingling or paralysis in the arms or legs.