Mid Back Pain
The mid back is not a clearly defined area anatomically but for this article I have defined it as the lower half of the thoracic spine reaching from the sixth thoracic vertebra down to the twelfth, a region of the spine just above the lumbar spine.
The middle back pain spine area is designed to allow a good degree of rotation of the body but limit the amount of flexion and extension (forward and backward bending) allowed. This is to prevent undue compression of the contents of the thoracic cage, the heart and the lungs.
There are many structures in this region which could be causes of middle back pain (or mid back pain as it is also called) but the main ones are the facet joints and the joints which the lower ribs make as they attach to the vertebrae at the back and side of the individual bones.
What causes middle back pain exactly? This may not be clear in many cases but the facet and rib joints are good candidates for producing the typical middle back pain symptoms. They can cause local pain but also refer pain a certain distance from its source, in some cases giving chest pain which can be mistaken for a heart problem.
Although other areas can refer pain which is felt as middle back pain, neck structures have been shown to be able to refer pain only down to the base of the shoulder blade, meaning the mid back as defined in this article will not likely be directly affected by the neck.
A physiotherapist can assess and treat mid back pain for you, using various techniques including mobilisations, postural correction and advice, fitness advice and middle back pain exercises. Chiropractors' middle back pain treatment is similar but they have their own specialised assessment techniques, diagnostic categories and manipulative treatments.