Middle Back Pain Exercises
Middle back pain is not defined strictly and I have defined it as back pain from around the sixth thoracic vertebra down to the twelfth where the thorax meets the lumbar spine. It is also referred to as mid back pain and is not well differentiated from upper back pain or thoracic pain.
The spine in the middle back is the lower half of the thoracic spine. The thoracic vertebrae in this area are designed to allow rotation of the body but little forward and back movement (flexion and extension) as this might cramp the lungs and heart.
The neck is not usually involved in pain in the middle back although the low neck joints can refer pain right down to the tip of the shoulder blade which is close to this area.
The main causes of middle back pain appear to be the joints in the area, including the facet joints and the costovertebral joints which are between the ribs and the vertebrae. Disc related pain is extremely uncommon in this area and a disc prolapse can give serious problems as there is little room in the spinal canal for a protrusion. This can lead to symptoms that the spinal cord is being compressed.
As the thoracic spine is the site of serious conditions more commonly that the lumbar or neck areas it is important to discuss any unusual symptoms at once with your doctor. These could include difficulty walking, loss of muscle power in a leg or both legs and any problems with bladder and bowel control.
Treatment of Middle Back Pain
Physiotherapists – middle back pain treatment could include assessment and treatment with mobilisation techniques, postural correction and range of movement exercises.
Chiropractors – middle back pain management would cover assessment and similar treatment with perhaps more emphasis on manipulation to restore normal joint mechanics.
Exercises for Middle Back Pain
The mid back is a difficult area to get at in terms of exercises, particularly if flexion and extension are desired as an exercise. Typical exercises might be: