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Middle Back Pain Symptoms

Middle back pain can be troublesome and sometimes disabling but is much less common than low back pain or neck pain. Mid back pain is a term also used for pain in this area which is not well defined but I have settled on the area between the sixth and twelfth thoracic vertebrae, the patch of the back just above the lumbar spine.

Typical middle back pain symptoms are a troublesome aching in the back during the maintenance of a posture such as typing or working at a bench or desk. This can increase into a pain which may become burning in nature with sharp jolts if a certain movement is performed. Due to the ribs joints joining the vertebrae at the back they can refer pain around the thorax as chest pain which can be mistaken for more medically serious conditions.

Pins and needles and numbness or other symptoms are rare and if there is any disturbance of walking or bladder and bowel control then the situation should be discussed immediately with a medical advisor.

Further information about middle back pain can be accessed at Backpainexpert and Wrongdiagnosis.com.


Middle Back Pain – Neck

The lower joints of the neck can refer pain down to the lowest point of the shoulder blade or scapula so can be close to the mid back areas but cannot refer pain down as far as we are thinking of.


Middle Back Pain – Spine

The lower six thoracic vertebrae make up the spine in this area and this part of the spine is mostly concerned with spinal rotation and the joints with the lower ribs. The thoracic spine has limited flexion and extension (forward and backward bending) to avoid compressing the heart and lungs too severely.

Each side of the thoracic spine the facet joints are formed from part of each vertebra above and below and the ribs make two small joints with the side of each vertebra.


Causes – Middle Back Pain

The mid back area is very rarely the site of the disc related problems which are so common in the lumbar spine. There is very little space in the spinal canal in this region and any disc prolapses will give symptoms of pressure on the spinal cord, such as the serious symptoms mentioned above.

The facet joints are known to be potential causes of pain as they have joint capsules (surrounding fibrous bags) which are well supplied with nerves. A strain or sprain or a longer term postural stress on these joints can result in pain.

The costovertebral joints, the joints between the vertebrae and the ribs, can also be causes of pain.

Poor posture at a desk or bench such as when using a computer or doing paperwork or manual work is one of the causes of mid back pain. Adjusting the workstation to fit the person and taking a break regularly from any static position are two useful strategies for managing this kind of pain.


Middle Back Pain Treatment

Physiotherapists treat middle back pain routinely with mobilisation techniques, postural advice and correction, pacing and range of motion middle back pain exercises. Chiropractors middle back pain treatment has some similarities although manipulation of the thoracic joints is more likely to be employed to restore the normal joint functioning in the area.




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