Thoracic (Mid Back) Pain Pain Around Chest Area

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Pain in Chest Area as a Symptom of Thoracic Spine Damage

When trauma has occurred to the thoracic spine, compression may begin on the already thin discs in the area. Though it is rare in this part of the spine, if pressure on a nerve or blood vessel occurs, it can cause pain in the upper-to-mid-back that radiates to other parts of the body, including the chest.

Thoracic Pain Symptoms –Pain in Chest Area

If both thoracic pain and numb fingers are present, the individual needs to seek help from a spine health expert as these are symptoms of a more pronounced issue. Thoracic pain may radiate down the arm and into the hand depending on the type and severity of the damage. Damage to different nerves and discs will determine what body parts experience pain.

Understanding Pain in the Chest Area as a Symptom of Thoracic Pain

Thoracic spine damage may lead to pain around the chest area. When blood vessels or nerves become compressed in the spine, pain can extend to other parts of the body. Since the thoracic region begins at the bottom of the cervical spine and ends five inches below the shoulder blades, it encases the chest organs in the ribcage. This makes it much more likely for the pain to radiate around the chest area when damage to the thoracic spine has occurred. However, a patient experiencing pain around the chest for the first time, should seek medical attention to confirm it is not due to another life-threatening condition.

Although injury to the thoracic region is rare due to its relative stability and limited flexibility, it can be traumatized due to traumatic accidents or degenerative diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis can lead to degenerated thoracic spine discs. Due to the normal aging process, the spinal canal passing through the thoracic region may become even narrower causing a “pinch” on the spinal cord. All of these circumstances can lead to pain around the chest.

Once other potential causes of the chest pain have been ruled out, patients should seek guidance from a spine health expert to get to the bottom of what is causing the thoracic pain symptoms. Sometimes physical therapy or chiropractic care can help alleviate the thoracic pain which may in turn decrease the accompanying pain around the chest area. These treatments can include manual therapy, chiropractic spinal decompression, electronic stimulation, exercises focused on teaching correct posture form, and using stretching and strength building exercises. Many times patients with thoracic pain tend to carry themselves in an incorrect manner to keep the pain at bay. However, after a while, secondary muscles begin to weaken because of the undue stress placed on them from this poor gait and posture. The pain around the chest area may be intensified from sitting a certain way to alleviate the thoracic pain and it is the underlying issues that need resolution in order to make the pain in both areas subside.

At-a-Glance: Pain in the Chest Area as a Symptom of Thoracic Spine Damage

  • Notify a medical professional the first time pain around the chest is experienced, with or without thoracic pain to rule out other life-threatening conditions
  • Pain around the chest may be a combination of thoracic spine damage and poor posture
  • Stretching may help to alleviate chest area pain caused by thoracic spine damage
  • A physical therapist may recommend a foam roller to work on and strengthen the thoracic region

Health Tips For Pain in the Chest Area

  • If this is the first time you are experiencing chest pain, seek medical help right away
  • Rest until pain has subsided
  • Ice the rib area for 10 to 15 minutes
  • If permitted by your spine health expert, try gentle stretching exercises
  • Consider physical therapy or chiropractic as a treatment for the thoracic spine damage

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