Understanding Thoracic (Mid-Back) Pain

While pain that seems to be originating in the mid-back isn’t as common as neck or low back pain, there are still a number of conditions that can affect the thoracic spine that can cause pain.

Thoracic Pain Symptoms

The construction of the thoracic part of the spine is slightly different than the structures of the cervical or lumbar spine because it is connected to and supports the rib cage. The thoracic pain symptoms arising from this part of the back often have to do with its mechanical differences.

The thoracic portion of the spine is comprised of the 12 vertebrae in the middle of the back, between the cervical vertebrae above and the lumbar vertebrae below. The thoracic portion of the spine has thinner intervertebral discs, a limited range of flexibility and the spinal canal running through this part of the spine is narrower than in other areas. Though it is less common to experience a disc problem in this portion of the spine, it is still possible. But due to the narrower spinal canal in the thoracic vertebrae, the spinal cord is at greater risk for injury if a vertebra in the mid-back becomes damaged. There are a variety of conditions that can affect the mid-back, resulting in quite a few thoracic pain symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

While the thoracic spine is firmly constructed and normally quite stable, problems causing mid-back pain do arise. Understanding what is causing thoracic pain symptoms is important in developing an effective plan to treat the pain.

Depending on the condition causing the discomfort, thoracic or mid-back pain symptoms typically involve pain in the mid-to upper back, pain that seems to be centered in the chest area or radiating out from it and especially in cases where spinal nerves are involved: shoulder pain, arm pain, pain in the hands or fingers, finger numbness and sometimes a general feeling of weakness in the arms, hands or fingers.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these thoracic pain symptoms, it is crucial to determine what is causing it. It is also important to note that people who are suffering from thoracic pain symptoms should seek immediate medical attention if the pain is severe, followed by a traumatic injury (hard falls or automobile accidents, for example) or is accompanied by an unexplained fever or headache as these can be signs of more serious thoracic pain conditions that require swift medical treatment.

Even if there seem to be no other symptoms associated with pain that is coming from the mid-back, people who are suffering from thoracic pain should seek a proper diagnosis by a spine health expert.  This step is critical to ensuring that the condition causing the pain doesn’t worsen or place undue stress or damage on other parts of the spine.

No matter how mild or severe, constant or intermittent, chronic pain in the mid-back is not a normal part of life or aging. If you or someone you know needs help in achieving long-term resolution of thoracic pain symptoms, the expert team at BASIC has the vast experience, advanced-training and specialty qualifications to help.

Health Tips For Thoracic

  • Focus daily on exercises designed to increase spinal mobility
  • Practice good posture – no shoulder slumping!
  • Introduce some deep-breathing techniques to help oxygenate spinal muscles
  • Maintain a normal body weight – too much can put unnecessary pressure on the spine

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