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Pain in the Upper and Middle Back

Upper and mid back pain can occur anywhere from the base of the neck to the lower back thoracic.

The doctor may also order an imaging test, such as a bone scan or MRI for back pain to find out if, for example, a broken bone or a herniated disc is causing your pain.

The ribs are attached to a long, flat bone in the center of the chest, called the sternum, and are attached to and surround the back. If a nerve in this area is pinched, irritated, or injured, you may also feel pain in other places the nerves pass through, such as your arms, legs, chest, and abdomen.

The upper and mid back (called the thoracic spine) have:

  • 12 vertebrae. These bones connect to the rib cage. They make up the longest part of the back.
  • Discs that separate each vertebra and cushion the impact when you move.
  • Muscles and ligaments that provide support to the spine.

Pain in the upper and middle back is not as common as low back pain or neck pain, because the bones in this area of ​​the back do not flex or move as much as the bones in the lower back. Instead, they work with the ribs to maintain the stability of the back and to help protect vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.

What is the cause of pain in the upper and middle back?

Upper and mid back pain may be caused by:

  • Overuse, strain, or injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine.
  • Bad posture.
  • Pressure on the nerves spinal for certain problems, such as hernia of the disk.
  • Fracture of one of the vertebrae.
  • Osteoarthritis is caused by the disintegration of the cartilage that dampens the small joints faceted in the spine.
  • Pain myofascial that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or a group of muscles.

In rare cases, the pain could be caused by other problems, such as disease of the gallbladder bill, cancer, or an infection.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of pain in the upper and middle back are:

  • A dull, burning, or sharp pain.
  • Muscle tightness.

More serious symptoms that need to be treated right away include:

  • Weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, chest, or abdomen.
  • Loss of bowel control or bladder.

How is upper and mid back pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will first ask about your past health, symptoms, work, and physical activities. Then he will do a physical test.

Your doctor may also order an imaging test, such as a bone scan or MRI for back pain to find out if, for example, a broken bone or a herniated disc is causing your pain.

You may need more tests to look for other possible causes of your pain.

An MRI scan creates detailed pictures of your spine. It can pick up most injuries that you have had in your spine or changes that happen with aging. Even small problems or changes that are not the cause of your current back pain are picked up. These findings rarely change how your provider first treats you.

How is it treated?

In most cases, people with mild to moderate back pain can manage their symptoms with:

  • Analgesics (pain medicines) are for sales free, such as acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin).
  • Heat or ice.
  • Do exercise.
  • Therapy Handbook, such as massage, mobilization or manipulation of the spine.

But if your pain gets worse and you’re having a hard time doing your daily activities, you may need to take a prescription pain reliever. Surgery is rarely used to treat pain in the upper and mid back.

How can you take care of yourself at home?

There are many things you can do at home to help reduce your pain. For example:

  • If your back hurts a lot, take a break. But try not to let too much time pass to move again. Instead, return to your activities slowly.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin). These can reduce pain and swelling. Be wise with medications. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Use a heating pad or an ice pack. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Exercises that stretch and strengthen your back, shoulder, and stomach muscles can help improve posture, lower your chances of injury, and reduce pain.
  • Practice good posture. Be sure to sit or stand upright. Don’t slump or slouch.
  • Learn ways to reduce stress. You might try deep breathing and relaxation exercises or even meditation.


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