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:
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.
Upper and mid back pain may be caused by:
In rare cases, the pain could be caused by other problems, such as disease of the gallbladder bill, cancer, or an infection.
Common symptoms of pain in the upper and middle back are:
More serious symptoms that need to be treated right away include:
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.
In most cases, people with mild to moderate back pain can manage their symptoms with:
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.
There are many things you can do at home to help reduce your pain. For example:
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