There are many causes of Mid-Back (Thoracic) pain. While often it is the direct result of trauma, it is just as often a cause of a repetitive motion injury or a movement that went slightly wrong. Often when people enter our office they don’t know exactly why they hurt, just that when they twist the right way, or sit for too long, their back hurts.
The first, and most obvious cause of Mid-Back pain is direct trauma. Whether you’ve been in a work accident, car accident or even a simple fall, direct trauma is the easiest way to tell you’ve injured your back.
Another potential cause for Mid-Back pain is rib involvement. Because the Mid-Back is attached to the ribs, if blunt force trauma affects them, the pain can often extend to the back as well – either due to the force changing the alignment of your spine, or because the muscles which run between the rib attach to the spine. Patients with this source of injury may have difficulty getting a full breath. In rare incidences of this variety of injury, something as mundane as a simple sneeze can cause misalignment – a surprising cause for pain which we’ve treated often in our office.
Finally, one of the most frequent causes of Mid-Back pain is repetitive use. Long-term poor posture combine with desk jobs that require you to be seated for long periods of time are typical culprits. Poor posture leads to the muscles at the front of the body (the pecs) to become over contracted and to pull the head, neck, and shoulders forward. While the anterior muscles are over contracted, the posterior muscles become inhibited. The posterior muscles become sore and painful from being pulled forward. The Mid-Back is vulnerable to any type of slouched posture. Slouching goes against the natural curve of the Mid-Back, leading to fatigued muscles and misalignment of the spine. This creates tension and pinches nerves, which tend to “lock” into position – meaning stretching may help, but it won’t fix the problem.
When patients come in, our doctors do careful examinations – using range of motion tests and checking the alignment of the spine. Occasionally they may ask for an MRI or X-ray to see more clearly what is going on in the back. Even if you don’t know what you did to injure your back, we can find the injury or misalignment and help treat the cause to get rid of your pain. Our gentle method of spinal manipulation can correct the curvature of your spine and help you regain a neutral posture. We can also use a variety of therapies, including massage, to unlock the muscle spasms which create soreness in your back.
The ultimate goal of chiropractic treatment is to align the vertebrae, stretch the anterior muscles, and strengthen the posterior muscles. This will balance the muscles and fix the poor posture. Patients will be taught at home stretches and exercises to maintain proper posture.
To further alleviate the same problems from continuously happening when a lifestyle or desk change isn't possible, our doctors will be more than happy to discuss proper sitting ergonomics with you. We can also recommend better desk chairs and desks, and in certain cases, write prescriptions allowing for you to obtain better ones in your workplace.
If your Mid-Back is hurting and you would like to see how we can help, don’t hesitate to give the office a call at (412) 325-4100 or email us at [email protected]. Or fill out the survey below and we’ll give you a free sampler to come in and see how we can help!