Thoracic pain may not be as common as neck pain or low back pain, but it can be just as debilitating and at times, even more dangerous. The thoracic spine is made up of segments between the cervical and lumbar spines. The rib cage is made of 12 ribs, with 12 thoracic vertebrae in the back, and the sternum in the front.
The most common mid back pain is not serious. It is usually a result of poor posture, poor sleeping positions, or an unsupportive mattress. Improper lifting, direct trauma, or sudden twisting can lead to sprain and strain injuries. All of these usually involve soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In acute episodes, treatment with ice, anti-inflammatories, and rest should be enough to relieve the pain after a few days.
Thoracic Disc Herniations are not as common as they are in the neck or lower back. They often go misdiagnosed. Even when they are present, many are asymptomatic. When a thoracic disc herniates and makes contact with the spinal cord, a condition called myelopathy may develop, which affects nerves below the level of the herniation. This may be a very serious condition that may lead to permanent paralysis if not treated right away.
Pain from serious underlying conditions is typically not relieved with rest, so if you’re experiencing ongoing mid back pain, do not take it lightly.
A team approach of different specialists may be required to establish a diagnosis. X-rays, MRI, and EMG and (electromyography and nerve testing) may need to be performed. If the pain is determined to be only spine related, conservative treatments with physical therapy, oral medications, local injections and at times, epidural injections are very often very successful.
Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best-in-class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best-rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!