Thoracic back pain refers to moderate to severe pain in your upper or middle back. The intensity of the pain can vary on a case-to-case basis. The underlying cause can also depend on a variety of factors. 

However, seeing that this type of back pain can disturb your daily functions and indicate a serious condition in many cases. 

What is Thoracic Back Pain?

Thoracic back pain radiates through your upper or middle back. It can differ in terms of its intensity, frequency, and effects. But the common factor remains the area of your back that ranges from the base of your neck and goes all the way to the end of your rib cage.

Our spine is segmented into three distinct sections. The top part is called the cervical spine, which is located in the neck. The middle part is known as the thoracic spine, which is the area ranging from the base of your neck to the end of your ribcage. The bottom part is labeled as the lumbar spine, which starts from under the ribs and goes all the way to the pelvis.

When back pain is noticed in the thoracic area, it is aptly referred to as thoracic back pain. This pain can often radiate to adjoining sections of your body. It can also be incredibly discomforting to the point of disturbing your daily activities or sleep. In many cases, untreated thoracic pain can increase in its effects with time.

Common Causes of Pain in Thoracic Spine 

There are several causes behind the pain in the upper or middle back. In many incidents, such as an impact or accident, they are quite apparent. But in other situations, such as an underlying condition, they need a detailed diagnosis. 

In either case, the underlying cause and the extent of the issue need to be diagnosed to treat thoracic spine pain properly.

To help you get familiarized with some of the most common causes of thoracic pain, here’s a quick overview of them.

Spinal Disc Disease

Each spinal segment has a set number of vertebrae or interlocked bones that make up your spine. These vertebrae also have soft intervertebral discs in-between them that allow the spine to move without shock. 

If these discs are damaged or weakened in the thoracic spine, it can lead to thoracic back pain. Common causes include degenerative disk disease, improper lifting practices, or sudden injury.

Sprains or Strains

Back pain in the thoracic region can often occur from strained muscles or sudden sprains. If your muscles are constantly stretched through poor posture or sudden pulls, it can cause significant pain. If the underlying cause has been there for a while, it can interfere with your daily functions before treatment is administered. Common causes include improper posture and lifting techniques. 

Joint Problems

Thoracic back pain can also occur from joint problems. These problems can often occur on their own and affect the bones in your thoracic spine, but they can also occur in combination with other issues such as spinal disc disease. Common conditions include arthritis and osteoporosis. 

Sudden Injuries

Injuries and impacts are one of the leading causes of pain in the thoracic spine. If your spine or discs are damaged due to contact with sudden force, it can cause significant pain that could intensify without proper treatment. 

Common causes include sports injuries and exercise-related injuries. If you notice upper back pain worsening over time then you will want to ensure to visit a professional near you today.

If the pain persists reach out to address these issues. Recall that some problems occur due to prolonged sitting, but others occur due to whiplash injury, bacterial infection, or other aspects.

Symptoms of Thoracic Pain

The symptoms of thoracic pain may differ from person to person. This means that even if you are not feeling all signs that point to thoracic pain, a simple symptom of back pain in the region might be enough for you to contact a healthcare professional. 

Here are a few common symptoms of thoracic back pain:

  • Thoracic pain that doesn’t go away in a few days.
  • Thoracic pain that worsens in the morning. 
  • Thoracic pain that radiates to the chest or abdomen.
  • Thoracic pain radiates to the legs.
  • Thoracic pain that is consistently present for a few weeks.
  • Muscle stiffness with back pain around the thoracic spine.
  • Numbness in the chest, abdomen, or legs.
  • Tingling in the chest, abdomen, or legs.  
  • Incontinence or bladder/bowel dysfunction. 
  • Paralysis or loss of sensation in the legs.

Tips for the Prevention of Thoracic Pain

In many cases, simply following a careful lifestyle and taking choice steps to prevent thoracic pain can help you steer clear of this problematic condition. This is especially true in thoracic pain that occurs from overtime muscle strain or disc damage. 

  • Maintain proper posture. Make sure to sit up straight while working on a desk instead of slouching forward. Similarly, stand up straighter rather than slouching during your walk.  
  • Follow proper lifting techniques. When you bend over to lift something while leaning your head forward, it can cause your muscles to strain. Instead, follow proper lifting techniques that put adequate pressure on your legs instead of undue strain on your back. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. To avoid thoracic back pain, make sure to maintain a healthy weight. Exercising regularly and following a healthy diet can help in this regard.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising regularly can work wonders for your overall health. This also holds in the prevention of back pain. Activities such as weight and strength training with the help of a personal trainer can help.


Suggested Treatments for Thoracic Spinal Pain Treatment

Even when you already notice thoracic back pain, you can still get relief from your upper or middle back pain. With the help of an orthopedic spine surgeon or a spine specialist, you can live a healthier lifestyle. 

Some common treatments for thoracic spine pain treatment include the following approaches. 

  • Physical Therapy. Physical therapy can help you seek relief from muscle stiffness, ache, and discomfort. It can also prevent your pain from worsening.
  • Temperature Therapy. Temperature therapy through cold packs and heat packs can relieve pain and stiffness.
  • Pain Medication. Pain medication can help you seek relief from your thoracic spine pain.
  • Complementary Treatment. Methods such as chiropractic approaches can work wonders in helping you find relief from thoracic back pain. This also holds for therapies such as acupuncture. 

These treatments are administered according to the intensity of your thoracic pain and its underlying condition. Your spine specialist can determine these factors with the help of diagnostic approaches such as imaging tests, blood tests, bone tests, and nerve tests.