We all do it—spend hours hunched over our computer or use the wrong form to lift heavy objects. These activities are common causes of mid-back pain. Upper and mid-back pain occurs anywhere between the base of your neck and the bottom of your rib cage. According to the University of Michigan, this area— also called the thoracic spine—includes:
- 12 vertebrae, which are bones that attach to your rib cage and form the longest part of your back.
- Discs separating each vertebra. These act as shock absorbers as you move.
- Muscles and ligaments that keep the spine together.
Upper and mid-back pain is less common than lower back or neck pain. That’s because the bones in the thoracic spine don’t move or flex as often as those in your lower back and neck. Rather, they work with the ribs to stabilize your back and protect your heart and lungs.
Causes and Symptoms of Mid-Back Pain
In addition to poor posture and improper lifting techniques, other causes of mid-back pain may include:
According to Medical News Today, the symptoms of mid-back pain vary depending on its cause. The experts at WebMD note that this pain may be described as aching, stiffness, sharp, or burning. You may also experience more serious symptoms such as arm or leg weakness, tingling in different parts of your body, or losing control of your bladder or bowels.
Mid-Back Pain and Physical Therapy
If your doctor diagnoses poor posture as the cause of your back pain, physical therapy may be recommended. “Physical therapists are movement experts,” says Palak Shah, PT. “They can prescribe a tailored exercise program that strengthens your muscles and improves flexibility. This keeps your body flexible and teaches you good postural habits. What’s more, a skilled PT will teach you about your body and help you manage any recurring symptoms.”
Your PT also provides skilled manual treatment to improve movement in specific segments of your spine. This treatment relieves stiffness in overactive muscles and provides neuromuscular training to facilitate better movement. Palak recommends doing your exercises right after your PT sessions to enhance the effectiveness of your treatments.
Whether your mid-back pain is due to a bulging disc, fractured vertebrae, or poor posture, you need expert, timely care from the on-demand physical therapists at Luna. With Luna, you can:
- Schedule convenient access to exceptional care through the Luna app—without a prescription.
- Get one-on-one time with a board-certified PT right in your home, gym, or office.
- Receive treatment and an exercise program tailored to your environment using tools and equipment you already have.
Best of all, there’s a Luna therapist near you.
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