middle back pain

Middle Back Pain Causes and Treatment

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Where is the middle back?

The middle back, also known as the thoracic region, begins at the base of your neck and extends to the bottom of your rib cage. Within this region, a network of important bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments exists. The main goal of this network is to support the spine and protect your most vital organs.

The top causes of middle back pain

There are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing middle back pain. Some causes are more serious than others, so we highly recommend getting a proper diagnosis from your doctor if you can’t link it back to a specific event or injury.

Some of the most common causes of middle back pain

  • Muscles generally lacking strength
  • Poor posture over a long period of time
  • Regular, incorrect backpack use
  • Injuries caused by repetitive motion
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Sports injuries
  • Trauma, such as a car accident or fall
  • Slipped disc

Middle back pain can be explained by something as minor as muscle tension from exercise, to other more serious conditions, such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, and even cancer. If your pain is not related to a recent known sports injury, it's best to see your doctor to confirm the cause.

How to treat middle back pain

If your middle back pain is mild to moderate and doesn’t require medical attention, there are plenty of ways to relieve your condition DIY-style. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Keep moving: As tempting as it is to stay in bed, staying active will actually help your pain (though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it). Start with walking around the house and then upgrade to short walks around your neighbourhood.
  • Stretch: After gaining your doctor or chiropractor’s approval, try yoga or Pilates in order to relieve your muscles from tension. If you don’t want to join a class, your doctor may be able to provide you with some instructions for stretches you can do at home. This tactic is most helpful for those experiencing back pain due to poor posture or weak muscles, as opposed to those suffering from a specific injury.
  • Reduce stress: This is easier said than done, but reduced stress levels can have a great effect on your recovery. Try meditation and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Get a massage: If your injury is sports-related, a massage could be just what you need. Make sure you choose someone who specialises in treating back injuries.
  • Tape your back: Use a high quality tape or back brace to support your back if it has been injured. We recommend Elastoplast’s Leukoband, Kinesio Tape or Adjustable Back Brace. See our article about tape preparation and removal for more information on how to tape your injury correctly.
  • Sprays: These can be very helpful for pain relief. Try Elastoplast Sport Cold Spray for practically instant results.
  • Pain medication: Over the counter or prescription pain medication can help if you’re in a lot of pain. Make sure your doctor recommends it first.

Please note that if your pain is caused by something otherthan muscle strain, such as a slipped disc, you should treat it with the help of your doctor, chiropractor, or physiotherapist. While the methods above can still help to relieve your pain, you may need more intensive care.