Chronic middle back pain — options for relief

Chronic middle back pain is less common than lower back pain, although it does affect many people. This can often be caused by an injury or degenerative spine condition causing nerve compression which may result in chronic debilitating pain.

The middle of the back is known as the thoracic spine and is composed of 12 vertebrae, labeled T1 to T12. These 12 vertebrae run from the lower end of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage. Because this portion of the spine is mostly used as support for the rib cage and does not allow for much bending or movement, it is less common to develop a degenerative condition in the thoracic spine than it is in the lumbar (lower) spine or cervical (upper) spine.

Because the middle back does not often experience pain, if you have been experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort for a week or more, you should consult your doctor to diagnose the source of your symptoms and decide the best course of action for your recovery. In many cases, conservative treatments can provide effective pain relief for the thoracic spine.

Treatment options for chronic middle back pain

If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition and your physician has recommended conservative treatments, the following may be attempted:

  • Physical therapy. Specific exercises with a licensed physical therapy can help you improve mobility and relieve pain.
  • Spinal injections. Injections involving a numbing agent and a corticosteroid to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Back pain exercises. Gentle stretches like twisting, bending and lifting can help you maintain maximum flexibility as well as keep your muscles strong and your ligaments long.

If chronic middle back pain becomes severe and conservative treatment options combined with prescription or over-the-counter pain medications have not brought relief, surgery may be recommended. The purpose of thoracic spine surgery is to relieve pressure on spinal nerves that have become pinched by a herniated disc, bulging disc, thoracic spinal stenosis, bone spurs or another spine condition.

Minimally invasive spine surgery for middle back pain relief

With advances in technology, you have options when considering spine surgery. Before consenting to traditional open back surgery, we encourage you to research the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive decompression procedure removes a small portion of the damaged spinal anatomy to decompress a pinched nerve root in the spinal canal, while our minimally invasive stabilization surgery replaces a damaged disc or vertebra with a stabilizing implant.

Both types of procedures are performed through a small incision and include lower risk of complication and higher patient satisfaction score than traditional open back surgery.^ For more information, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We are happy to offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.