Thoracic back pain

Thoracic back pain is pain that occurs in the thoracic spine (middle back), which extends from the waist to the upper shoulder blades. The middle back, or thoracic spine, is defined as the 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12) between the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back).

Pain in this region of the spine is less common than pain in the neck or lower back, mainly because the thoracic spine does not have the same range of mobility as other sections. For example, the lumbar and cervical spine both allow for bending and movement, which can sometimes lead to a deteriorated disc or other issues over time that cause back pain. The thoracic spine, however, is attached to the rib cage and does not offer much flexibility and therefore does not have as great a risk of pain as the neck or lower back.

Causes of thoracic back pain

The thoracic spine has several purposes within the body, such as:

  • Providing strength and stability, which allows us to stand upright
  • Protecting our internal organs in the chest cavity, such as the heart and lungs

Although the thoracic spine is not often injured or affected by degenerative diseases, chronic middle back pain has become increasingly more common as people lead sedentary lifestyles at work and at home.

The common causes of thoracic back pain often include:

  • Poor posture
  • Muscular irritation
  • Dysfunction in the spinal joints
  • Sudden injury or trauma
  • Scoliosis
  • Fibromyalgia

Treatment options for thoracic back pain

If you’re experiencing pain, stiffness or limited mobility in your thoracic spine, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to determine the cause of your symptoms. The cause can be something as simple as an injured back muscle or something more serious like a herniated disc or other degenerative disc disease.

Once your doctor diagnoses the cause of your pain, he or she can recommend a treatment regimen to address your symptoms. Often, conservative treatments are the first option for back pain. These treatments may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga and stretching

In some cases, spinal surgery may be required if several months of conservative treatment does not relieve your pain and symptoms. Before agreeing to spine surgery, however, you should research all alternative options to traditional open back surgery, including the safer and effective option of minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

At Laser Spine Institute, we believe patients have a right to spine surgery that produces lower risks and shorter recovery times^ than traditional open back surgery. For many patients, spine conditions can be treated with a decompression procedure, though some severe cases may require a stabilization procedure. Both procedures work to treat the condition by relieving pressure on the pinched nerve and ensuring the spine is stable and supported. Information will be provided about both procedures upon request.

For more information about the benefits of Laser Spine Institute or to see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.