Though neck pain and lower back pain tend to get most of the attention, middle back pain is a significant source of discomfort that may require attention from a spine specialist. The middle back is the area that is between the base of the neck and the rib cage. It comprises 12 of the spine’s discs and several other structures, including vertebrae, ligaments and muscles. Damage or stress to any of those items can lead to pain.
Some of the potential causes of middle back pain include:
- Aging/deterioration – People tend to begin experiencing back pain after they’ve turned 30, and this is because, with stress and time, the back’s structures can begin to wear out. Muscle mass diminishes, the bones thin and there is less fluid available between the joints in the spine. All of these can lead to aches, pains, and a heightened risk for injury. As you age you are also at greater risk for arthritis, a common degenerative joint disease that causes the bones to rub together, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.
- Fractured vertebrae – Just as you can suffer a fractured arm or leg when you fall or in an accident, you can fracture one or more of the vertebrae in your middle back. You can also have a fractured vertebra simply as a matter of time and deterioration.
- Herniated disc – There are rubbery discs between each of the vertebrae in the back which are meant to serve as shock absorbers. When these discs deteriorate or are damaged as a result of accident or injury, the soft interior can bulge out of the disc and come into contact with nerves in the spinal area, potentially leading to irritation, tingling, numbness and pain.
- Kidney problems – Some middle back pain is caused by kidney infections or kidney stones. Other symptoms include fever, chills, difficulty or pain while urinating.
- Lifestyle issues – The less a person exercises and the more they engage in unhealthy habits such as smoking or allowing themselves to become obese, the greater their chances of suffering middle back pain.
- Muscle strain – Poor lifting practice, being in an accident and overexertion can all lead to muscle strains or sprains that cause middle back pain.
- Osteoporosis – This bone disease results in bone loss that can create numerous health issues including middle back pain caused by compression fractures or strain.
- Poor posture – Postural problems are one of the leading causes of back pain. They are also easily corrected with proper training and the addition of core strengthening exercises.
- Scoliosis – This is a curvature of the spine that causes uneven distribution of weight and added stress on the spine and muscles that can cause middle back pain.
- Tumor – Occasionally tumors can grow in the middle of the back, in the spine and in the spinal cord. The presence of this foreign body can put pressure on the spinal nerves, leading to middle back pain.
To determine the cause of your middle back pain, make an appointment with our New Jersey spine specialist. We will conduct a thorough examination that will identify the source of your trouble and outline a course of treatment to provide you with relief.