The middle back can be a frequent site for pain and discomfort. Pain between the shoulder blades, stiffness and pain along the ribs are common complaints in this region of the spine.
The middle back (also known as the thoracic spine) consists of 12 vertebrae whose common feature is the presence of a pair of ribs that articulates and extends out from each of the thoracic vertebra and curves around toward the front of the chest. The presence of ribs provides structural stability to the chest area and protects the heart and lungs.
It is the design of the middle back that contributes to many of the causes of middle back problems. The vertebra in the middle back need to be in good alignment in order to maintain the structural integrity of the thoracic cage. However, the thoracic and rib articulations can go out of alignment due to trauma, coughing, laughing, or general chronic poor posture (to name a few causes) and the discomfort that arises from the malposition of these vertebra and/or ribs can have a range of severities from mild to extreme pain, possibly mimicking a heart attack or even a broken bone. Middle back pain can cause one to not be able to concentrate or even sleep or rest. Chronic middle back pain can make the thoracic cage sensitive to the touch as well as the related area of the neck, shoulders, middle back and even the cartilage around the ribs in the front of the chest.
The first thing to address when one has a middle back problem is the cause of the discomfort and rule out any problems that would require attention from the medical field (which is rare, but should not be overlooked). Depending on the degree of discomfort, a treatment plan including problem-specific therapies and gentle chiropractic adjustments will be formulated to address the problem. Exercises should be implemented as soon as possible and as with any wholistic plan, the chemical and mental/emotional aspects of the situation should be investigated also.
In general, middle back problems are very responsive to gentle chiropractic treatments and can make a huge difference in one’s whole body health. Call our office if you have any questions regarding this common complaint and schedule an examination.