Middle Back Pain
Any back pain reduces your quality of life and limits the activities you enjoy. Middle back pain inhibits your flexibility, which alters the way you sit, stand, bend, twist and even lie down. Whether your mid-back pain is on the right side or left side can make a difference in your diagnosis and treatment. At Century Medical and Dental Center, a multi-disciplinary practice in Brooklyn, you can access mid-back pain treatment that’s thorough and non-invasive.
While you may hear more about the prevalence of lower back pain, upper and middle back pain remains fairly common. Poor lifting techniques often result in lower back pain, but the cause of mid-back pain often takes more effort to unravel. Usually occurring somewhere between the shoulder blades and the bottom of your rib cage, mid-back pain relief requires identifying what’s aggravating the bones and ligaments that don’t flex or move the same way they do in your lower back.
Your upper and middle back consists of 12 vertebra, ligaments and discs. The discs act as cushions between the vertebrae while the muscles and ligaments hold everything together and allow flexibility. Your rib cage also attaches to this section of your spine. Any time nerves or ligaments get pinched, become irritated or are injured, the back pain can spread to other areas of your body, including your legs, chest, arms or stomach.
Causes of Mid-Back Pain
As with lower back pain, misuse or overuse by bending, stretching or reaching with loads that are too heavy for you often ends in mid-back pain. Other causes include:
- Strain to ligaments or muscles
- Tears to tendons
- A poor sitting or standing posture
- Injury or fall resulting in fractured vertebrae
- Herniated disc, placing pressure on nerves
- Aging conditions, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
- Chronic pain of the connective tissues, called myofascial pain
- Kidney problems, although this usually manifests as lower back pain
Common Symptoms of Middle Back Pain
Overuse or strains often appear as dull, aching pain. Muscle tightness and stiffness benefit from mild stretching, yoga or occasionally prescribed muscle relaxants. Most middle-back pain responds well to heat and over-the-counter medications.
If you experience alarming weakness in your arms and legs, a loss of control of your bladder or bowels, or significant tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, chest or stomach, seek immediate medical assistance. These symptoms could signal more serious medical concerns. Your Brooklyn pain specialist at Century Medical and Dental Center eases your pain and addresses its source.
Mid-Back Pain Relief
Your treatment begins with modifying your activities and helping control the pain with over-the-counter or safely prescribed medication. While most people manage their mild-to-moderate middle back pain with rest, heat, ice, and gentle stretching and exercise, you can benefit from specific exercises taught and encouraged in physical therapy programs from your Brooklyn pain medicine specialist.
Physical therapists use common techniques and teach you effective lifestyle habits that enhance your healing process, including:
- Gentle manual manipulation and massage to relax and stretch tightened or frozen muscles and tendons because muscles tend to lock up in response to pain signals
- Alternating use of heat and cold to loosen tight tissue and reduce inflammation
- Careful and correct posture when standing, sitting, walking and lifting
- Exercises that use elastic bands to gently stretch and strengthen
- A good, gentle walking routine that keeps your muscles from stiffening
- Specialized mild electric stimulation tool called a TENS unit that encourages relaxation and enhanced, healing blood flow
There are times when you need more than a physical therapist can offer. Since Century Medical and Dental is a multidisciplinary clinic, you have access to other specialists, as needed. Other treatments may include:
- Medications like muscle relaxants or prescription-strength pain killers so you can work on the source of your pain, although medication isn’t meant to be a long-term treatment
- An epidural steroid injection at the site of the pain, if the source is a compromised or pinched nerve as it exits your spinal column
- A nerve block injection to temporarily relieve the pain so you can concentrate on your physical therapy program
- Minimally invasive surgery options to repair a vertebral disc, remove a bone spur or fuse two vertebrae together
Mid-Back Pain Treatment at Home
Discovering and implementing effective preventive steps makes a lot of sense before back pain becomes acute and more serious damage occurs. Your physical therapist at Brooklyn’s Century Medical and Dental Center can show you how to implement a few key practices at home to keep your back in its best form. Good back care options include:
- Resting when it feels appropriate
- Using heat and cold regimen or taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling
- Paying attention to good posture techniques that include:
- Reducing or eliminating slumping
- Adjusting the height of your desk and chair for correct ergonomics
- Not straining your back by leaning or squinting at a computer monitor
- Finding ways to reduce stress or relieve it through meditation, yoga, massages, relaxation exercises or deep breathing
Your Brooklyn pain specialist’s experience and treatment options provide effective mid-back pain relief. Consult with your Brooklyn doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center about the proper tools and techniques to keep middle back pain from hindering your daily activities.