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What Is Chronic Upper and Middle Back Pain?

It is a pain occurs anywhere ranging from the base of the neck to the bottom of the ribcage. However, the upper and middle back is seldom plagued by pain, as compared with the lower back and neck – the bones in these regions are constantly being flexed and moved unlike the bones in the upper and middle back that are somewhat fixed.

Upper and middle back pain can be classified based on the duration of the pain felt; it could be acute, sub-chronic, or chronic.

  • Acute Upper and middle back pain – it is a pain lasting less than 6 weeks
  • Sub-chronic Upper and middle pain – it is a pain that spans from 6 to 12 weeks (does not exceed the 12-week mark)
  • Chronic Upper and middle back pain – it is the type that lasts longer than 12 weeks.

Possible symptoms of chronic upper and middle back pain includes;

  • A severe, burning or very sharp pain
  • Stiffness of the back muscles.

More serious symptoms that would require an appointment with your medical adviser may include;

  • Weakness in your arms or legs.
  • Experiencing numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, chest, or belly.
  • Loss of bowel, bladder functions and control.

What Causes Chronic Upper and Middle Back Pain?

Whenever the upper and middle back begins to experience pains that are unbearable and comes with a lot of discomfort, it is very likely that it is from an injury that caused an irritation to the back muscles or possibly the discs.

Poor posture – People who live sedentary lifestyles, or sit in a muscle-straining position for long periods are more prone to feeling pains in their upper and middle back regions. As a result of poor posture, the back muscles can become weak, and thereby not being able to keep the spine in its original neutral alignment. Causing pain and discomfort.

  • Accidents – The force generated from colliding or bumping into objects; be it from a fall or an accident, can cause upper and middle back pains by injuring spinal and thoracic bones, discs, muscles and ligaments, nerves and other soft bodily tissues.
  • Spinal stenosis – It is the narrowness of the spaces between the spinal nerves and spinal cord. It could also be referred to as degenerative joint or spine disease.
  • Overuse of the back muscles – when you put the upper and middle back through a lot of constant strenuous activity, for example; lifting heavy objects etc. overtime it causes muscle strains, sprains to the ligaments and, inflammation of that region of the body.
  • Osteoarthritis – Cartilages that protects and provides cushioning to the small facet joints in the spine might wear off leading to pain as a result of this disease condition. And the spine is mostly affected by this disease, as compared to other parts of the body.
  • Herniated Disc – When the area around the disc becomes injured, some tissues in charge of cushioning pushes out of the vertebrae and compresses the spinal nerves, thereby resulting in chronic pain.
  • Fracture – Any fracture to the spines of either the cervical or thoracic vertebras would cause a lot of pain to the upper and middle back.

Other underlying conditions that can give rise to chronic upper and middle back pain are;

  • Kidney problems
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gallbladder diseases

How to Diagnose Chronic Upper and Middle Back Pain.

To do this, your medical adviser will ask questions that would reveal: your past health record, your symptoms, and also your work (Job Description) and the kind of physical activities you engage in.

After getting the necessary information, a physical exam will be conducted on you by the doctor. Also, an imaging test such as; the X-Ray or MRI might be ordered to know if the resultant cause of the pain was a broken bone or a herniated disc.

Managing Chronic Upper and Middle Back Pain

Managing chronic upper and middle back pain involves the use of Multidisciplinary Treatment Programs. The use of non-medication based treatments like Exercise Therapy can be used, and it has been proven to be highly effective in resolving pain related complaints and improving bodily functions. The use of Exercise Therapy is also proven to reduce the recurrence of the pain for as long as six months after completion of the treatment program.

Notwithstanding, the use of NSAID is recommended should in case, the other non-medication based treatment proves non-effective.

At Southlake Pain Center, we proffer the following treatments. They include;

  • Thoracic Facet Injection
  • Thoracic Medial Branch Block
  • Thoracic Radiofrequency Ablation
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