The thorax refers to the chest, so the thoracic spine encompasses all vertebrae from the bottom of the neck down to the abdomen. It is the longest portion of the spine, and it is attached to the ribcage.
Since the thoracic spine is such a big area of our body, back pain is relatively common in the upper and middle parts. So, what can you do to relieve thoracic back pain?
Read on to learn some of the best treatment options for this type of back pain.
How Common Is Thoracic Back Pain?
Lower back pain seems to grab all the spotlight, but middle and upper back pain is also common. Some statistics suggest that it may affect up to 70% of people at some point in their lives, while other surveys showed lower prevalence.
Interestingly, thoracic back pain seems to be more prevalent in children and teenagers, especially girls. That may result from carrying a heavy backpack or using inadequate chairs in school.
The good news is that most people don’t require any treatment for thoracic back, as it usually resolves within days or weeks. However, if your pain persists for several weeks or suddenly increases in intensity, you should see a doctor.
When to Visit a Professional About Thoracic Back Pain?
Thoracic back pain is typically short-lived. You should seek medical help if:
- Your pain started after a fall or car injury
- Pain becomes more intense when lifting heavy objects
- You experience fever or chills
- You suddenly lose a lot of weight
- You get an infection
- You experience morning back stiffness
- You have visible lumps in the upper back area
- You have problems with bowel or bladder control
- Your pain gets worse
- You feel numbness or weakness in your legs
Although middle and upper back pain usually resolves on its own, make sure to seek medical help if you experience any of these symptoms or if the pain won’t go away after a few weeks.
Thoracic Back Pain Treatment
If an underlying condition causes your thoracic back pain, your treatment plan will address that condition. Since thoracic back pain is most commonly the result of poor posture or muscle tension, the treatment focuses on fixing these aspects. You can do that with massage therapy, over-the-counter pain medication, and gentle stretching.
Heat or ice therapy is a great option to relieve muscle tension and aches. Physical therapy is an excellent way to improve muscle strength and flexibility, which is why many treatments for thoracic pain include physical therapy.
Your medical practitioner may suggest an approach such as trigger point injections, facet joint injections, or epidural steroid injections, as these options can reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
The best at-home remedies are heat and ice therapy, stretches, and pain medications.
Where to Get Treatment for Thoracic Back Pain
Dr. Edward Nash from the Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation Center has extensive experience dealing with thoracic pain. With the help of his knowledgeable team, he is able to help people live pain-free once again. Click on this link to learn more about the causes of your thoracic back pain and schedule an appointment with Dr. Nash.