Many people experience back pain. Back pain can occur anywhere from below the neck and shoulders (upper back pain) to the areas above the hips (lower back pains). Middle back pain or mid-back pain occurs between the upper and lower regions of the back, which include the spine, ribs, and muscles. It is less common that lower back or neck pain.
The type of pain experienced will depend on the cause. Some may experience acute back pains while others suffer from chronic pain lasting for months. It can be a dull, aching pain or a stabbing, burning pain that is more severe.
Some forms of mid-back pain may be relieved by sitting, but can worsen when lying down, resulting in increased pain during sleep. Many people lose sleep because of these symptoms and wake up with the pain still present.
Other symptoms may be associated with mid-back pain, including abdominal pain, rib pain, pain in the hips, shoulder or neck, pain during breathing, headaches, weakness, numbness, fever, anxiety, or depression.
One obvious cause of mid-back pain is blunt trauma to the spine, ribs, or muscles in this area. This could result from a fall or another accident. The pain may be acute and last until the swelling or inflammation is resolved. If the trauma causes a fracture to the spine then numbness or weakness of the lower body may result, requiring emergency medical attention.
Mid-back pain may also result from an acute or sudden movement during work, sports, or other activity. Twisting or bending may lead to muscle spasms, strains, or sprains, especially in people who are usually sedentary. It may be related to the overuse of muscles or the inflammation of muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
Several factors can increase the risk of middle back pain, including advancing age, congenital abnormalities of the spine, obesity, pregnancy, poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, anxiety, and stress.
The following conditions that can cause middle back pain require careful diagnosis from a health professional.
Disorders of the spine may cause chronic back pain that may also result in bladder problems, weakness of the legs, or even paralysis. However, proper diagnosis using CT scans, x-rays, and other imaging techniques is necessary. Treatment may involve medical and surgical techniques.
The ribs are attached to the spine at the back, so any trauma or condition affecting these may cause mid-back pain. Between the ribs are muscles (intercostal muscles) that may become irritated and inflamed. This often occurs when a person twists and bends sideways while pushing or lifting something. This intercostal pain usually causes difficulty taking deep breaths. When the intercostal pain involves the inflammation of the nerve running along the rib, intercostal neuralgia has occured. This type of pain appears suddenly and can worsen with movement of the spine, incorrect posture, breathing, sneezing, coughing, or even talking.
There are other common conditions in areas beyond the back that may cause pain radiating into the back. These include:
Unless the cause of your mid-back pain requires surgical or pharmaceutical intervention, most other causes of back pain may be relieved by simple measures including: