Probably the most common cause of mid-back pain, like neck pain, is from our current “sit-too-long” lifestyle. We sit in front of computers, stare down at our phones, commute longer distances, and frankly do not put much thought into our posture throughout the day. With gravity a constant, our mid-backs (and necks) take the brunt of the force which is the main cause of mid-back pain.
This promotes our ‘hunched’ forward posture with rolled-in shoulders, creating forward head posture and a rounded mid-back hump. Long-term this posture causes us much pain and also contributes to the hump at the base of the neck you sometimes see in people as they age.
In our mid-back – the thoracic spine – the normal alignment is one that keeps our head over top of our mid-back (thorax). When the thoracic spine rounds forward, or becomes more ‘kyphotic’, the muscles between our shoulder blades and along our spine become stretched. Over time these muscles will weaken and become inflamed, causing pain. As well, the ligaments that hold our mid-back spinal vertebrae in the proper alignment, can also become stretched and inflamed, adding to more pain between our shoulders.
Furthermore, when the spinal bones stop moving normally between our shoulder blades, inflammation can build up. This usually happens in the small joints in our spine (facet joints) and where our ribs attach to our spine (costovertebral joints). This means you will feel stiff, tight, and restricted in your mid-back. Sometimes this can even cause difficulty in taking deep breaths.
Finally, when your mid-back is not moving well, or not in the proper alignment, it can cause problems in other areas as well. Headaches, stiff neck, and even low back pain can be caused by a mid-back/thoracic spine problem.
To minimize mid-back pain, you need to address all potential causes. A chiropractic exam would be a good place to start in trying to help fix your mid-back pain. Further, is your problem predominately a muscle problem, a joint or alignment problem, or is the problem due to the bones not moving normally? A skilled chiropractor can determine this rather easily.
However, there are a few things you can try to help reduce your mid-back pain at home.
For example, here is how you can use a foam roller to help with mid-back pain:
Here are some simple desk stretches that I find extremely effective:
Hopefully, you found the information and videos above helpful. If your pain persists, please seek out professional help.
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