Your middle back spans from the top of your shoulder blades to your bottommost ribs. Even though middle back pain is not as potentially harmful as low back pain (LBP) or neck pain, it can be equally disabling.
Middle back pain is fairly common, especially today, when use of computers and hand-held devices has made us more sedentary and more prone to poor posture. Middle back pain is synonymous with interscapular pain, although pain in the mid-back may manifest itself anywhere along the spine and ribcage. Until recently, doctors and scientists paid little attention to this region, concentrating more on the cervical and lumbar spine. However, interest in the mid-back has increased in recent years, and new research indicates that the integrity of the thoracic spine and ribcage is vital to proper neck and low back function.
The middle back is part of the functional unit called the trunk, consisting of 12 thoracic vertebrae and ribs that connect the spine to the sternum and abdomen. The shoulder blades connect the trunk to the arms and shoulders. The core muscles in this area connect the trunk to the pelvis from both inside and outside. Functionally, the legs are connected to the trunk via the psoas muscle. The functional unit connecting the lower body to the trunk is called the abdominal canister. The coordinated activity of the diaphragm with the back and abdominal muscles creates spinal and pelvic stability by means of intraabdominal pressure. Another important role of the of the trunk is the integration of breathing with spinal stability. The visceral organs are suspended and anchored within the trunk (spine and ribcage) and are interconnected with the trunk muscles though the fascial network.
Many people associate the core with the abdomen, however its genuine location is in the muscles that connect the trunk to the lower extremities via the pelvis. The core is a functional unit of the body which has multiple functions:
1. Spinal stability
2. Lumbopelvic/hip stability
3. Control of basic rotation
4. Functionally connects the upper body to lower extremities
The trunk, made up of the ribcage and thoracic spine, forms an anatomical, functional and physiological crossroads for the entire body, and connects the lower and upper body. The natural, reciprocal movement of walking could not be achieved without these intricate trunk connections. The body’s rotation occurs mainly in the trunk, as does the integration of breathing. The body’s core muscles are also part of the trunk.
Symptoms of middle back pain may vary in location and intensity depending upon which structures are generating pain.
Middle back pain can be divided into five categories:
The most common type of middle back pain is myofascial, followed by vertebrogenic pain (involving the spinal joints) and vertebro-costal pain (involving the rib joints).
Middle back pain can also arise from neurogenic or neural origins that may involve a thoracic herniated disc, although this is very rare. Viscerosomatic pain can sometimes arises from visceral (internal) organs.
There is also viscerosomatic pain that arises from visceral (internal organs) organs. However, what is more common is viscerosomatic pain in the mid-back.
Because middle back pain arises at the anatomical and functional crossroads of the human body, treatment requires a whole-body integrative approach. At NYDNR, we are proud of our high success rate of quickly resolving pain and restoring function. We use a combination of DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stimulation), ISM (Integrated Systems Model), myofacial release techniques, chiropractic, acupuncture, and ESWT (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy).
Because the trunk (thorax) plays a critical role in the healthy function of the entire musculoskeletal system, it is important, once pain has been banished, that therapists focus on restoring strength, flexibility and motor control to this area.
We are proud to be at the forefront of holistic rehabilitation for middle back disorders.