Thoracic back pain is described as pain and discomfort felt in the middle and upper back areas.
The thoracic region of the spine begins at the base of the neck and ends at the area just below the chest area. This is the longest region of the spine that connects to the cervical spine and lumbar spine, and its function is to protect the spinal cord and to anchor the ribcage. Your thoracic spine keeps your body upright and stable.
Pain in the thoracic region of the back can be caused by a number of reasons. Let’s talk about the common causes of thoracic spine pain.
Common Causes of Thoracic Spine Pain
The back has many interconnected bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues that protect the spinal cord. Symptoms could be due to the many conditions that can affect these inner structures, such as:
Muscle Irritation or Tension (Myofascial Pain)
Often caused by poor posture and occupations that require prolonged sitting, which results in tightened muscles and pain.
A fall or a direct blow to the thoracic region can cause pain. Examples of injuries include rib fractures that also affect the thoracic nerves.
An injury of a ligament in the thoracic area of the spine due to a sudden twisting motion can cause the ligament to overstretch beyond its limit. As a result, you may feel pain in the region. It most often happens to athletes.
Overuse injuries, commonly due to repetitive motions, can cause thoracic spine pain because they cause micro-injuries to develop. Repeated lifting, bending, and twisting motions can contribute to overuse injuries of the thoracic spine.
Arthritis is a condition that affects the health of joints. It causes joints between the spine to deteriorate, which leads to pain. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis.
Thoracic Herniated Disc
Usually caused by a degeneration of vertebral discs, a thoracic herniated disc allows the gelatinous material inside the disc to leak out of the hard exterior and cause irritation to the surrounding nerves.
Patients with osteoporosis are prone to vertebral fractures due to bone porosity. A sudden twisting motion or a sneeze can result in vertebral fractures in an osteoporotic patient.
Thoracic radiculopathy is the result of compression of nerve roots in the thoracic spine. This could be caused by osteoarthritis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis.
Often caused by osteoarthritis, the narrowing of the spinal canal in the thoracic region can cause back pain symptoms due to an irritated spinal cord and nerves.
Thoracic Spine Pain Treatment in Maryland
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to see an orthopedic doctor if you are feeling pain anywhere in your back. It could be due to many reasons, and a doctor is the only person who can give you an accurate diagnosis.
The orthopedic surgeons at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM) specialize in conditions affecting the spine. With our highly specialized knowledge and training and years of experience, we can get to the bottom of your back pain and recommend effective treatments. The sooner you receive treatment, the sooner you can return to your normal activities – and to enjoying life.
To schedule a consultation, call (410) 644-1880 or request an appointment now. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you.