The thoracic back is built for stability. It helps to hold the upper body in place. This part of the back is made up of nerves, vertebrae bones, the spine, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Its solid structure protects it from suffering degeneration and injuries. Regardless, there are times when your thoracic back suffers damage and injuries.
Causes of Thoracic back pain
- Arthritis – Arthritis in the spine leads to swelling. The swelling exerts pressure on the nerves nearby hence causing pain. Arthritis also limits one’s range of motion due to thinning of the facet joint that is caused by joint degeneration, which occurs because of wear and tear. The swelling may also cause tenderness on the affected area.
- Vertebral fractures – this condition occurs when the bones weaken, often due to osteoporosis. Weak bones tend to crack on the slightest provocation. Compression fractures typically occur in the lower vertebrae of the thoracic spine. This condition may also occur when a lot of force such as from a car accident or a direct blow is put to the spine. This may cause your vertebrae bones to break or collapse on each other thereby causing pain.
- Muscular problems – you may suffer muscle irritation or tension if you spend a good part of your day sited in a hunched position. Poor posture is the leading cause of muscle strain in your thoracic back.
- Joint dysfunction – irritation or damage to the joint where the rib attachés to the spine may cause the pain in your upper back.
- Herniated disc – although rare in this region of the back, a herniated disc can be the cause of your pain. A herniated disc causes pressure on nerves nearby triggering a sharp pain in your back that is accompanied by weakness and numbness that spreads to your hands and legs.
- Kyphosis – this is a deformity of the spine that tends to exert pressure on nerves that are nearby, therefore, causing back pain.
- Scoliosis – this is a sideways curvature of the spine. The curve may get more severe as one gets older thereby exerting pressure on the nearby tissues, and nerves. In severe cases, scoliosis may cause disability and pain in your thoracic back.
- Osteomyelitis – this is an infection in the thoracic spine that spreads from nearby tissues or the bloodstream. The infection may also emanate from the spine if an injury exposes the bone to germs.
- Spinal stenosis – when the spinal canal narrows down, it may squeeze on the nerves that grow into it. The narrowing down may also compress the spinal cord itself thereby causing pain in your thoracic back.
- Degenerative disc disease – this is the normal wear and tear that occurs in your spine, as you get older. Degeneration leads to the breakdown of discs that cause back pain.
- Myofascial pain – trigger points in a tight muscle or fascia may cause the pain in your back. This condition usually occurs when you use a muscle that has been dormant for a while in your body.
- Spondylosis – this condition mostly affects people over forty-five years of age. The pain in your thoracic back is usually more pronounced in the morning after waking up and alleviates as you engage in your daily activities. Spondylosis causes an achy stiffness between your shoulder blades. The pain may spread down to your rib cage.
- Cancer – this is a life-threatening condition that should be handled with utmost urgency to prevent it from growing. A dull intermittent pain whose intensity increases gradually over time characterises this condition.
Other conditions that cause thoracic back pain include:
- Acid reflux.
- Poor posture.
- Improper lifting.
- Carrying a heavy backpack.
If the pain in your thoracic back persists even after trying home remedies, it is advisable that you seek professional medical attention. There are various ways to treat your backache ranging from medication, physical therapy to surgery. Before starting any treatment, it is advisable that you understand your condition by enquiring from your health professional whenever you do not get it. Also, make sure that you understand the risks and benefits that come with your treatment. Ask your health professional for the options available.
Whatever treatment you opt for, it is crucial that you go through with it to achieve complete healing as well as prevent a recurrence of the same. Preventing your back from a repeat of the same condition is prudent. You can prevent thoracic back pain by exercising regularly. Exercise not only helps to build strong bones and muscles, but it also increases blood flow thereby ensuring that your muscles get sufficient nutrient. You can also prevent this condition by adopting the correct technique when lifting objects and correcting your body posture in general. Ensure to have an upright posture when sitting, standing, or walking.