I always run across this question—what’s the main cause of middle back pain and what can I do to get rid of this acute pain? Or someone might say—why do I have middle back pain in the first place?
While middle back pain isn’t as common as lower or upper back pain, it is still extremely unpleasant. Middle back pain can put the brakes on your day and stop you from completing the easiest of tasks.
But why does middle back area cause such severe pain? Well, the middle of the back—also known as the thoracic spine—is made up of ligaments, muscles, and tendons that allow movement. This area is associated with the ribs, and quite naturally it isn’t that flexible. You cannot bend or stretch this area as easily as your lower back. So it’s usually due to stressed joints or strained muscles between the vertebrae and ribs.
You may also suffer from middle back pain due to poor posture, lack of exercise or an injury. As you can probably tell, identifying the reason behind severe middle back pain can be tricky. According to a CNN report, “more than 50 million Americans suffer from acute middle back pain at a huge cost of more than $100 billion a year.”
We all want relief from this intense pain. And in fact there are some ways to relieve middle back pain.
To spare you the pain of looking for the solution yourself, I did the following. I discussed this problem with an expert physician, read lots of medical journals and blogs, and finally, discovered some top-notch methods for managing middle back pain.
I am sharing with you the top 10 ways on getting rid of middle back pain. So let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
The 10 Best Ways of Relieving Middle Back Pain
Experts recommend exercise, particularly stretches, to reduce middle back pain and to speed up the recovery process. Stretching helps improve back flexibility. This is great for reducing pain and recovering from injuries. Regular exercise and stretching also strengthens the muscles of the middle back region that support your spine.
Walking, swimming and cycling are also highly recommended to relieve middle back pain. Routinely engaging in these activities will improve your posture, lower the possibility of back injuries, and keep your body fit while reducing pain.
One study has found that “regular yoga or exercises using special apparatuses are highly effective in reducing middle back pain.” According to the fitness and health journal, “it is best to stretch after a workout when your body is already warmed up.” Don’t forget to take short breaks between regular exercise and stretching.
2. Daily physical activity
Routinely engaging in some amount of physical activity has many benefits:
• It reduces muscle tension and spasms
• It improves blood flow and reduces inflammation. This ensures distribution of nutrients to the middle back area
• Your soft-tissue mobility gets better
• It reduces stress and anxiety, which is another cause of middle back pain
• Only 10 minutes of exercise makes your brain produce chemicals that provide a calming effect on the affected area
NOTE: Do consult a physiotherapist or doctor before starting an exercise regime for your middle back pain
3. Do Cat-and-Cow Pose
Practicing this pose seems to be a great way to extend your middle back area and increase muscle flexibility:
Place yourself on all fours with your shoulders over your hands. Then align your hips with your knees. When in you positione do the following:
- Take a deep breath as you curve your spine downward
- Stretch your neck and back
- Breathe out as you curve your spine upward
- Repeat 5 to 10 times
You can also move your hips and try looking side to side over each shoulder. Practicing this will help you loosen your spine and back.
Using OTC (over-the-counter) drugs can reduce swelling and pain. OTC drugs like Acetaminophen will help with the pain. Also NSAID drugs such as Aspirin, Motrin and Ibuprofen are especially effective with middle back pain.
TIPS: Be careful about your health and safety using these drugs. So please read the instructions and consult with your doctor before consuming these drugs.
5. Ice or Heat
Applying ice or heat is another highly effective method for reducing middle back pain. Heat helps with pain due to stiffness. On the other hand, applying ice can reduce swelling and pain. You can try both ice and heat until you find the remedy that works best for you.
6. Manual and physical therapy
Manual therapy (including massage or spinal manipulation) can work wonders in reducing pain and muscle tension. According to physiotherapists and fitness coaches, regular specific exercise combined with massages is a proven way of managing severe back pain.
Acupuncture is a treatment method where needles are pushed into certain points on the body. According to some physicians, acupuncture treatment is the number one method to reduce chronic middle back pain.
8. Practice Good Posture
Poor posture is often the main cause of middle and lower back pain. So it’s always a good idea to practice good posture. Sit straight, sit tall, and level your weight evenly on each foot. Also, remember to maintain correct posture while driving or sitting in front of the computer for a long time. For instance, ensure that the screen is at eye level. Sit closer to the steering wheel when you drive.
You may suffer from severe middle back pain if you fall asleep in an uncomfortable position. So you must figure out a comfortable sleeping position. Using a pillow helps maintain a sleeping position that supports your back. One study of Sleep Council found that “mattress should be changed every 7 years for comfortable sleeping without middle back pain.”
10. Stay positive
Lastly, don’t forget to stay optimistic! I know how difficult it can be, but a positive mindset is fundamental to quick recovery.
Middle back pain seems to be a common problem in people of all ages. But it becomes more and more noticeable when people enter their midlife. As long as you follow the steps I mentioned above, you will definitely get relief from middle back pain. It’s time to say goodbye to middle back pain, once and for all!