Mid Back Injuries
The Mid Back:
The mid back, or thoracic spine, is the important connection between our neck and lower back. The thoracic spine is abused by us everyday by adopting the common slouched posture when we sit driving, watching tv, or behind the desk at work.
The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae labelled T1-T12. Just like at the neck and lower back, between each vertebrae is a disc which acts as a shock absorption cushion. Attached to each of these vertebrae is one of your ribs, and also at each level a spinal nerve exits and runs alongside your ribs to supply that level. This is why poor functioning at your thoracic spine can affect your breathing or cause pain referral as chest pain. A layering of muscles overly these joints connecting the mid back to the neck, lower back and shoulder complex.
With an acute injury, for example a sudden jarring or external force, or from poor posture, arthritis, or overuse, any of these structures can be damaged, starting a cascade of events. This can result in pain, loss of range of motion, muscle spasm, joint stiffness, weakness or pins and needles, overall limiting your ability to function with normal activities of daily living.
How Physio mechanics can help:
If left untreated minor mid back injuries can cause long term complications. Physio mechanics can help. On your first visit we will perform a thorough initial assessment allowing us to confirm your diagnosis and answer any questions you have. From there we will devise an individualised short term treatment plan to relieve your current symptoms, and a long term plan to prevent future reoccurrences. Common mid back physio treatments include massage, trigger point release, thoracic/shoulder girdle joint mobilisations, postural education, K taping, and stretching and strengthening exercises. If you are suffering from any mid back aches or pains ring today and arrange an appointment with one of our expert staff.
Some common midback injuries we treat are:
Facet Joint sprain – a facet joint sprain is common and usually occurs from a compression type injury between 2 joints at a level in your mid back. When this happens the cartilage between these joints are pinched and an inflammatory process begins. Painful movements are usually those that further compress these inflamed joints, eg. a right sided facet joint sprain may mean you cannot bend over to the right painfree.
Muscular Spasm – muscle spasm can occur from stress, poor posture or an underlying injury. Usually this will result in deep dull aching and tightness in the mid back region commonly referring to the top of the shoulder blade and neck, or the lower back. Poor posture in the thoracic spine creates an anterior wedging of each vertebrae on another and your upper body weight hangs off this poorly positioned spine. By adopting a “neutral spine” posture, the vertebrae are aligned for optimal support and the postural muscles give even further support.
Ankylosing spondylitis - This is a form of arthritis primarily affecting the spine, although other joints can become involved also. It causes inflammation of the vertebrae often leading to severe, chronic pain and discomfort. In severe cases this can lead to new bone formation on the spine, and calcified ligaments, causing the vertebrae to change shape, therefore restricting movement and often causing a forward-stooped posture. Osteoarthritis can also affect the mid back, as it causes breakdown of the shock absorbing disc spaces, and bony overgrowth, both limiting movement.
Chest Pain – Chest pain can sometimes come from a thoracic spine issue. This is because each rib attaches into the thoracic spine, and also the nerve supply travels from each vertebrae along these ribs. Common causes leading to such pain referral are, a thoracic facet sprain, disc bulge, or muscle spasm, which compress and stiffen the thoracic and rib joints and can pinch on the nerves.