Middle back pain is pain or discomfort in the lower part of the thoracic spinal region. Upper back pain is considered a part of neck spasm and the conditions causing it are commonly muscular abnormalities. Low back pain is seen in middle and elderly individuals due to increased stress on the weight-bearing part of the back. The causes of middle back pain are mostly related to structural abnormalities that arise during growth and development of the vertebrae. The middle back is frequently targeted by infections, deformities, and tumors, and so on. These diseases occur slowly over a period of several months to years and intriguingly the same is true regarding their treatment.
Spinal deformities (kyphosis, scoliosis, etc.) have a tendency to recover spontaneously (without any treatment, during normal growth of the body). Hence, repeated visits and x-ray examinations are necessary to look for improvement or worsening of a deformity. Spinal infections on the other hand need prolonged antibiotic therapy with repeated monitoring of response to treatment. Spinal tumors are surgically removed at the onset but yet have to be monitored for recurrence. Thus, diseases causing middle back pain necessitate repeated visits to the orthopedist, which should be religiously done to lead a disease free life thereafter !
Other Causes of Middle back pain
Heavy school bags is the reason for middle back pain in school going children. The inability to bear the burden of the bag makes the child adopt awkward postures while walking with the school bag. This causes muscle strain of para-spinal back muscles. Thus, the tender backs of children should be protected from this potentially preventable menace !
Prolonged use of computers with improper posture is a leading cause of back pain among software professionals. With increasing use of the internet as a pastime even teenagers are falling prey to this disease. It is mainly a repetitive stress on the back muscles, which after a period of time is transferred to the vertebrae. Hence, it is called repetitive strain injury or RSI.
Depending on the duration of symptoms, degenerative changes are seen in para-spinal back muscles, inter-vertebral discs, and vertebrae. Improper viewing angle during computer use is subconsciously corrected by assuming a relatively awkward posture, because of the normal postural reflexes. Thus, use of a comfortable supportive chair with the computer screen at the right viewing angle eliminates the possibility of this disease.
Spinal arthritis or spondylosis is also seen in the middle back, which is due to aging. This causes the inter-vertebral disc to degenerate and lose its elasticity. Movement between the hardened degenerated disc and the vertebrae lead to inflammation at that joint and spicules of bone are formed (c.f. osteophytes in knee joint arthritis). Thus, it is an important cause of middle back pain in the elderly !