What Is Middle Back Pain
Middle back pain is any type of pain or discomfort in the area between your upper and lower back. Healthcare professionals refer to this area as the lower thoracic area or lower thoracic spine. The upper thoracic area or upper thoracic spine makes up part of the upper back. The lumbar spine makes up part of the lower back.
The middle back consists of the spine , spinal cord, nerves, discs, muscles, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. Any of the structures in the spine or back area can become irritated or inflamed in response to a variety of mild to serious conditions. Middle back pain causes include sports injuries, poor posture, arthritis, muscle strain, and car accident injuries. Middle back pain is not as common as lower back pain because the thoracic spine does not move as much as the spine in the lower back and neck.
Pain in the middle of the back may be either short lived or chronic, which is defined as lasting more than three months. Middle back pain may be described as a dull, annoying ache or a sharp, acute pain. The pain can radiate, or spread, to other areas of your body. The converse is also true pain that is caused by a problem somewhere else in your body can radiate to your middle back.
In some cases, acute back pain can resolve with basic self-care measures within a few weeks, but it can also persist and lead to more serious problems over time.
High Or Persistent Fever
The big worries: Fever is your bodyâs way of fighting infection. But âfever of 103 degrees and higher warrants a trip to the doctor period,â says David Bronson, M.D., president of the American College of Physicians. It may indicate a urinary tract infection, pneumonia, endocarditis or meningitis, which may require antibiotics to clear up. A persistent low-grade fever for several weeks with no obvious cause is characteristic of some infections, including a sinus infection, and some cancers, like lymphoma and leukemia. âCancer is on the list of things we think about, but it is usually not the first thing,â says Ronan Factora, M.D., a geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
What else it might be: Fever can be triggered by a virus, which, depending on your health and other symptoms, may require hospitalization.
Research suggests that the time between the onset of symptoms and a diagnosis of lung cancer is around 12 months. This is often because a person does not recognize the symptoms, or because they hope that theyâll go away. Back pain is one such symptom.
It is not uncommon for people to have back pain with lung cancer, or even to have back pain as their first symptom. In fact, there are certain defining symptoms that point to cancer as the cause of back pain.
Verywell / Hugo Lin
How Can I Take Care Of Back Pain And Dizziness At Home
If your back pain and dizziness are related to an injury, resting and icing your back can help ease pain and inflammation. Always keep the ice covered with a cloth. Leave it on for no more than 10 minutes at a time to prevent injuring your skin.
You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce your back pain.
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When Back Pain Suggests Something Worse
Back pain, whether it’s low back pain, neck pain or pain up between the shoulder blades, affects so many of us that that almost everyone has had an ache or pain that has made them worry. Since the common causes of back and neck pain are typically age-related wear-and-tear changes or minor injuries, 90% of people improve with simple supportive care – rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. However, when pain persists, or presents in an unusual way, you may begin to worry that the pain is coming from something more serious.
While serious, unrecognized diseases are very uncommon causes of back pain, there are some disorders that can seriously impact your health if they aren’t recognized early enough. These kinds of disorders almost always offer a few clear clues to their diagnosis, however. A careful history and physical examination, looking for specific signs and symptoms, and properly selected diagnostic studies, will allow your physicians to confidently rule out important underlying diseases.
There are a few warning signs you should recognize and bring to your doctor’s attention:
If You Have Chronic Back Pain That Wakes You Up In The Second Half Of The Night It Could Be A Type Of Inflammatory Arthritis Called Ankylosing Spondylitis
This video is part of a new campaign about ankylosing spondylitis awareness from the nonprofit patient community CreakyJoints. The videos in this campaign were produced with support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
If youre reading this article, chances are your back pain is bad so bad that its disrupting your ability to sleep well, which generally makes everything in life worse. Poor sleep can exacerbate pain symptoms, affect daytime fatigue, and contribute to a host of other health problems, from heart disease to weight gain to diabetes.
Its an important first step that youre taking your back pain at night seriously and looking for answers as to what is causing it.
Back pain at night could be due a number of different health concerns , but one that often goes overlooked is inflammatory back pain from conditions like ankylosing spondylitis or axial spondyloarthritis . These are types of arthritis that affect your spine and other parts of the body, causing inflammation, chronic pain, and, over time, joint damage that can cause the bones in your spine to fuse together.
In a study presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, morning stiffness and pain that wakes people up from sleep were the two most common symptoms in people with back pain from inflammatory arthritis like AS.
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Causes Of Middle Back Pain
What are some of the most common causes of middle back pain and when should you be concerned? Read on to learn more about why you may be experiencing discomfort in the middle of your back.
Poor posture: One of the most common causes of middle back pain is poor posture, especially if you sit at a desk for long periods of time. Hunched posture can cause tightness in the muscles of the middle of your back, so if you have a desk job, it is important to be mindful of how you are sitting. Try to sit up straight and stretch your shoulders often to keep the muscles in your back loose.
Muscle strain: Whether your job involves heavy lifting or you practice weight-lifting in the gym, ensuring you do so using correct form is crucial to preventing middle back pain. The pain experienced in the middle back associated with lifting improperly is due to muscle strain that can make your job or fitness routine extremely difficult and painful. Be sure to use the proper lifting technique to prevent thisbend at the knees and use your legs to help lift the weight, and carry the heavy mass close to your body to reduce the risk of painful muscle strain.
Vertebral fractures: More common in elderly persons, these fractures often occur in those with the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis. Prevent vertebral fractures by eating a calcium rich diet and taking the appropriate medications to help strengthen your bones.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
It is important to remember these symptoms can be caused by many different conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome or indigestion, and arent usually the result of cancer.
However, if you or a loved one regularly experience one or more of these identified pancreatic cancer symptoms which are not normal for you, do not ignore them, contact your GP straight away.
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You’re Having Problems With Your Bowels Or Urination
If your back pain is paired with a loss of control over your bowels or urination, then it’s time to seek help immediately at a local emergency room. These symptoms point to cauda equina syndrome, where the nerves in the lower spine have become paralyzed. While rare, this syndrome can be permanently damaging to the nerves if left untreated. If you experience these symptoms, especially accompanied by numbness in the legs, then you may need surgery to decompress the nerves and preserve their overall function.
Middle Back Pain Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of middle back pain include:
- A dull, sharp, or burning pain in the middle of the back
- Muscle stiffness or tightness
- Sudden middle back pain or gradual middle back pain
- Pain worsening with specific activity and movement
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- Numbness in your arms, legs, chest, or abdomen
- Weakness in the arms or legs
While most cases of middle back pain can be treated at home, it is important to contact a doctor if you are experiencing any of the last three symptoms listed, or are also experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, serious illness, or injury.
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Your Pain Extends To Other Body Parts
If you’re experiencing severe back pain that is coupled with pain in other areas such as shooting pain down your leg then you should see a doctor. This could be a sign that you have sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and through the buttocks before branching down each leg. This condition usually results from a herniated disk. A doctor will be able to offer a variety of ways that you can relieve this pain.
What Is Active Physical Therapy
Active physical therapy involves movement-based activities like: stretching, range of motion exercises, and targeted spine strengthening and conditioning exercises.
The movements and exercises are designed to address those underlying causes of chronic back pain so you can strengthen your back, condition your muscles and improve your mobility.
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What To Do For Chronic Backpain Can You Get Pain Relief Without Surgery
Surgery can be an effective option for long-term pain relief. But theres not a lot of data to support that surgery is the best solution for curing back pain.
Generally, surgery is only recommended after non-surgical treatment options have stopped working.
The best treatment for chronic back pain is movement, which may sound weird. When your back hurts, you usually think its time to take it easy. So, you avoid certain activities or movements because you think it will help you heal faster.
But the less you move the more youll experience that muscle deconditioning and your pain will probably get worse.
So, how do you heal your chronic back pain? You need ongoing active physical therapy.
How Do I Know If I Have This
Back pain is experienced by people in the population and having mid-back pain does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. However, if you are experiencing mid back pain that is not normal for you, there is no harm in checking with your GP especially if you are experiencing any of the other symptoms described here.
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How Are Back And Neck Pain Managed
Acute back pain usually gets better without special treatment. Using acetaminophen or ibuprofen will decrease pain and help you rest. Surgery and special exercises are generally not used with acute pain.
For severe, disabling, or chronic back and neck pain, rehabilitation programs can be designed to meet your needs. The type of program will depend on the type and severity of your pain, injury, or disease. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of rehabilitation programs.
The goal of back and neck rehabilitation is to help you manage disabling pain, return to your highest level of functioning and independence possible, while improving your overall quality of life. The focus of rehabilitation is on relieving pain and improving mobility .
To help reach these goals, back and neck rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Exercise programs to improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase endurance
Help with obtaining assistive devices that promote independence
Patient and family education and counseling
Pain management techniques
Gait and movement retraining
Ergonomic assessments and work-related injury prevention programs
Treatment Options For Stress
The first thing we do with every patient who has back pain is determine its root cause. Its important to understand that no adult can expect to live 100 percent pain-free or stress-free. However, we can discuss ways to minimize discomfort and help patients feel less tense.
An effective way to reduce stress and back pain is to exercise and stretch more.
Physical activity can release endorphins and improve overall health, which can help reduce stress. Make a point to get up during the work day and do a few laps around the office every few hours, or try a standing desk. At home, reserve time to exercise. Physical therapy also can help relieve spine pain and return your neck and back to optimal flexibility. A physical therapist can show you specific stretches to pinpoint trouble areas in your neck and back.
Eating a healthy diet also can help reduce stress.
When you eat well long term, your general health can improve, and you will likely feel more energetic. Healthy eating is key to weight loss and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight offloads pressure from your spine and improves your posture.
Additionally, its important to make time in your schedule to relax.
Many patients with back pain are very busy with work, family, and social commitments. Carve out time to read a good book, spend time with family and friends, or practice mindfulness or meditation.
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What Causes Back Pain And Nausea
Back pain and nausea often occur at the same time. Frequently, pain related to digestive or intestinal issues can radiate to the back. This can occur if you have biliary colic, a condition in which gallstones obstruct the gallbladder.
Morning sickness associated with pregnancy can cause nausea. Back pain is also common with pregnancy, as the weight of the growing fetus puts strain on the back. Often these symptoms arent a cause for concern for pregnant women. However, when nausea occurs after the first trimester, it may be a symptom of preeclampsia, which is a condition in which blood pressure becomes too high. If youre pregnant and experience nausea into your second trimester, seek medical advice.
Other conditions that can cause back pain and nausea include:
- shortness of breath
- worsening symptoms
Make an appointment with your doctor if your back pain continues for more than two weeks after your nausea subsides.
This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.
What Causes Back And Neck Pain
Even with today’s technology, the exact cause of back and neck pain is difficult to determine. In most cases, back and neck pain may have many different causes, including any of the following:
Overuse, strenuous activity, or improper use, such as repetitive or heavy lifting
Trauma, injury, or fractures
Degeneration of vertebrae, often caused by stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, or the effects of aging
Abnormal growth, such as a tumor or bone spur
Obesity, which places increased weight on your spine, and pressure on your discs
Poor muscle tone
Joint problems, such as arthritis
Protruding or herniated disk and pinched nerve
Osteoporosis and compression fractures
Congenital abnormalities of your vertebrae and bones
Abdominal problems, such as an aortic aneurysm
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Treatment If Back Pain Is Severe Or Lasts A Long Time
If your back pain doesn’t get better or is severe, your doctor may recommend:
- Prescription medicines.
These may include:
- Muscle relaxants to help reduce pain and muscle tension and help you move better. These can help with severe muscle spasms that happen when the back pain starts .
- Antidepressants, such as duloxetine. They can help treat long-lasting back pain.
- Prescription pain medicines.
- Steroid shots.
They may help reduce swelling and relieve pressure on nerves and nerve roots. But there is little evidence showing that these shots can help control back pain.
In some cases, a back brace may be used to support the bones in the spine after a fracture.
Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
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