Which Conditions Can Cause Middle Back Pain?
As the body’s central support structure, the spine protects the spinal cord, sensitive nerve roots, and several internal organs. The spine keeps us standing upright and connects the head, chest, pelvis, shoulders, arms, and legs. Due to the intricate nature of the structure, nerve pain that extends from the back to the feet may actually be the result of a problem originating from your lumbar spine (lower back). While some patients reporting sore middle back pain only experience mild pain, others report intense pain that disrupts day-to-day activities.
But identifying the cause of middle back pain can help board-certified spine doctors pinpoint both the origin and cause of the pain. Once a spine surgeon determines the underlying conditions responsible for middle back pain, patients can begin advanced spinal care tailored to his or her individual needs. With a dedicated staff of nationally recognized spinal experts, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists understands the main conditions that cause the manifestation of middle back pain and proven treatment approaches to eliminate painful symptoms.
What Influencers Middle Back Pain?
Middle back pain typically originates from issues found within the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine (or mid-back) makes up an enormous part of the spine with many joints and muscles – all of which can generate middle back pain.
The most common explanation for middle back pain can be attributed to a pulled muscle or bruised ribs. Other prevalent causes can range from a combination of broken or fractured ribs, swollen rib cartilage injuries to the chest, osteoporosis, muscle spasms, and inflammation surrounding the lining of the lungs. Furthermore, other serious spinal conditions may be the underlying source of middle back pain.
Middle Back Pain From A Herniated Disc
A herniated disc developers when a disc protrusion ruptures or herniates through the delicate wall of the intervertebral disc. As a result, the viscous material from the interior of the disc can spill into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense middle back pain from impinging on sensitive nerves on one side of the body. In most cases, disc herniation originates from gradual, age-related wear and tear referred to as disc degeneration. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and if the disc is pressing on a nerve. The most common symptoms a patient will experience include pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, and muscle weakness affecting stability and the ability to lift or hold items.
Middle Back Pain From Kidney Stones
Internal organs, such as the kidney or colon, can cause middle back pain to manifest in the lower left back. Patients may feel middle back pain when a stone moves inside the left kidney or moves through the thin tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder. Once a kidney stone begins to move through the ureters, patients may notice a combination of symptoms, which include:
- Sharp middle back pain, below the ribs
- Fever and chill (if an infection is present)
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Stinging pain when urinating
Kidney stones form when a patient’s urine contains more crystal-forming substances – such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid – than the fluid can dilute. Alternatively, a patient’s urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, thereby creating the ideal setting for kidney stone formation.
Understanding the type of kidney stone affecting a patient can help with treatment and prevention. The types of kidney stone include:
- Calcium Stones: the most common type for metabolic conditions
- Struvite Stones: formed in response to an infection and may be asymptomatic
- Uric Acid Stones: formed in people who don’t drink enough fluids or lose too much fluid, eat a high-protein diet, or have gout
- Cystine Stones: formed in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids
Patients can receive kidney stone treatment for middle back pain by receiving a proper diagnosis from a board-certified doctor. Your doctor may order a combination of diagnostic tests such as blood and urine tests, and imaging test.
Most small kidney stones don’t require invasive treatment. Patients can soothe sharp middle back pain by drinking water, and pain relievers. But kidney stones that cannot be treated through conservative methods may require extensive treatment such as surgical extraction.
Middle Back Pain From Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis – or arthritis of the spine – is a degenerative disease that breaks down bone near weight-bearing joints and disc cartilage over time. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain during or after movement, joint stiffness, loss of flexibility, swelling, and bone spurs. Spine specialists refer to osteoarthritis as a “wear and tear” disease because it causes deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attaches muscle to bone. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Other risk factors that patients should look out for include age, obesity, joint injuries, genetics, bone deformities, and certain metabolic diseases.
Patients can receive an accurate osteoarthritis diagnosis from a board-certified spine surgeon. Doctors will conduct a physical examination, checking for joint tenderness, swelling, redness, and flexibility. Spine experts can obtain a clearer picture of a patient’s condition through diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is irreversible, but treatments can reduce middle back pain and help patients move without experiencing crippling pain. Patients can manage their middle back pain from osteoarthritis with over-the-counter medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgical intervention when necessary.
Let NJSS Treat Your Middle Back Pain
The solution to a patient’s middle back pain depends on the source of the pain, as well as the injury a patient sustained. The first step on the road to recovery involves consulting with a board-certified doctor for effective treatment approaches. Depending on the severity of the middle back pain, a patient’s spine doctor may recommend physical activity restrictions, lifestyle changes, medication, and physical therapy. For more intense middle back pain, a board-certified spine expert may suggest surgical inversion after exhausting all non-invasive methods.
Regardless of the source, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists can treat a patient’s middle back pain with precision and compassion. New Jersey Spine Specialist’s doctors hold a successful history in treating countless patients from all over New Jersey for a broad array of back-related issues, including middle back pain. With convenient locations at Summit’s Overlook Hospital and Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital, New Jersey Spine Specialist’s board-certified spine surgeons provide patients with treatment tailored to individual needs. If you begin to notice middle back pain, don’t let your quality of life dwindle any longer. Come in for a consultation with New Jersey’s leading spine doctors, and learn about what minimally invasive treatment options may be best for you. To find out more, give us a call at (908) 738-1679. NJSS also offers telehealth services for patients living in the surrounding area. Telemedicine is convenient, easy, and offers a thorough appointment with a spine expert without leaving home or the office.
“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” —Robert K
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