Thoracic Pain and Stiffness


What is the mid and upper back (thoracic spine)?

The thoracic spine refers to the upper and middle back. It joins the cervical spine and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades, where it connects with the lumbar spine. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, with 12 ribs that attach along its length.
At Hoppers Physio, we also include the shoulder blades, and all associated shoulder blade and spinal muscles in the area as mid and upper back.

Where is your mid and upper back pain coming from?

While the thoracic spine has a solid construction and is relatively stable, it can also be a source of pain.

Muscular pain (also called myofascial pain);
Muscular origin pain is the most common thoracic pain.
Along the spine or between the blades are the most common areas.
Usually due to tension and excessive postural loading.

Vertebral (or joint) pain;
Pain caused by joint (spine) stiffness.
Can be where the vertebrae stack onto each other or where the ribs attach.

Vertebral fractures;
Compression fractures can be due to trauma or due to osteoporosis in the elderly.
They typically occur in the lower thoracic spine. The front of the vertebral body is compressed, which causes a wedging effect of the vertebra.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine abnormally curves sideways and can sometimes produce upper back pain.
Scoliosis typically develops in childhood, and is rarely progressive.

Kyphosis (Hunchback);
Kyphosis is an excessive rounding of the mid back.
It can be caused by many factors, such as poor posture, or a deformity, such as ankylosing spondylitis or Scheuermann’s kyphosis.

Due to wear and tear of the aging process, the cartilage in the facet joints can become thin or disappear or can produce an overgrowth of bone spurs and an enlargement of the joints.

What can help mid to upper back pain?

Depending on the cause of the pain, the following advice and treatments may be used by your Hoppers Physiotherapist;
Ask for advice on correct posture and work station ergonomics.
Our physiotherapy treatments target the tight and tender muscles and joints whilst including soft tissue massage, spine mobilization and strengthening exercises.
Assessing and then changing any poor movement patterns that may be ‘loading’ your spine and muscles.

If you are suffering mid and upper back pain? Our Hoppers Crossing Physiotherapists can address any discomfort you may be experiencing and put a plan in place to eliminate your pain. Call 9749 5110 to make your appointment today.