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Mid Back Pain

Mid back pain, even though less common than low back pain, can be very problematic; it can be the result of our occupation (having to sit for long hours at a desk, etc), from a shoulder pain or imbalance which causes us to compensate at the back or neck and we can even see it in fast growing teenagers who begin to slouch causing pain in the mid back to rise.

General Anatomy

Bones
Provides structural support for the body and serves as an anchor points for ligaments and tendons.

Ligaments
Ligaments are non-elastic tissues which connect one bone to another bone giving our body structure its stability. When frequently or severely injured, ligaments become "stretched out" causing the joint to become loose or more unstable. Ligaments have a poor blood supply so have a tendency to heal more slowly than other tissues. Injuries to ligaments are called "sprains".

Tendons
Tendons are elastic tissues that connect a muscle to a bone.

Muscles
Muscles are elastic tissues. Muscles and tendons work together to create the body's motion. Injuries to muscles and tendons are called "strains".

Cartilage
Cartilage is the spongy material that lines the ends of the bones. It works as the body's "shock absorber", helping to cushion the impact placed upon the bones during activity as well as directly protecting the ends of the bones. This is called articular cartilage.

Bursa
Bursa are fluid filled sacs that lie between tissues or tissues and bones preventing friction.

Bones

There are 3 regions of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar); the mid back is considered the thoracic spine and is comprised of 12 individual vertebra. Beside the vertebra, the health of the mid back is highly effected by the low back, neck and shoulder joints; any tightness, weakness or imbalance within these other joints places stress on the mid back.

Kyphosis
Kyphosis is the postural name given to the mid back when someone slouches. Not only will this cause the joints and muscles of the mid back to ache, but will eventually lead to shoulder, neck and low back difficulties.

Shoulder Relationship
With Mid back pain and altered postures, you can also begin to notice some difficulties at the shoulder. As shown in the below picture, if you have limitations in your mid back it will prevent you from being able to raise your arms above your head. In order to fully lift your arms, you mid back and neck joints must be able to “extend” or slide backwards. A forward bent posture prevents this which begins negatively affecting your shoulders.

Muscles

Our back alignment is greatly dependent on our muscle strength. The stronger our back muscles the better our posture. The back muscles help pull the head and the shoulder back and up giving us more of an upright posture, but as our back muscles weaken the shoulder and the head will begin to slouch forward.

Vertebral Column Normal Spine VS Kyphotic Spine Shoulder Relationship Diagram Color Coded Back Muscles Side View of Back Muscles