About Thoracic Back Pain
The thoracic spine, or mid-back, is less susceptible to injury and damage than the neck or lower back, but it can still be a source of pain. The thoracic region is defined by the thoracic spine, which is made up of the vertebral bodies that have ribs associated with them. These vertebrae are numbered from T1 to T12. The thoracic spine starts at the base of the neck. The lowest vertebra of the thoracic spine, T12, connects below the bottom of the rib cage to the first vertebra of the lumbar spine, called L1. The upper half of the thoracic spine is much less mobile than the lower section, making disc herniations in the upper thoracic spine rare. About 75 percent of thoracic disc herniations occur from T8 to T12, with the majority affecting T11 and T12.
Mid-back pain can be caused by several factors. Some sources of mid-back pain include vertebral body fractures, facet joint arthritis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and muscle spasms. Sometimes patients may report pain between the scapula or shoulder blade. This can be due to many reasons but may include a poor ergonomic workplace setup leading to poor posture that aggravates the muscles and joints of the upper back.
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Symptoms of Thoracic Back Pain
Symptoms of thoracic or mid-back pain can vary but usually mimic those of cervical or lumbar back pain. Patients may describe their pain as sharp, shooting, deep, achy pain made worse with twisting and activity. Patient’s may endorse sharp pain that exists between their scapula or pain that radiates from the middle of their back outward along the ribs to the abdomen. Patient’s may also report sharp focal pain that is isolated to a specific area of their mid-back.
Treatments for Thoracic Back Pain
Diagnosing the source of mid-back pain is the first step in managing discomfort and improving mobility of the thoracic spine. Our interventional spine specialists at Ospina Medical can identify vertebral or spinal disc damage, nerve compression or facet joint problems or muscle spasms that may be contributing to your mid-back pain. Treatment options will vary based on the source of your pain. We offer several treatment options for the thoracic spine that include epidural or cortisone injections, facet joint injections, trigger point injections or even radiofrequency ablation therapies if needed.
For those looking to avoid steroids, Regenexx regenerative medicine procedures may offer a novel solution. Using a combination of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), platelet-lysate and bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells, we are able to heal damaged tissue and improve pain without the need for surgery. These healing cells are injected directly into damaged structures to promote healing. Most patients report dramatic improvements in pain and function after these procedures with minimal downtime.
Our interventional spine specialists are experts in Regenexx regenerative medicine treatments. If you are interested to learn more about Regenexx and whether you qualify for treatment, please reach out to Ospina Medical, located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City to speak with one of our Regenexx providers today.