Common Symptoms of Thoracic Spinal Pain

Written By: Care New England on July 21, 2021

The thoracic region of the spine is defined as the area between the base of the neck, and the mid-part area of the abdomen. It consists of 12 vertebral bones, with each one sandwiching a doughnut-shaped, shock-absorbing spinal disc. The thoracic region comprises the longest portion of the spine and is the only part of the spine that attaches to the rib cage.

Five Most Common Symptoms of Thoracic Pain 

When a person experiences thoracic or middle back pain, it can cause a significant amount of discomfort. Mid-back pain can make sitting, lying in bed, standing up straight, and even breathing, very uncomfortable. Anyone with persistent mid-back pain will want to make an appointment with their physician, who can then examine to determine the cause of their pain. 

1. Persistent Mid-Back Pain 

It's not uncommon for a person to experience sore mid-back muscles now and then, especially if they've recently been performing some "weekend warrior" activities. However, if a person's mid-back pain lasts longer than a day or two, it could be a sign of an injury that may not go away on its own. Anyone experiencing persistent pain in the thoracic region should seek treatment from a professional medical source.

2. Sudden Sharp Mid-Back Pain

Some people may experience an injury that will bring on an episode of sudden and sharp pain. Often people will say this type of pain feels as if someone is stabbing them in the back. Pain like this may occur with certain movements such as rotating the trunk of the body or reaching down to pick up an item. 

3. Stiffness in the Mid-Back Area

Patients experiencing this type of discomfort will often describe it as general, achy stiffness. Individuals experiencing pain and stiffness typically find it very difficult to find a comfortable position, especially when sitting. They will also have difficulty engaging in basic movements such as standing up, reaching for items, getting in and out of bed, etc.

living with thoracic spinal pain

4. Radiating Back Pain

Since the thoracic region of the spine is attached to the rib cage, sometimes people may have symptoms of pain that wrap around their side and into their rib cage. In some cases, a person may have difficulty drawing a full breath because the muscles around the rib cage are being affected by the person's thoracic injury.

Radiating pain like this is typically only felt on one side. It may present itself as a dull, aching pain, an electric shock-like pain, or a sharp, stabbing pain. The pain may be continuous or intermittent. Since the pain is radiating to other parts of the body, it can be difficult for a person to self-diagnose and understand the true cause of their pain. People who have persistent pain in seemingly unusual areas of the mid-body should seek prompt medical attention, as they may have a thoracic injury.

5. Numbness, Tingling, and/or Weakness

As with the two other spinal regions, the lumbar (lower back) and the cervical (neck), the thoracic spinal region is rich in nerves that communicate with important regions of the body including the arms, chest, stomach, and lower parts of the body.         

If any injury in the mid-back area causes a thoracic nerve to become pinched, a person could experience numbness, tingling, or in severe cases, weakness, in any of the above-mentioned regions of the body. Individuals experiencing these types of symptoms should see their physician as soon as possible to receive prompt medical care.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in the mid-back area, and/or pain radiating to other parts of the body, it's important to receive appropriate medical attention. Please contact us today to request an appointment.

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