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Physical therapy for mid back pain

What is mid back pain?

Most back pain occurs in the lower back rather than the middle or upper back, as the mid back region tends to be relatively stable. However, it is possible for patients to develop chronic pain in the mid back or upper back regions. The same underlying conditions that cause mid back pain can also cause upper back pain.

Poor posture is one of the primary risk factors for mid back pain, as are herniated discs, muscle strains, vertebral fractures, myofascial pain, and osteoarthritis. In more serious cases, mid back pain may result from a heart attack, an aortic aneurysm, or lung cancer. Aging and obesity represent additional (though less common) risk factors.

Source: UniversityHealthNews

The symptoms of mid back pain

As symptoms tend to differ depending on the cause and severity of the patient’s condition, the symptoms of middle back pain can vary greatly from person to person. For some patients, mid back pain may be brief and mild, resolving itself after just a few days. For others, the pain may be chronic, grow more severe over time, or interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks.

The symptoms most commonly associated with mid back pain include sharp, stabbing pain; general discomfort or an aching sensation; stiffness and reduced mobility; radiating pain that travels into the arms, chest, or lower back; and tingling, numbness, and weakness. Most patients likely won’t experience all of these symptoms.

The most common symptoms of mid back pain include:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Source: WebMD

What causes mid back pain?

Typically, mid back pain can either be attributed to overuse or to an underlying condition. Overuse injuries occur when the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine become strained or injured. This may occur if the patient participates in an activity that places stress on the mid back or if the patient has consistently poor posture.

Conditions that can cause mid back pain include spinal nerve problems, such as a pinched nerve or a herniated disc. Osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, or a vertebrae fracture can also cause mid back pain. Finally, mid back pain may be a symptom of a heart attack, cancer, or a severe infection.

The most common causes of mid back pain include:

  • Overuse
  • Poor posture
  • Spinal nerve problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Myofascial pain

Source: U of Michigan

Physical therapy for mid back pain

Physical therapy is a front-line treatment for mid back pain; typically, patients can avoid surgery — or recover from surgery more quickly — with the assistance of a licensed physical therapist. Pinched nerves, herniated discs, and osteoarthritis, for example, can be improved with physical therapy. Postural training can also help patients to maintain a straight spine throughout the day.

While physical therapy routines will vary from patient to patient depending on their individual needs, common methods of treating mid back pain include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapies, ultrasound, and stretching and strengthening exercises. Most physical therapy routines designed to treat mid back pain consist of a combination of these methods.

Source: Coury and Buehler PT

Luna’s physical therapists treat
mid back pain

Luna has physical therapists across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County that specialize in treating patients with mid back pain. Our skilled PTs are trained to develop personalized treatment plans that help patients return to the activities they love. Treatments are designed to reduce pain, restore mobility, and prevent re-injury.

Best of all, with Luna, patients can receive physical therapy for mid back pain at home. Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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