The spine is divided into three areas including the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back)—and Dr. Nikesh Seth has seen patients complaining of pain in all three areas. The lumbar and cervical regions get a lot of attention, but don’t overlook pain and discomfort in the thoracic spine. Although teenage girls are the most common patients to experience thoracic pain, it can happen to anyone. The causes include carrying heavy backpacks and poor posture. After all, slouching notoriously puts the thoracic spine into a curve.
Children, in general, are most at risk of thoracic pain, but in a survey, there were up to 72 percent of adults also reporting thoracic pain. The height of chairs, intensive studying, and mental health issues are all related to thoracic pain. The changes that occur during puberty are also linked to a spike in this type of back pain.
Although most causes of thoracic pain aren’t serious, in some instances it can be a sign of a critical condition. If you’ve had a recent injury, such as a fall or car crash, and experience thoracic pain it’s paramount to seek immediate medical attention. Osteoporosis can also cause back pain, and anyone over 50 years old with thoracic pain should see a specialist. If you have a history of cancer, serious medical condition, or any disorder that suppresses the immune system, thoracic pain can be a sign of something more serious than strained muscles.
Slipped discs are rare in the thoracic spine, but do occur. Thoracic stenosis, or a narrowing of the thoracic canal, can be painful, too. Sometimes there’s a fracture causing mild or moderate pain, and thoracic pain has even been connected to shingles and spinal infections. If something doesn’t seem quite right or you simply want to address the pain naturally and effectively, it’s time to get help.
Sudden strains and sprains are the most common causes of this type of pain. Sitting at a computer for hours, slouching, or general lack of thoracic muscle strength are leading causes of upper back pain. It can also be a repetitive stress injury. No matter the cause, contact Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 for a diagnosis and treatment options.