Back pain: types, causes and treatment

If the studies are to be believed, no less than 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. The term “back pain” covers a number of problems such as low back pain, chronic low back pain, sciatica and herniated discs, all of which have one thing in common: the pain is localized to the spine. Therefore, back pain can have multiple causes and can be determined by an MRI for spine scan.

Types of back pain

Back pain can be classified into three groups. If the pain is located in the upper back or in the neck bones (cervical spine), it is known in medical terms as cervicalgia. If the pain is located in the lower back, around the lumbar vertebrae, it is called low back pain or low back pain. Lastly, if the pain is located in the middle of the back around the thoracic vertebrae, it is called chest or mid-back pain.

Cervicalgia (neck pain) is a pain felt in the cervical spine that usually disappears in a few days, and is often associated with poor posture or exertion.

Low back pain is pain felt in the lower back and can hinder even the slightest movement. It is mainly caused by sudden or prolonged movements, or by staying in the same position for too long. It is the most common type of back pain.

Thoracic or mid-back pain, which is what we are specifically focusing on in this article, is pain that is felt from the middle of the back to the base of the neck, around the thoracic vertebrae. The thoracic spine, which acts as a support structure for the rib cage, is made up of less mobile vertebrae than the others, and any problem in this area can cause pain and/or a feeling of stiffness or restricted movement.

Two other very common types of pain can also be classified:

Herniated Disc (Herniated Disc) – This occurs in the intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae, which give the spine its flexibility and act as shock absorbers. If the soft inner part of the disc starts to bulge out, it can press on nerves or the spinal cord. This is known as a herniated disc. It most often affects the lumbar vertebrae, which we rely heavily on in daily life.

Sciatica: When a herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, the pain can spread throughout the leg, which is known as sciatica.

Causes of Middle or Thoracic Back Pain

Mid-back pain can have a number of causes. Most of the time, it is the result of a fall, sudden movements, or staying in the same position for too long. Mid-back pain usually comes on gradually. The causes can be classified as follows:

  • Mechanical: when you stay in the same position for too long
  • Traumatic: after an accident, a fall or a strong impact
  • Rheumatological: mainly after 60 years
  • Degenerative: problems related to aging or a sedentary lifestyle (with little or no physical activity).
  • Physiological: pregnancy, menstruation and menopause can cause pain in the middle of the back.
  • Finally, stress and anxiety can cause pain as a result of tension in the back muscles.

However, mid-back pain can also be a sign of cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problems, lung or organ problems, or conditions such as scoliosis. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor if you experience back pain for a long period of time.

Middle Back Pain Treatment: Treatments and Prevention

If the back pain is not specific, the treatment will consist of taking pain relievers and doing exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility. In other cases, back pain needs to be treated based on its cause. For example, if the pain is related to a musculoskeletal problem, osteopathy, physiotherapy or massage may be considered. If the pain is related to stress, some simple breathing or relaxation exercises can help relieve it. If the pain persists and becomes chronic, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or, in some cases, injections. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.

There are also other solutions that help reduce shoulder pain, without medication. The OMRON range of electrostimulators helps relieve muscle and joint pain using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) technology. OMRON HeatTens can even offer a combination of heat treatment and TENS in a single unit


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Hey, Mark Ladd here. I am a sports fanatic and have a passion for this. Particularly running is what I love best. However, around 5 years ago I had an accident that changed my life. I can no longer pursue those sporting activities, so I moved my focus on a different approach where I blog about the sports and other areas of life which I have grown to appreciate more since my accident.

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