mid-back injuries are often accompanied by rib pain. The rib cage and ribs are connected to the spine so an issue with one of these areas can lead to pain in the other. Often times when your back and/or ribs are injured, it can be extremely painful. In severe cases patients find their range of motion limited and experience pain when they cough, sneeze or laugh. Thoracic pain, also known as mid-back pain or upper back pain, is much less common than low back or Neck Pain. Frequently thoracic back pain has a benign musculo sketeletal origin, but may indicate a more serious underlying problem. The word thoracic means “pertaining to the chest”; hence the thoracic spine forms the back of the chest wall.
With markedly less mobility than the cervical spine above and lumbar spine below, the thoracic spine’s main function is to provide protection for the vital organs in the chest, such as the heart and lungs, as well as allow stability for standing upright. The thoracic spine consists of 12 vertebra, 10 of which have ribs attached, intervertebral discs separating each vertebra, supporting soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons), and twelve thoracic nerves.
Five joints, including one facet joint on either side of the vertebra, provide a somewhat mobile connection between each vertebra T1-T12.The ribs connect with the vertebrae in the thoracic spine by two joints that connect with each side of the spine. Dysfunction in these joints can result in upper back pain.
Treatment for this type of injury usually includes manual manipulation (with an osteopathic physician, chiropractor or a physical therapist trained in manipulation) to help mobilize the joint and reduce the discomfort. Lasting relief usually also requires a home exercise program for stretching the spine and shoulders as well as strengthening. Aerobic conditioning is also very important to maintain sustained upper back pain relief