Thoracic Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
What Is Thoracic Pain?
Thoracic Pain or Midback Pain is a benign condition usually caused due to some musculoskeletal abnormalities but it may be a sign of a potentially serious underlying medical condition. Thoracic Pain is quite a rare condition that people face when compared to conditions like Back Pain or Neck Pain. The thoracic spine forms the area behind the chest wall. The thoracic spine is not as mobile or overworked as the cervical or lumbar spine and hence is less prone to injuries. The primary function of the thoracic spine is to protect vital internal organs like the heart and lungs. It also provides stability to the body and allows an individual to stand up straight.
What Are The Causes Of Thoracic Pain?
There can be numerous causes of Thoracic Pain or Midback Pain. Some pathological conditions like spinal stenosis or disc herniations along with compression fracture or scoliosis are known to cause this condition. Other causes may include:
Thoracic Spondylosis: This condition is caused due to wear and tear of the spine which causes disc space narrowing and development of osteophytes with resultant increased pressure on the surrounding tissues and nerves causing pain and at times numbness and weakness of the upper extremities.
Arthritis: This is another condition in which there is wear and tear of the bones due to aging process and can cause Thoracic Pain or Midback Pain.
Some Other Causes Of Thoracic Pain Are:
- Being older than 45 years of age
- History of trauma or injury to the thoracic spine
- Poor sitting posture
- Strenuous physical activity
- Inadequate physical condition of the body
- Lack of exercise.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Thoracic Pain?
Thoracic Pain Symptoms Are:
- Severe pain in the upper or midback
- Instability of the upper back
- Neck or back stiffness
- Reduced movement in the thoracic area
- Increased pain with coughing or sneezing.
How Is Thoracic Pain Diagnosed?
Treating physician will conduct a thorough physical examination of the thoracic or midback area to look for areas of tenderness or stiffness. The physician will also look for pain with coughing or sneezing. Radiological studies like MRI or CT scan may be required to confirm the diagnosis of Thoracic Pain or Midback Pain.
What Are The Treatments For Thoracic Pain?
Treating physician will prescribe NSAIDs like Tylenol or acetaminophen and if they are ineffective the physician may also prescribe stronger pain medications including controlled substances like Percocet for pain relief.
If pain medications are not effective in controlling pain, then the physician may go for an epidural steroid injection, especially in cases of degenerative or arthritic conditions. The physician will start with one injection and if it is effective in providing pain relief for a considerable period of time then a series of steroid injections may be done. The procedure is done by injecting a combination of corticosteroid and local anesthetic into the epidural space. The steroids decrease inflammation and irritation and hence help in pain relief.
In some extreme cases, a surgical procedure may be required.
Appropriate physical therapy, diligent exercise, balanced nutrition, also go a long way in helping Thoracic Pain or Midback Pain.
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- What Can Cause Thoracic Back Pain and How Is It Treated?