Back pain is never fun. Whether it’s a dull ache or something sharper, back pain can disrupt your sleep, your exercise, and your ability to enjoy life. And middle back pain, which occurs in the area between the neck and the lower part of the rib cage, can be particularly frustrating. But the good news is that there are ways to treat back pain that don’t involve incisions or hospital stays.
Treating Middle Back Pain Without Surgery
If you’ve been struggling with back pain for more than three days, one of the first things you’ll want to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor so you can get a proper diagnosis. In addition to examining your spine, abdomen, and neck, your physician may order a few tests. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are all possible tests your doctor may recommend.
The diagnosis you receive will play a role in determining the best way to address your pain, but there are plenty of home remedies and non-surgical medical options.
Physical therapy can be very effective at resolving back pain. Your physical therapist may spend part of your appointment treating your back with heat, ice, ultrasound technology, or another modality. Your therapist will also likely guide you through a set of exercises and stretches designed to rehabilitate and mobilize your spine.
When you see a chiropractor for back pain, he or she will manipulate your spine, using their hands, in a way that aims to improve your mobility. A chiropractor will also likely give you recommendations about exercises and other types of self-care you can perform at home for your back.
Your physician may prescribe either pain relievers or muscle relaxers to help ease your discomfort. Some patients also find that over-the-counter pain relievers are effective.
For patients with chronic back pain, physicians will sometimes recommend a cortisone shot, which is injected into the area surrounding the spinal cord and associated nerves. The goal of this shot is to minimize inflammation and help the patient begin comfortably moving again. In some cases, a cortisone shot is used in combination with physical therapy or some other form of rehabilitation. Most patients see relief two or three days after the injection.
For immediate relief from back pain that has just started, some patients find relief with ice packs, which are applied over a towel or some other layer that shields the skin from the direct cold. After a couple of days, applying a heating pad to the area may be therapeutic.
Improving your posture and making other lifestyle changes can also ease back pain and prevent it in the future. Try not to slouch, and when you’re standing keep your shoulders back. If your job requires you to sit for extended periods of time, take regular breaks to stand and walk. And make sure your chair, computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse are all aligned in a way that keeps your posture erect.
Preventing Middle Back Pain From Developing
One of the best steps you can take to prevent back pain is to strengthen your core and your back muscles and improve your posture. A physical therapist can work with you on this, but there are also steps you can take on your own to improve back health and posture.
Try a Different Sleep Position
Certain sleep positions, including sleeping on your back, can contribute to back pain. Sleeping on one of your sides with a pillow between the knees is a good way to keep the pressure off your spine at night.
Maintain a Healthy Posture
The importance of standing and sitting so that the spine is straight can’t be overstated. Good posture helps strengthen your back muscles and alleviates unnecessary pressure. Make sure that when you’re sitting in your desk chair, your feet are resting flat on the ground, and the computer screen is at eye level. A standing desk may also be something to consider.
Keep a Healthy Weight
Obesity can increase your chances of experiencing back pain. If you can keep your weight at or near a healthy level, you’ll be less likely to grapple with back health issues.
Consider Water Workouts
Working out in a pool is a great low-impact activity that can help condition your back muscles. And the cushioning effect of the water keeps any workouts done in a pool low-impact. Simple exercises such as walking in a pool, taking long slow strides from the shallow end until the water begins to reach your chest, can be very helpful.
Standing on the bottom of the pool and lifting one knee to your chest at a time is another good exercise. This one can be done while holding on to the edge of the pool for support. Swimming laps is also a great form of exercise for the back, but it will be important to keep your form proper, with your head and neck in line with your spine, as you traverse across the pool.
What Causes Middle Back Pain?
Strains and Sprains
Muscle sprains occur when the ligaments have been torn or stretched. Strains occur when muscles and tendons have been torn and stretched. Strains and sprains develop for a variety of reasons, including regular heavy lifting and after a sudden movement.
Falls and Accidents
Automobile and sports accidents, blunt force trauma, and hard falls are all examples of the types of incidents that can lead to pain in the middle back. These types of incidents may lead to the breaking or fracturing of vertebrae, which is a more serious injury that should be treated by a medical professional.
Herniated disks are another common cause of back pain. This condition occurs when the inner, softer core of one of the disks in the back begins pressing against the outer rim of cartilage in a way to puts pressure on a nerve. Patients with this condition often feel tingling, discomfort, or even numbness along the middle of the back or where a nerve is being impacted.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that develops as the cartilage covering the joints begins to break down and the bones begin rubbing together. The back is one of the many areas on the body that this condition can affect.
Back pain is a common occurrence as the body ages. Over time the bones in the body begin to thin, muscle mass declines, and there is less fluid between the joints and the spine. All of these factors can play a contributing role in back pain.
What Symptoms Are Associated With Back Pain?
Back pain can present itself in many different ways, from a dull ache and a general feeling of stiffness to sharper and more stabbing sensations. Some patients also experience a burning sensation or a tingling that can extend into the legs and arms.
Are you tired of coping with back pain? Would you like to get back to feeling good again without resorting to surgery? We specialize in non-surgical solutions for middle back pain, and we can design a custom treatment plan that will get you back to living your best life. Call B3 Medical in Wesley Chapel, FL, today and schedule an initial consultation!