Mid-back pain occurs in the thoracic spine — between the rib cage and the base of the neck. Here, there are 12 spinal disks, several vertebrae and many muscles and ligaments. Any of these structures can become irritated or damaged, leading to mid-back pain.
Causes can range from injury to poor posture. Also, lack of exercise leads to weak muscles, which can contribute to pain. People who exercise using improper lifting techniques can also experience back pain.
A big no-no is repeatedly lifting heavy objects or carrying items improperly – this can cause the muscles and ligaments in the back to stretch or tear.
A leading cause of back pain is incorrect posture while sitting or standing. Slouching increases pressure on the spine and leads to strained muscles as they try to maintain balance. Poor posture should be corrected to alleviate back pain. Practice correct posture by:
- standing tall with the shoulders back
- not slouching
- taking regular breaks from sitting or using a computer
- Workstations should be ergonomically optimised by adjusting the height and positioning of the chair, desk, computer screen, keyboard, and mouse.
A beneficial stretch to alleviate back pain is: the cat-cow pose: Position yourself on your hands and knees. Then, arch your back as far as comfortable before sinking your back toward the ground in a U-shape.
Low-impact activities which are good for spine health are swimming and walking.
To strengthen the core, work the abdominal and back muscles using bridges and planks helps to support the back.
Sleep on one side or on the back. People who sleep on their stomach may experience spinal misalignment. It is best to sleep on the back, or one side with a pillow between the knees.
Speak to a practitioner at Spine Health and Back Pain Centre before beginning any new exercise regime.