Middle Back Pain: Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options

middle back pain

Back pain is one of the most common conditions that people all over the world silently suffer through. It is estimated that back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide – preventing many people from doing their jobs or making it through regular, everyday activities. Lots of us put up with back pain because we think there is no other solution – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are many different types of back pain, both in terms of what causes the pain and where in your back you feel it. Most commonly, people experience pain in their lower or upper back, because these areas are more mobile and active than the middle of the back.

As there is already a lot of information out there explaining the causes and treatments for lower back pain, we’ve decided to focus on middle back pain causes and the best ways to overcome the painful symptoms.

Identify the Middle Back

First, let’s identify the “middle.” The spinal cord is divided into four sections, from top to bottom:

  • Cervical
  • Thoracic
  • Lumbar
  • Sacrum/coccyx

Typically, lower back pain is associated with the lumbar region, and upper back or neck pain with the cervical or upper thoracic region. When pain is felt in the lower thoracic region it is referred to as middle back pain – you will typically feel this in the area of your back between your shoulder blades and your rib cage.

The Most Common Middle Back Pain Causes

The middle back consists of the spinal column, spinal cord, muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, blood vessels and nerves. With so many different working components, it goes without saying that there can be a vast number of causes of middle back pain, but here are some of the most common ones:

Poor posture

Whether it’s because you’re sitting at a desk all day, or because you slouch when you walk, having poor posture is a leading cause of middle back pain. Poor posture means that you aren’t engaging your back muscles properly and this can result in too much unsupported weight being placed on your middle back. This can affect the muscles, discs and joints of the back, leading to substantial pain.

Muscle strains and sprains

Another common middle back pain cause, a sprain or strain, can result from certain types of physical activity such as tennis or running (especially if you don’t warm up properly), or from lifting something that’s too heavy, or not using proper technique when lifting. A muscle strain or sprain in your middle back can be very painful and may take several weeks to heal.


Although exercise comes with its risks of injury, inactivity is actually more dangerous. It’s important to keep your back muscles active and strong so that they can support ligaments, tendons and, of course, your spinal cord. Inactivity can make your back more susceptible to injury, and weak back muscles can dramatically increase your chances of hurting yourself when you’re lifting something heavy or doing anything that involves twisting your back.

It’s important to note that middle back pain can be a symptom of a more severe condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or a herniated spinal disc. If you experience persistent and intense back pain for several days, make an appointment with your physician to figure out the cause of your pain.

Tips for middle back pain relief

For minor backaches and pains, there are thankfully many ways you can manage middle back pain at home. What’s more, it’s possible to do this naturally, without relying on heavy-duty painkillers, which can wreak havoc on the rest of your body. Here are some tried and true methods for overcoming pain in your middle back:


Stretching can make a big difference when it comes to preventing, reducing, and managing pain in your lower back. Try doing these simple middle back stretches when you first wake up, to prepare your back for the day ahead.

Heat it up/cool it down

Many people find that applying ice to a sore back can provide some much-needed temporary relief, while others prefer to use an aromatherapy heat-pack. Try both to see which provides you with more effective relief from your middle back pain.

Topical ointments

Rubbing a soothing ointment or CBD muscle rub on your back can be an effective way of easing back pain. CBDMEDIC™’s Back & Neck Pain Relief Ointment has been specifically designed with naturally-derived analgesics, camphor and menthol, to provide fast and targeted relief from back pain and is easy to keep by your side, offering relief whenever you need it. You should also do some research on the best back pain cream.

Focus on that posture

Many of us spend too much time sitting at a desk, which isn’t great for our backs. Try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back, with your feet flat on the floor. Whenever possible, avoid long stretches of inactivity at your desk – get up and stretch whenever you have the chance.

Key Takeaway

Treating all minor backaches and pains whenever they occur is an important way of keeping your back strong and healthy. This is critical to your overall health – especially as you get older. Your back will certainly thank you if you take the time to stretch, exercise, and show it some love now and again.

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