Pain in your mid-back can be very debilitating, preventing you from performing natural movements, affecting your sleep, and limiting your overall mobility. When diagnosing the problem and identifying a possible cause, it is important to know what parts of the body can impact the middle part of your spine.
In this article, we will analyze what organs can cause mid-back pain, as well as look at possible spinal conditions and how they can be treated.
What part of the Spine relates to Mid-Back Pain?
Pain in the middle of the back originates from problems within the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine represents a significant portion of a person’s spine, joined with many muscles and joints that could be subject to damage, infection, or irritation.
The most common cause of mid-back pain is a pulled (strained) muscle, but there are also many other possible issues that can result in pain.
Problems within the thoracic spine that could cause mid-back pain can include:
- A pulled (strained) muscle or ligament
- Bruised, broken, or fractured ribs
- Swollen rib cartilage
- Muscle spasms
- Inflammation to organs such as the lungs
What Organs Can Cause Mid-Back Pain?
As well as muscle, ligament, or bone damage, issues with certain organs can also contribute to mid-back pain or pain in your abdominal or pelvic region. This could be the result of an infection, inflammation, or irritation.
Organs that could cause mid-back pain include:
Here are a few examples of issues that can affect organs.
Most pain that is caused by an organ is only present down one side of the body. For example, kidney stone pain is often localized on one side, from the mid-back to the groin. Your kidneys are in your lower back and an infection can cause significant pain, as well as other symptoms such as nausea, fever, and pain when urinating.
Another potential issue is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine which is known as ulcerative colitis. This can also cause pain in the mid-back, in addition to other symptoms such as abdominal cramps, digestion problems, unexpected weight loss, and tiredness.
Women can also be subject to pelvic pain called endometriosis or fibroids which spreads to the lower right of the back. Other symptoms include irregular menstruation, frequent urination, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Conditions that cause Mid-Back Pain
There are a number of conditions that can cause mid-back pain, ranging in severity. We have highlighted three very different issues that can develop in the middle of the back.
Your internal organs such as the kidneys or your colon can cause mid-back pain that can also be prevalent in the lower left back. This can be caused by a stone moving inside the left kidney and then passing through the thin tubes (ureters) that connect the kidney to the bladder.
Kidney stones are the result of crystals forming in a person’s urine, these crystals can consist of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid. The crystals will form if there is too much of the aforementioned substances and cannot be diluted. Another cause of kidney stones is if your body lacks enough of the necessary substances to prevent crystals from joining together.
If kidney stones develop, a person may experience:
- Sharp pain in the mid-back
- An infection, resulting in a fever
- Nausea/ vomiting
- Discolored urine (red, pink, or brown)
- Cloudy urine with a foul smell
- A stinging sensation when urinating
There are four main types of Kidney Stones:
- Calcium Stones – The most common type of kidney stone related to a metabolic condition.
- Uric Acid Stones – This form of kidney stone often occurs when a person does not drink enough fluid, is losing too much fluid, eats an excessively high-protein diet, or suffers from gout.
- Struvite Stones – These stones are formed in response to an infection and are often asymptomatic.
- Cystine Stones – This type of stone can form in people who have a hereditary disorder that results in the kidneys producing too much of unwanted amino acids.
Kidney stones can be easily identified by a medical professional using diagnostic tools, imaging tests, and a urine sample. If the kidney stones are small then pain can be managed by just drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers. However, large kidney stones could require surgical extraction.
A herniated disc is when the soft tissue between the vertebrae (the disc) pushes through its outer wall, coming into contact with the spinal canal, and applying pressure to the surrounding nerves which are very sensitive. This can result in severe middle back pain.
Disc herniation is often the result of a gradual deterioration of the disc, generally a side effect of aging, and general wear & tear. The symptoms and the location of the pain are dictated by where in the spine the herniation has occurred, and what nerves have been impacted.
Common symptoms can include; pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf; muscle weakness; numbness and tingling; a lack of stability; and an inability to lift or hold objects,
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis and is the most common, with millions of sufferers around the world. This form of arthritis affects the spine and is a degenerative disease that is often a result of aging. It occurs when joints in the back that bear weight and disc cartilage wear down which causes inflammation. Extremely severe cases of osteoarthritis can also see the joints and cartilage wear down so much that the bones begin to rub together.
The effects of osteoarthritis are a pain when moving or directly after, stiffness in the joints, a lack of flexibility, swelling in the joints, and possible bone spurs.
Osteoarthritis is much more common among women, while older and obese people are also more likely to see the condition develop. Other factors could be joint injuries, bone deformities, or metabolic diseases. Some studies believe that genetics can also play a part, although this is not scientifically proven.
This condition can be diagnosed with a physical examination and imaging tests. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be cured but treatments can help to reduce the pain and improve mobility. Treatments can include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and perhaps surgery.
Thank you for reading. We hope your mid-back pain is nothing too serious and that it clears up as soon as possible.