If you’re experiencing chronic pain in your back, you know just how frustrating and debilitating it can be. Even basic activities like sitting, cooking, or giving a hug can be a torturous experience.
Thankfully, there are treatments available that can bring real relief to most patients. This blog post provides an overview of thoracic spine pain and the therapies available for treating it.
Understanding Thoracic Spine Pain
Thoracic spine pain refers to any discomfort or pain in the middle section of the back, extending from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage. The thoracic spine consists of 12 vertebrae, interconnecting with the ribs to form the chest cavity. When these structures become injured or inflamed, thoracic spine pain can occur.
Symptoms can range from sharp or dull pain to stiffness and tenderness in the mid-back area. For chronic pain patients, this can exacerbate existing discomfort and pose additional challenges in managing daily activities.
Causes of Thoracic Spine Pain
Common causes include poor posture, muscle strain, herniated disks, and conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis. For chronic pain patients, these issues can often coexist with other long-term health problems, making it more difficult to manage and address with thoracic spine pain treatments.
Diagnosis of Thoracic Spine Pain
A proper diagnosis from a doctor or licensed medical practitioner is required for effective treatment. The types of diagnostic methods they use involve physical examinations, medical history reviews, and imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs.
Patients should be prepared to discuss their symptoms in detail to help their healthcare provider pinpoint the source of their pain. You can expect a list of questions about your pain story — when the pain started, how often it occurs, how intense the pain is, and how much it limits your mobility.
Non-Surgical Options for Thoracic Spine Pain Treatment
Surgery is typically a last resort for the majority of patients. For most people, non-surgical thoracic spine pain treatment options can help manage pain effectively. These include:
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Nerve blocks, corticosteroid injections, and radiofrequency ablations are rapidly growing in popularity due to their effectiveness in reducing most patients’ pain more quickly and for longer periods.
Pain Management Techniques
Treating the pain with techniques such as heat or cold therapy, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), or nerve blocks can be useful.
Exercises designed to strengthen the back muscles and improve flexibility can reduce pain. Most patients should continue these activities after their pain is gone to help avoid it returning in the future.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or prescription medications may be recommended by your care provider or pain management specialist. Medications are often used in conjunction with other treatments.
Simple activities such as improving posture, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthier foods, drinking more water, and reducing stress can significantly impact pain levels.
A licensed chiropractor can make adjustments to align the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, which can help reduce thoracic spine pain.
This can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. Many patients opt for repeated sessions once or more per week to get more relief.
Surgical Options for Thoracic Spine Pain Treatment
Surgery is usually considered when other thoracic spine pain treatments have failed or if there is a serious underlying condition. Procedures can range from arthroscopic surgery to more complex procedures like spinal fusion. Each carries its risks and benefits which should be discussed thoroughly with your healthcare provider.
Living With Thoracic Spine Pain
Living with chronic thoracic spine pain requires a holistic approach that addresses both physical and mental well-being. Consider incorporating the following suggestions into your regular routine:
1 – Managing Daily Activities
It’s important to balance rest and activity to prevent exacerbating symptoms. Your body needs additional periods of time to relax and rebuild when you’re experiencing chronic pain.
2 – Coping Mechanisms for Chronic Pain
These can include relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Find a handful of methods that work for you.
3 – The Importance of Mental Health
Chronic pain can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. Seeking support from mental health professionals is crucial in managing chronic pain.
Prevention of Thoracic Spine Pain
Prevention is always better than cure. Follow these tips to protect yourself from future problems:
- Good posture and ergonomics — Maintain a neutral spine position when sitting or standing
- Regular exercise and stretching — Keep your back muscles strong and flexible
- Healthy diet — Nutrient-rich foods support overall health and wellbeing
Thoracic Spine Pain Treatment With HPM
At HPM, we provide a variety of effective pain management therapies for a long list of conditions including thoracic spine pain treatment. Our specialists are extensively trained to identify the true source of a patient’s pain and tailor an individualized treatment plan.
We operate a growing number of pain management clinics throughout rural America. If you’re struggling with persistent thoracic spine pain, contact HPM today to find a location near you.