Mid Back Pain Causes

Mid Back Pain Causes

In some people, mid-back pain may be mild and resolve itself. In others, the pain may be excruciating and affect your quality of life. Whichever it is, you’ll feel much better without it. Mid-back pain has several causes, including poor posture, trauma, and muscle imbalances.

This article explores the mid back pain causes and treatment and how Cambie Physiotherapy can help.


The middle back is the thoracic spine region, between the base of the neck and the ribcage. It comprises the vertebrae (bones), intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. The region supports the spine and helps you breathe. Damage or irritation to this region can result in mid-back pain.

Mid-back pain presents symptoms like muscle aches, a burning sensation, and sharp or stabbing pain. Sometimes, you may experience severe symptoms like chest pain, muscle tightness, and weakness in your arms or legs.

Some treatment options are conservative and alleviate pain within 72 hours. However, you may have a serious condition in more severe cases and need specialized treatments.

What Are the Causes of Mid Back Pain?

Mid-back pain causes discomfort in the central spinal region and can result from different factors. Understanding the causes of mid-back pain can help you manage and prevent the pain. Mid-back pain causes include;

Poor Posture

Nowadays, jobs involve sitting for extended periods, hunched over an electronic device. This habit contributes to poor posture, straining the muscles and ligaments of your middle back and resulting in pain.

Muscle Imbalance

Muscle imbalances are one of mid back pain on the right side causes. This condition occurs when one or more muscle on one side of the body is stronger or larger than the corresponding muscles on the other. Bad posture, lack of exercise, and improper exercise forms can contribute to muscle imbalance. Mid-back pain can result from excessively tight or weak muscles in the middle back.


A sedentary lifestyle involves frequent sitting or lying down, with little to no exercise. If you lead this lifestyle, the muscles supporting your spine might weaken. Consequently, this leads to undue stress on your spine, leading to mid-back pain.


Falls, accidents, and sudden impacts on your middle back can sprain and strain your muscles. Sometimes, this trauma can fracture your vertebrae and lead to acute or long-term mid-back pain.

Herniated Discs

The spinal discs contain gel-like material that acts as shock-absorbing cushions in your spine. These discs can slip or bulge outward when rupture occurs, putting pressure on the surrounding nerves. A herniated disc in the middle back may cause pain and numbness.


Scoliosis is an abnormal spine curvature, leading to uneven weight distribution throughout the back. This condition is one of the significant mid back pain left side causes. Scoliosis can cause an imbalance in your back, leading to middle back pain.


Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint, leading to pain, swelling, and redness. Although there are different types of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the ligaments and joints of the spine, leading to middle back pain. Other types of arthritis that affect the spine and cause mid-back pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Excess body weight strains the back muscles and can contribute to pain. Obesity can also trigger inflammation and affect the surrounding tissues of the middle back, leading to pain.


Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bone brittleness and weakens the bones. This condition increases the risk of fractures. People with osteoporosis can experience spinal instability and severe mid-back pain.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Mid-Back Pain?

Mid-back pain presents symptoms, including radiating pain, muscle aches, and discomfort. Sometimes, this pain resolves itself within a few days to weeks. However, depending on the severity and duration of your pain, you should seek medical attention to ascertain the underlying cause of your pain.

Consider seeking medical attention in any of the following situations;

Severe or Persistent Pain

Consult your doctor if your mid-back pain is severe and does not improve with rest or over-the-counter medications. Severe mid-back pain can indicate underlying issues.

Accompanying Symptoms

Visit your doctor if symptoms like numbness, tingling, weakness, or a loss of bladder or bowel control accompany your mid-back pain. These symptoms could indicate severe conditions.

History of Trauma or Injury

If you experience a recent fall, accident, or trauma and feel mid-back pain, you should get it checked out by a medical professional. Trauma can cause spinal fractures and other internal injuries that need urgent medical attention.

Impact on Daily Activities

If your mid-back pain interferes with your ability to perform daily activities, such as walking, sitting, or sleeping, consult a healthcare provider. Pain that affects your quality of life may become worse if ignored.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Mid-back pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss could signal a more severe condition. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause and treat you appropriately.

Fever or Infection Signs

Mid-back pain, accompanied by fever, chills, or other signs of infection, can lead to severe complications if left untreated. If you experience symptoms of infection and back pain, consult your doctor immediately.

History of Cancer

If you are experiencing mid-back pain and have a history of cancer, discuss it with your doctor. Some cancers can metastasize into the spine and cause pain.

Treatment for Mid-Back Pain

Treatment options for mid-back pain range from conservative to specialized. The best treatment for you will depend on the severity and duration of your pain. Treatment options for mid-back pain include;

Rest and Ice

Rest is often recommended if you have acute mid-back pain. Acute pain is usually sharp and comes on suddenly. Rest allows your muscles and tissues to recover. In addition, applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and temporarily relieve pain.

Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen can temporarily relieve mid-back pain. However, it is best to use these medications cautiously and only as directed by your doctor.


Physiotherapy for mid-back pain aims at pain relief and addressing the underlying cause of the pain. Your physiotherapist will develop techniques that improve your posture, enhances your core strength, and increases your flexibility. These techniques are personalized and prevent a recurrence of mid-back pain.

Physiotherapy in Richmond, BC, uses techniques including manual therapy and targeted exercises to alleviate mid-back pain.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is particularly effective for addressing muscle-related mid-back pain. Applying heat to the mid-back can relax tense muscles, improve blood circulation, and reduce stiffness. When applying heat, avoid using direct sources to prevent burns. Instead, wrap the heat source in a towel and apply it to the middle back.


Your physiotherapist may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and relieve pain temporarily. Your physiotherapist will administer these injections.


Surgery is often the last resort for mid-back pain. Your physiotherapist will recommend this treatment if other techniques have failed and the pain impacts your quality of life. Surgery often addresses underlying conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or other underlying structural issues.

How Can Physiotherapy Help with Mid-Back Pain?

Physiotherapy in Surrey, BC, offers a holistic approach to addressing mid-back pain. Your physiotherapist will develop a personalized treatment to address the underlying cause of your back pain and alleviate discomfort. Visiting a physiotherapist for mid-back pain relief can improve mobility and quality of life.

When you visit your physiotherapist for mid-back pain relief, the following happens;

Comprehensive Assessment

Experienced physiotherapists conduct a thorough assessment of your condition. The assessment involves evaluating your medical history, lifestyle, and the likely causes of mid-back pain. Your physiotherapist will then create a tailored treatment plan to address your needs.

Posture Correction

Poor posture is one of the causes of mid-back pain. Your physiotherapist can identify improper body mechanics and guide you on improving your posture while sitting, standing, and engaging in various activities. You can experience pain relief and prevent a recurrence by adjusting your posture.

Targeted Exercises and Stretches

Targeted exercises and stretches target the muscle groups supporting your mid-back. Your physiotherapist will recommend exercises that improve flexibility, strengthen weak muscles, and correct muscle imbalances. Practicing these exercises regularly can reduce your discomfort and improve spinal stability.

Manual Therapy Techniques

Physiotherapy in New Westminster, BC involves various manual therapy techniques to alleviate pain and restore proper joint function. These techniques include soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, and spinal manipulation. Manual therapy techniques can help release muscle tension and improve blood circulation, leading to relief from mid-back pain.

Patient Education

Your physiotherapist will educate you about your condition, proper posture, and body mechanics to alleviate pain and prevent recurrence.


Poor posture, trauma, obesity, and lifestyle are common causes of mid-back pain. Fortunately, mild back pain resolves with rest and application of ice. In more severe cases, your physiotherapist will develop a tailored treatment plan to address your discomfort and prevent a recurrence. This treatment plan is targeted explicitly toward your needs and the underlying cause of your back pain.

If you are experiencing mid-back pain, getting prompt treatment at Cambie Physiotherapy is essential, especially if you experience accompanying symptoms like fever. Mid-back pain can become chronic without treatment and affect your quality of life.