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Thoracic Pain

A change of season often brings a change in the type of problems that prompt a visit to the chiropractor. People tend to become more sedentary with the waning light and the drop in temperature as winter approaches, and mid-back problems seem to be a frequent occurrence this time of the year.

Sitting for long periods of time at a desk or computer may cause the thoracic spine to tighten up and become stiff. Driving likewise may cause stiffness in the mid back. Getting a chill, or a cold or the flu or violent coughing are other frequent sources of mid back pain at this time of year. Slumping in a soft couch or easy chair or sleeping on a soft mattress allows the spine to assume an unnaturally rounded posture.

The thoracic spine, or middle back area, is subject to stress and strain just like any other part. Because of its structure, it’s rarely the source of serious spinal problems, but it can be the source of considerable pain.

Nothing may seem to be amiss until a sudden movement like a sneeze, or turning over in bed, causes sharp back pain. Sudden movement in a spine that is stiff and inflexible may result in a sprain and improper motion in the joints between the vertebrae, or between the vertebrae and the ribs. These joints then become inflamed and any subsequent movement, even taking a deep breath, will exaggerate the pain. If one or more of the ribs are involved where they join the spine, the pain often radiates around the rib cage to the front.

Spinal manipulation and the use of ice packs often brings rapid relief. Chiropractors adjust the spine to restore proper joint movement and alignment to the vertebrae and ribs. Ice packs are used to reduce swelling and help ease the pain.


To prevent any mishaps with the mid back, watch your posture, exercise regularly, avoid soft couches and saggy mattresses and visit your chiropractor periodically throughout the year to maintain flexibility and normal movement.

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