10 Fast Facts about Middle Back Pain
You spent several hours today at the office moving some heavy boxes of client files, a process that required a lot of bending and twisting. The middle portion of your back, injured a few years ago in an automobile accident, is now paying the price. It seems tight, stiff and achy, and you can even feel a slight burning sensation when you twist to the left or to the right. Something has to be done for your middle back pain issues, as it’s already cost you time off from your job, at which you typically sit for hours every day while tasking away at your desk.
According to WebMD, middle back pain affects the area posterior to our rib cage, where the ribs attach to your spine and are held in place by muscles and tendons. When those tissues get overworked or stressed, such as in the scenario described above, your body warns you that it’s been injured, through pain, soreness and tightness. Take heart if you are feeling middle back pain, as you are not alone. In fact, millions of us will suffer from its nagging symptoms each year, as we spend countless dollars on medical treatments. In an effort to better understand the condition itself, and how to alleviate its flare-ups and severity, here are 10 fast facts about middle back pain.
1.) Middle Back Pain May be Caused by These Factors
WebMD identifies these precipitating influences for developing middle back pain issues:
- Overuse impacting the muscles, ligaments and discs that support your spine
- A previous injury to your spine such as from a car accident
- Pressure on the spinal nerves, for example due to a herniated disc
- Poor posture
If you can identify with one or more of these risk factors for middle back pain, be advised if you haven’t already experienced its painful onset, as you probably will at some point in your life, and assuredly as you get older.
2.) Know the Signs of Middle Back Pain
Now that you know some of the causative factors for middle back pain, orthopedic specialists at WebMD further identify several symptoms of this condition. Here are the more pertinent ones:
- Dull, burning or sharp pain behind your rib cage
- Muscle tightness or stiffness in your mid-back region
- More severe ones like weakness in your arms or legs, and/or numbness and tingling in your extremities, along with your chest and belly
If and when you experience the symptoms in the last bullet point, your condition will have become a chronic one, in other words it will continue to be a lifelong concern. More serious and expensive treatment modalities will eventually have to be sought out to address your body’s condition and counteract your recurring middle back pain manifestations.
3.) These Treatments Provide Middle Back Pain Relief
Middle back pain is certainly no fun, but the good news is that there currently exist a number of specialist-approved methods to treat the discomfort. Here are a few of the more widely-used ones:
- OTC pain medications like acetaminophen and Non-Steroidal, Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), or even stronger and potentially-addictive medicines
- Heat or ice applied to the afflicted tissues
- Exercise to strengthen your core muscle groups
- Massages or chiropractic spinal manipulations
- Stretching of your back muscles
- Resting the afflicted area(s)
- Reducing your stress levels
- Improving your posture
Looking over this list, probably the easiest recommendation to do is the last one; using good posture all the time, whether you’re sitting at your office’s workstation, or standing around the water cooler discussing your weekend with coworkers. But let’s table that thought for now, and address it further in a moment. First, let’s take a look at some of these treatments in more detail.
4.) Strong Core Muscles Make a Difference
The muscles and ligaments that connect your rib cage to the spine also actually support your backbone, and that requires the right amount of strength. To ensure that they are up to the task, building up one’s “core”, or trunk, muscle groups, those found from our necks to our thighs, is important to guard against middle back pain.
Having made that point, there are a myriad of core strengthening exercises out there that can be done at the gym, home, or even at your place of employment (If it’s okay with your boss, of course!). Core building exercises include things like abdominal bridges, ab crunches, or leg presses. Yoga and Pilates are also back strength enhancers. In the end, a stronger core will help support your spine and rib cage more effectively, while helping to ward off middle back pain itself.
5.) Get a Massage or Do-It-Yourself
Another great way to reduce your middle back pain is by getting a professional massage. These work to loosen up tight and stiff muscle fibers and promote healing to the afflicted area(s). In fact, massaging injured muscle tissues induces the following other positive physiological outcomes for your body:
- Promotes better blood circulation and oxygen saturation
- Stimulates the release of natural painkillers like serotonin and endorphins
- Gets much-needed nutrients to the area
- Relaxes you physically and mentally and thus lowers your stress levels
- Stretches out tight muscles and increases your body’s flexibility
As you can see, something as simple as a professional massage can do wonders for reducing your middle back pain problems. In between paid massage sessions, you can also use one of the many do-it-yourself (DIY) massage techniques at home or at the office. Overall, your middle back will thank you for its massage, and you will be happier too!
6.) Rest Yourself and Your Back
One of the most common ways that people injure their middle back is by doing some activity we aren’t used to, like yard work, weekend warrior sports, or lifting heavy objects while twisting and bending. As a result, and when middle back pain strikes, the best thing you can do is simply take a break and rest the damaged tissues. This means not doing any heavy lifting for a few days or weeks, along with getting a full night’s sleep.
In fact, doctors recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. In the case of middle back pain, this will allow your body to heal more effectively while resting the strained tissues in the process. When we’re not moving around, it gives our bodies a chance to get oxygen, nutrients and other healing inducers to where they are needed, while also relaxing you which takes the stress away from the damaged muscles. If you’re having trouble sleeping for at least 7 hours per night, there are tips on how to do so, starting with making sure your mattress is supporting your body properly. Whenever you are injured, rest is always a good remedy, and middle back pain is certainly no exception.
7.) Eat Your Way to a Healthier Back
Most of us don’t eat properly nowadays, while our bodies were designed to work more efficiently when we get the right amount of certain nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are crucial for us to feel physically and mentally fit, and our diets need to include adequate amounts of those. When your back is not getting what it needs to get and stay healthy, manifestations like the middle back pain will result. And, when middle back pain does strike, an overall healthier diet will lead to faster healing outcomes.
Some of the more important back health essential nutrients include Vitamins A, C and B12, along with calcium; the latter being a mineral that our bones need to get and stay stronger. Certain foods supply us with the aforementioned back-feeding nutrients, so check out some nutrition-related blogs and websites for more details. Feed your back with the foods it needs, and it will thank you in the end.
8.) Stretch Away Your Middle Back Pain Concerns
If you have a dog at home, the first thing it does when it arises from a nap is stretch out its legs, neck and back muscles. If your family pet knows this is important, you should too! Whether it’s sitting at a desk job at work, or tasking away on your laptop at home, take a few minutes at least once an hour to get up and stretch. There are numerous easy and quick stretching exercises that can be utilized during the day, and studies have found that these benefit your body in many ways, such as:
- Strengthening core muscle groups
- Increasing one’s flexibility
- Inducing better blood circulation and oxygen flow
- Relieving stress mentally and physically
- Working out fatigued, stiff muscles
Yoga is another great way to stretch while also using meditative techniques that further relax a practitioner’s mind and back muscles. In a nutshell, stretching is a simple, safe and necessary way to help ward off middle back pain problems.
9.) Middle Back Pain Hates Good Posture
If you will recall, one of the precipitating factors for middle back pain, according to WebMD, was poor posture. When you scrunch down while seated, for example, it puts more strain and stress on your spine-supporting back muscles. This causes tissue fatigue and damage, and keeps healthy nutrients, along with natural pain reducers, oxygen and a good blood flow, away from where they are needed. This results in a negative middle back pain cycle, where the deleterious effects of slouching just keep feeding the “beast”, in this case stressed and tight muscle fibers.
Good posture, on the other hand, encourages faster healing rates by allowing you to breathe more deeply while taking in rich oxygen, which then moves to injured areas such as in your middle back. Better blood circulation also results, getting vital nutrients, natural painkillers and other natural body repair chemicals to the afflicted tissues. Proper posture keeps your spine aligned in its natural, upright position too, and that’s a good thing. Good posture looks like this: You want your shoulders up and back, with your chin up and out, and chest also out. At the end of the work day, using proper posture, along with the other healthy back tactics mentioned above, should help reduce the likelihood of a middle back pain episode, along with reducing the severity of any symptoms you might experience.
10.) Lumo Lift’s Posture Coach is a Nice Posture Reminder
We get so caught up in our busy lives, especially at our jobs, that it’s hard to remember to use good posture as described above. Well, at Lumo, we’ve patented a technology that will help remind you. Named the Lumo Lift Posture Coach, it uses 21st Century technology to monitor your body’s posture all day and even at night! Here’s how the Posture Coach works: You wear a discrete, lapel pin-sized sensor outside or inside your clothing and then it records posture data throughout the day.
That information is then continuously transmitted to an iOS or Android compatible app. Later, and when it’s convenient, you can study the data and make necessary posture changes the next day. In addition, the Lumo Lift will alert you, with a gentle vibration, whenever you are slouching or otherwise using bad posture. At the end of the day, the Posture Coach is a great supportive resource to employ in an effort to overcome your middle back pain problems. And, it’s just one of the ways the back health experts at Lumo are working for you every day in an effort to make your life a more middle back pain-free one! For more information on the Posture Coach, or back pain in general, visit lumobodytech.com today.