Dr. Joe what could that Thoracic Park T-shirt possibly mean? Well it signifies that sharp, stabbing, and dull pain that you sometimes get in your middle back or between your shoulder blades. The shirt was designed after of course Jurassic Park with the Velociraptor and T Rex dinosaurs with their sharp claws and piercing teeth.
Research shows that the prevalence of thoracic or middle back pain can be very broad and based upon many factors which the prevalence ranges between as little as 4% and up to 70% at any one time in their life. According to Musculoskeletal Disorders 2009, Children particularly adolescence have a higher prevalence of thoracic back pain especially more in females. It has been my experience that most of the pain in children and adolescents is associated with poor posture from technology, heavy backpacks and other sport specific injuries. Thoracic pain in adults is more prevalent from either a result of auto injury, slip/fall or strain from poor posture and technology overtime. Middle back pain can be described a sharp, stabbing, burning, throbbing, tightness, dull, spasms, and tightness and can sometimes even take away your breathe. Your pain could be as simple as a muscle sprain, injured spinal bulging disc, abnormal wear and breakdown of an arthritic degenerative condition. Vertebrae fractures often occur following major trauma or a fall injury. Additionally, as we age with reduced bone strength and density this can lead to a more serious injury from osteoporosis compression fractures.
The thoracic or middle back region of your spine has 12 vertebrae that have approximately 11 attached ribs with one additional floating or smaller rib. There are many back muscles (trapezius, latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae and the rhomboids) that help stabilize and hold the spine, ribs, and shoulder/scapular in balance not only with just in posture alignment but breathing and movement. The curve of the midback should be a Kyphotic or Reverse C curve which with slouching, poor posture and overuse of technology this is usually straightened or hyper flexed due to poor mechanics and weakened musculature.
As a chiropractor, I found that middle back pain is very common especially in an auto accidents, people that sit at a desk for extended period of time(everyone) or adolescents and teenagers who spend most of their time on the phone or carrying heavy backpacks to school. These accidents or poor mechanics can pull or misalign the delicate spinal vertebra causing pain, dysfunction and inability to do daily activities at home or work. It has been my recommendation after a complete consultation, examination and spinal x-ray that usually with a series of chiropractic spinal adjustments along with ergonomic changes and specific posture exercises to improve range of motion, strength and muscular posture that overtime that the body will start to move and function with less pain and stiffness getting you back to your daily life when all these concepts are brought into play. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call or email, and I will try to help you with any questions. Thanks for reading, Dr. Joe