I Have Mid-back Pain And Rib Pain, Like Having Cracked Ribs. Is This A Thoracic Disc Herniation?

Question

Asked by Bonnie

I Have Mid-back Pain And Rib Pain, Like Having Cracked Ribs. Is This A Thoracic Disc Herniation?

When I sleep for more than a few hours and I try to get up, I have involuntary muscle spasms in my rib cage (upper). My mid-back aches terribly. I have just had a cervical fusion 2 months ago, and discectomy a couple years ago. This all started with an osteotomy about 8 years ago, and right hip replacement to follow.

Answer

The thoracic spine is often underestimated in its role for causing both neck and low back pain. This "middle child" of the spine can become very stiff partly because of the rib cage, but also because of the constant slouched posture while sitting doing repetitive jobs like working on a computer. Thoracic spine stiffness cause both the low back and neck to work harder. Anyone with neck or low back problems should also have the the thoracic spine treated. It is all connected.

Thoracic spine mobilization is a key component to ensuring spine health. Normal, unrestricted movement of the mid-back helps the entire spine work better. Tennis balls, foam rollers, wedges, and the Myotool are all the very useful for anyone experiencing mid-back, thoracic spine pain.

Sure, the thoracic discs can become a source of pain, but surgery is not reccommend for that area. Small nerves in the mid-back can also become sensitive causing rib and chest pain. Establishing mobility, flexiblity, and strength in the thoracic spine can help the entire spine.

A well trained physical therapist can help you work the kinks out of the thoracic spine.

Dr. Christina Lasich, MD