Written by: Marijune Tiamzon, RN, MHPNP
Article Reviewed & Updated on 12/22/2022
Medical Reviewer: Kari Haberman
Have you ever had that nagging pain in your middle back? You know, the one that seems to never go away no matter what you do?
If you're like most people, you've probably tried every remedy out there – from exercise to hot packs to chiropractic adjustments – and still, nothing seems to work.
Well, don't give up just yet! There are a few things you can do to help ease the pain and get yourself on the road to recovery.
In this post, we'll first take a look at middle back pain – what it is, what some of the most common reasons are, and how to get relief. So if you're struggling with this type of pain, read on! You might just find the answers you are looking for.
What Is Middle Back Pain a Symptom of? Most Common Causes
We all know that back pain is no fun, but did you know that there's more than one type of back pain? And just as important, did you know that there are many different causes of back pain?
Middle back pain on the right side can be caused by a number of things. It could be something as simple as bad posture or a muscle strain, or it could be something more serious like a degenerative disc disease or herniated disc.
In some cases, middle back pain is even a symptom of other health conditions such as gallbladder disease, kidney stones, or a heart attack.
What organ is found in the middle of the back?
When someone mentions the "middle of the back," what organ comes to mind? The spinal cord? The spinal column? What else? Is the heart also somewhere near the back? How about the lungs?
In reality, there are a few different organs that are found in the middle of the back. These include:
The spinal column
The middle of the back is home to the spinal column, a long section of the backbone that stars from the base of the neck to the lower back.
The spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) that protect the spinal cord, a long bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the brain to the rest of the body.
The spinal cord
The spinal cord is also found in the middle of the back, where many of the body's major nerves originate, which is why middle back pain can sometimes be accompanied by nerve pain or numbness.
In addition, this area of the back is home to several important muscles and ligaments, all of which can contribute to middle back pain if they become injured or strained.
The human spine is a marvel of engineering and anatomy. The spinal cord, which starts down the center of the spine, is one of our body's most vital organs.
This thick bundle of nerves transmits messages between the brain and the rest of the body, controlling everything from breathing to movement.
It is no wonder that a damage or injury to the spinal cord can be so devastating.
Other organs that are found near the middle of the back
There are other organs found near the middle of the back that may cause middle back pain if they become diseased or injured.
These include the kidneys, which are located just below the middle of the back on either side of the spine; the gallbladder, which is located in the upper middle of the back on the right side; and the pancreas, which is located in the lower middle of the back on the left side.
The lungs are large organs that are located on either side of the spine in the chest. They are responsible for breathing and exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
The heart is an amazing, muscular, specialized organ that is located in the middle of the chest, behind the breastbone. It pumps the blood to all parts of the body through the arteries and veins.
Our kidneys are a pair of organs that are located on either side of the spine in the middle of the back. They filter the blood and produce urine.
The gallbladder is an organ that is situated in the upper middle of the back on the right side. It stores bile, a substance that helps to break down fat in the digestive process.
The pancreas is a long, flat gland that is located in the lower middle of the back on the left side. It secretes enzymes that help to digest food in the intestines.
The liver is a large organ that is located in the upper middle of the back on the right side. It filters the blood and produces bile, which helps to digest fats.
If you're experiencing back pain, it's important to get checked out by a medical professional. While most back pain is caused by something relatively minor, such as muscle strain, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
There are a number of other organs in the area that can cause discomfort and pain, so it's best to rule out any serious issues.
What Are Some Common Causes of Middle Back Pain?
Now that we learned a little bit more about middle back pain – what it is, where it comes from, and what organs are found in this area – let's take a look at some of its most common causes.
1. Poor posture
One of the most common causes of middle back pain is poor posture. When you sit, stand, or walk with a poor posture, it puts extra strain on the muscles and ligaments that can lead to pain and inflammation.
Poor posture can also cause the spine to become misaligned, which can add to the pain.
2. Muscle strain
Another common cause of middle back pain is muscle strain. This can occur from lifting something heavy, sudden movements, or even prolonged periods of Sitting or standing in the same position.
Muscle strain can cause the muscles to become weak and inflamed, resulting in pain.
An injury to the spine or surrounding muscles and ligaments can also cause middle back pain. This might include a fall, a car accident, or any other type of trauma. In some patient reports, the injury might not be immediately apparent, but it can still lead to pain and inflammation over time.
Arthritis is another common cause of middle back pain. This condition causes the joints to become inflamed, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. Arthritis is often age-related, but it can also be caused by injury or infection.
Osteoporosis is a clinical condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle. This can lead to pain, fractures, and even deformities.
It is more common in older adults, but it can also affect younger people who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications.
6. Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a disorder that happens when the spaces between the vertebrae narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
This may cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and arms. Spinal stenosis is most common in older adults, but it can also be caused by injury or infection.
7. Herniated disc
A herniated disc happens when the discs between the vertebrae rupture or bulge. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and arms.
A herniated disc is most commonly a result of injury, but it can also be caused by age-related wear and tear.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when the vertebrae slip out of place. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and arms.
Spondylolisthesis is most commonly caused by injury, but it can also be caused by age-related wear and tear.
9. Kyphosis, Scoliosis, and Lordosis
Kyphosis is a disorder that causes the spine to curve excessively inward. This can lead to pain, difficulty breathing, and an increased risk of fractures.
Kyphosis is most common in older adults, but it can also affect younger people who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications.
Scoliosis, on the other hand, is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. This can lead to discomfort, pain, stiffness, difficulty moving, and back pain. Scoliosis is most common in teenagers, but it can also affect adults.
Lordosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve excessively inward. This can lead to pain, difficulty breathing, and an increased risk of fractures.
Lordosis is most common in older adults, but it can also affect younger people who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications.
Tumors, both benign and malignant, can also cause middle back pain.
These growths can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and arms.
Fibromyalgia is a clinical condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body. This condition can also cause fatigue, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.
Fibromyalgia is most common in middle-aged women, but it can also affect men and women of all ages.
12. Lyme disease
Lyme disease is an infection from bacteria that is transmitted by ticks. This infection can cause fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bulls-eye rash. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to joint pain, paralysis, and even death.
Lyme disease is most well-known for the circular rash that appears on the skin after a tick bite. However, many people don't know that pain throughout the body, including back pain, is also a common symptom of Lyme disease.
Middle back pain is a typical problem that can be caused by a variety of conditions. While most middle back pain is benign and self-limited, some causes of middle back pain can be serious.
So, if you are experiencing any type of back pain, it is important to see your family doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Back pain can be debilitating and interfere with your quality of life, so don't wait until it gets worse – seek help today!
Once you've seen your doctor and ruled out any serious causes of your middle back pain or right back pain, there are a few things you can do at home to ease the discomfort.
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13 Tips for Middle Back Pain on Right Side
Do you have middle back pain on your right side? You're not alone! In this post, I'm going to share thirteen tips to help ease the pain. Hopefully, at least one of these pain relieving tips will help you get relief from your pain. So, let's get started!
1. Identify the source of your pain.
First, it is essential to identify the source of your pain. If you can't seem to pinpoint the exact location, it might be helpful to see a doctor or chiropractor. They will be able to help you determine the cause of your pain and come up with a treatment plan.
2. Look for ways to treat it naturally.
Once you have determined the source of your pain, you can start looking for ways to treat it. For instance, if the pain is due to muscle strain, you might want to try some stretches or exercises targeting those muscles.
3. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
If your middle back pain is due to inflammation, one of the best things you can do is eat anti-inflammatory foods. This includes foods like salmon, leafy greens, and avocado.
4. Take supplements
In addition to eating anti-inflammatory foods, you might also want to consider taking supplements. Fish oil supplements, for example, are great for reducing inflammation.
5. Apply heat or ice compress
Another simple but effective tip for middle back pain is to apply heat or ice to the affected area. This can help to ease muscle tension and reduce inflammation.
6. Try acupuncture, massage therapy, or see a chiropractor
Acupuncture is another popular treatment option for middle back pain. The idea behind it is that by inserting needles into specific points on the body, you can release tension and discomfort.
Massage therapy is another non-invasive way to relieve middle back pain. It can help to loosen up tight muscles and reduce inflammation.
If you are looking for a more hands-on approach, you might want to consider seeing a chiropractor. They will be able to physically adjust your spine and provide other treatments that can help ease your pain.
7. Use assistive devices such as posture correctors.
If poor posture is the root of your middle back pain, then using a posture corrector might be helpful. This device helps to realign your spine and improve your posture while you wear it.
8. Get enough sleep
Sleep is crucial for overall health, but it is also crucial for healing back pain. Make sure you're getting enough rest each night to allow your body to recover.
9. Quit smoking and avoid too much alcohol
If you smoke cigarettes, now is the time to quit! Smoking can contribute to back pain by causing inflammation and reducing blood flow to the spine.
10. Reduce stress and have some fun
Stress can make any type of pain or discomfort worse, so it is important to find ways to reduce it in your life. This might include things like yoga, meditation, or spending time outside in nature.
It's also important to find ways to have fun and relax. Doing things you enjoy will help to take your mind off of your pain and make you feel better overall.
11. Stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise is important for overall health, but it's also key for treating middle back pain. By staying active, you can increase blood flow to the spine and strengthen the muscles that support it.
It is also vital to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can put a strain on your back and make your pain worse.
12. See your healthcare provider if your back pain is severe or lasts more than a week.
If you've tried all of these tips and you're still in pain, it's time to see a doctor. They will be able to help you figure out what's causing your pain and come up with a treatment plan.
13. Practice yoga or tai chi and stretches for middle back pain on the right side.
These two ancient practices (yoga and tai chi) are not only excellent for overall health but can help to ease middle back pain. There are specific yoga and tai chi movements that can help to relieve tension in the back.
Studies say that yoga can help to improve back pain, flexibility, and strength. In contrast, tai chi has been shown to reduce pain and stiffness in the back. Both of these practices can be done at home with a DVD or online video tutorial. If you're new to either of these, it might be helpful to take a class from a certified instructor.
Stretches could also help to ease middle back pain on the right side. Some good stretches to try include:
- The Cat-Cow Pose
- The Child's Pose
- The Cobra Pose
- The Bridge Pose
Want more stretching videos? Try our Two Part Video Series here
Remember, it's important to consult with a doctor or certified instructor before beginning any new exercise program. This is especially true if you are experiencing chronic pain or a medical condition.
Be patient as you heal.
Finally, it's important to be patient as you heal. Recovery from middle back pain can take some time, but eventually, the pain will go away.
If you're struggling with back pain, hopefully, these tips will help to give you some relief. Remember to take things slow and easy when starting out – if the pain gets worse, stop and consult a doctor. And finally, don't forget to stretch!
A little bit of regular stretching can do wonders for your back health in the long run. How have you been dealing with middle back pain on the right side?
Middle back pain can be extremely frustrating. But don't despair! There are things you can do to ease the pain and get on the road to recovery. Try some of these tips we discussed above and see what works for you.
Stretches to Try for Middle Back Pain on Right Side
When it comes to back pain, one of the most common areas people experience discomfort is in the middle of their back. If you're struggling with pain on your right side, here are a few stretches you can try to help alleviate the tension.
Each of these moves can be done practically anywhere, so they're perfect for when you need relief on the go. Plus, they're all easy enough for beginners to follow. Try out a few and see which works best for you!
1. Cat-cow stretch
This simple stretch is often recommended by yoga instructors as a way to warm up the spine.
This yoga posture is ideal for back pain because it stretches the spine and opens up the chest and shoulders. By strengthening your core muscles, you'll not only feel better but also look great.
To practice this at home, just follow these steps:
Begin by going in a push-up position with your hands and elbows slightly ahead of your shoulders. Your knees should be directly beneath your hips and hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
Start by exhaling as you bend up your spine toward the ceiling into a cow pose.
Inhale as you arch your back towards the floor into a cat pose, pulling your shoulder blades down your back past the tailbone.
Continue alternating between the cow and cat positions for ten breaths each total.
This yoga sequence is ideal for those suffering from back or shoulder discomfort.
2. Child's pose
A child's pose is another yoga move that can help to stretch the middle back. To do it, start in the base position (all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart).
As you exhale, move as if you are about to sit back on your heels and lower your forehead to the floor.
Reach both of your arms out in front of you and rest them on the floor. Maintain this yoga pose for about 30 seconds to one minute.
3. Cobra pose
Cobra pose is a great way to open up the chest and stretch the middle back muscles.
To do the cobra pose, lie down on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and both of your palms flat on the floor beside your shoulders.
As you inhale, press down into your palms and lift your chest off the floor. Hold this pose for 20 seconds to one minute.
4. The Bridge Pose
The Bridge Pose is another helpful way to stretch the front of your body and the middle back.
To do this pose, begin by lying on your stomach with your knees bent. Be sure that both your feet are flat on the floor. Put your arms on your sides with your palms down.
As you exhale slowly, start to lift your hips off the floor and press them up toward the ceiling. Maintain this position for about 20 seconds to one minute, then slowly lower your hips back down to the floor as you inhale.
If you are looking for a way to help ease the pain in your middle back, give these stretches a try.
Not only are they effective at providing relief, but they're also simple enough that you can do them pretty much anywhere. So what are you waiting for? Start stretching and say goodbye to mid-back pain!
When Should You Consult with a Doctor
The answer to this question of when to consult a physician is different for everyone, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to help you figure out when you should see a doctor.
In some cases, it's better to be safe than sorry and go ahead and make an appointment, while in other cases, you may be able to wait a bit before seeking medical help.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to consult with a physician.
1. The nature and severity of your pain
The nature and severity of your pain are the two most important factors to consider when trying to decide whether or not to see a doctor.
If you're experiencing sharp, severe pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medication, then it is probably time to give your doctor a call.
Similarly, if you're dealing with chronic pain that is interfering with your day-to-day life, it's also a good idea to seek medical help.
If you are unsure about whether or not your pain warrants a trip to the doctor, err on the side of caution and go ahead and make an appointment. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health!
2. How long you've been experiencing pain
Another important factor to consider is how long you've been dealing with pain. If you've only been experiencing pain for a day or two, it's probably nothing to worry about and will likely go away on its own.
However, if you've been in pain for more than a week, it's a good idea to consult with a doctor.
Chronic pain can be extremely debilitating, so don't hesitate to seek medical help if you're struggling. Remember, your doctor is there to help you, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance!
3. Your age and overall health
Your age and overall health are also vital factors to take into account when trying to decide whether or not to see a doctor.
If you're middle-aged or older, you may be more likely to experience serious health problems, so it is always a sound idea to consult with a physician if you're experiencing any sort of pain.
Similarly, if you have an underlying health condition, it's also a good idea to seek medical help.
4. If the pain is getting worse over time
Another important factor to consider is whether or not the pain is getting worse over time. If the pain started out mild and has gradually gotten worse, it's a good idea to consult with a doctor.
However, if the pain has remained steady or has even improved, you may not need to seek medical help.
Of course, if you're ever in doubt about whether or not you should see a doctor, it is always best to be cautious and go ahead and make an appointment. Better safe than sorry!
5. If the pain is impacting your daily activities
The final factor to consider is whether or not the pain is impacting your daily activities.
If you're struggling to perform basic tasks such as walking or sitting, it's a good idea to consult with a physician.
However, if the pain is manageable and doesn't interfere with your ability to function on a day-to-day basis, you may not need to seek medical assistance.
If you're unsure whether or not you should make an appointment with a doctor, it's always better to err on the side of caution.
It's better to be safe than sorry, after all! So if you're experiencing middle back pain that's severe, gets worse over time, or is impacting your daily life, it's probably a good idea to give your doctor a call.
If you're one of the many people who suffer from middle back pain on the right side, hopefully, this post has given you some insight into what might be causing your discomfort.
While we can't provide a cure-all solution, we hope that you'll find relief from at least one of the tips or exercises we've suggested.
And remember, if the pain is severe or persists for an extended period of time, please consult with a doctor.