The thoracic spine, also known as the upper or middle back, is designed for stability to anchor the rib cage and protect the organs in the chest. It is highly resistant to injury and pain. However, when thoracic back pain does present, it is usually from long-term posture problems or an injury. Thoracic back pain is less common than lower back and neck pain, but it does affect up to 20% of the population, particularly women. Treatment options include chiropractic for quick and long-term pain relief.
The thoracic area is vital for various functions related to:
Common reasons for experiencing thoracic back pain include:
Upper back pain usually feels like a sharp, burning pain localized to one spot or a general achiness that can flare up and spread out to the shoulder, neck, and arms.
Depending on what specific tissues are affected, pain can occur with breathing or arm use. It is recommended to have a healthcare professional perform an examination and get an accurate diagnosis. A chiropractor understands the delicate balance and functions that the thoracic spine provides and can develop a proper treatment plan.
Treatment options will depend on the symptoms, underlying dysfunctions, and individual preferences. Recommendations for treatment often include:
Individuals who follow vegan, vegetarian, and semivegetarian diets have reported and shown they are less likely to be overweight or obese. This can indicate that reducing intake of meat and animal products is beneficial for weight loss. Studies have found that individuals who follow a vegan diet may lose more weight than individuals on a more conventional weight loss diet, even with similar calories consumed, and often have significant improvements in blood sugar and inflammation markers.
Some plant-based proteins are just as effective as animal protein at promoting muscle gain. A study found that supplementing rice protein following resistance training had similar benefits to whey protein supplementation. Both groups had:
Briggs AM, Smith AJ, Straker LM, Bragge P. Thoracic spine pain in the general population: prevalence, incidence and associated factors in children, adolescents and adults. A systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2009;10:77.
Cichoń, Dorota et al. “Efficacy of Physiotherapy in Reducing Back Pain and Improve Joint Mobility in Older Women.” Ortopedia, traumatologia, rehabilitacja vol. 21,1 (2019): 45-55. doi:10.5604/01.3001.0013.1115
Fouquet N, Bodin J, Descatha A, et al. Prevalence of thoracic spine pain in a surveillance network. Occup Med (Lond). 2015;65(2):122-5.
Jäger, Ralf et al. “Comparison of rice and whey protein isolate digestion rate and amino acid absorption.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 10,Suppl 1 P12. 6 Dec. 2013, doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-S1-P12
Joy, Jordan M et al. “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance.” Nutrition journal vol. 12 86. 20 Jun. 2013, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-86
Medawar, Evelyn et al. “The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review.” Translational psychiatry vol. 9,1 226. 12 Sep. 2019, doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0552-0
Newby, PK et al. “Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 81,6 (2005): 1267-74. doi:10.1093/ajcn/81.6.1267
Pope, Malcolm H et al. “Spine ergonomics.” Annual review of biomedical engineering vol. 4 (2002): 49-68. doi:10.1146/annurev.bioeng.4.092101.122107
The information herein on Thoracic Back Pain is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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