health tips, health and wellness

Thoracic Back Pain

The Thoracic region

Thoracic mean the chest region and contains the rib cage, heart, lungs, other organs and the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine starts at the neck and goes down to the lumbar region, otherwise known as the lower back.



Smoking Causes Lower Back Pain

Are you looking for a reason to quite smoking but can’t find one to convince yourself that you really should. You don’t care about the fact that our hands, hair and clothes smell when you smoke. It doesn’t bother you that smoking yellows your teeth and your fingers. You aren’t’; afraid of lung cancer because everyone in your family are smokers and they all lave lived long lives. Even the fact that there are fewer public places that you can smoke doesn’t seem to bother you. So, if you need a reason to consider stopping smoking how about that fact that studies are tying smoking to lower back pain? Would you stop if you realized that the back pain you experience way to often could be tied to this habit?

 The first thing to understand is why smokers more likely to suffer from back pain. The answer is not conclusive. After many studies researchers have concluded that there is a high incidence of people who suffer from back pain who are smokers, but the reason remains unclear. Its thought that its possible that something in cigarettes affects the messages sent to the brain and so causes the brain to misinterpret pain messages. Others suggest that smoking damages tissues in the body, more specifically in the lower back, and so weakens this area allowing for pain to creep in. Still another theory is that smoking interferes with blood flow. If this is true then it could diminish the amount of nutrients that are reaching the muscles, bones and joints. This could account for the back pain that smokers are experiencing.

 At one time researchers felt that it was just a matter of coincidence that smokers seemed to have more back pain than non-smokers. They tried to look for other things that smokers had in common. Was it possible that depression was a factor of both conditions? Those who suffer from depression are more likely to smoke, but that could not account for the back pain.

 Can forty studies be wrong? There are at least that many that see a correlation between smoking and lower back pain. They still cannot pinpoint its cause but they can prove without a doubt in their minds hat there is something that gives smokers lower back pain. Researchers wonder how the smoking may be connected to this back pain. Some wonder if smokers universally have similar habits that may contribute to back pain. Do they cough more, perhaps making sudden movements that strain their backs? Are they more likely to bend over to pick up a dropped cigarette or stretch to reach an ashtray?

 It does not matter that researchers have not yet found what the connection is. What is important is that they are certain there is one. So, if you experience a lot of lower back pain, and you are a smoker, this may be the reason you have been looking for to finally kick the habit thus improving your health in two ways.


There are 12 vertebrae making up the thoracic spine and each vertebra is connected to a rib on either side. The area where the lower thoracic vertebrae join with the top lumbar vertebrae is where the spine allows twisting from side to side.

The thoracic spine is very rigid compared to the neck and lumbar region of the spine, as it is not made for mobility.

Thoracic back pain

The most common form of back pain in the thoracic region is muscular irritation and soft tissue problems. These are generally caused by trauma, repetitive strain injury, poor posture, joint problems, a compression fracture to a vertebra and lack of strength.

Some forms of back pain just need rest to alleviate the issues, while sufferers can take anti-inflammatory medicines to help alleviate the pain. Other forms need physical therapy, exercise, deep massage and manual manipulation.

There are alternative medicines that can help with a lot of the problems like acupuncture, which is the treatment of inserting lots of small needles into the problem area. Acupuncture is said to be a great form of medicine to restore health, well being and reducing pain.

Uncommon Thoracic conditions

Because of the strength in the thoracic region and the lack of motion carried out, disc herniations and disc degeneration are very rare in this region making only 1% of all those diagnosed with either condition.

Trauma and impact does cause damage to the thoracic spine, again this is only a small percentage and only affects those who have been in a severe trauma as damage generally affects the lumbar region.

Muscle pain in the upper back

The thoracic region is also known as the upper back, and while it does not cause as much back pain from spinal injury as the lumbar region, it does cause a lot of people to suffer pain from the muscles.

The muscles in the upper back can become strained and cause great pain; breathing or moving normally intensifies the pain.

Muscle pain is caused by lifting heavy items, sitting at a desk for long period of times so the back muscles become stiff or even by coughing or sneezing hard.

To alleviate muscle pain in the back you can use icepacks for twenty or thirty minutes at a time, anti inflammatory medication, relaxants for muscles and deep muscle massages.


Back pain can be an awful experience that makes the sufferer feel like they don’t even want to get out of bed, every movement feels painful from breathing to eat, walking to lying on your side.

If you are suffering with pain in the back region then you need to take care of the issue and try to protect further damage from occurring, if it persists visit a medical consultant.