The mid back is called the thoracic spine which contains 12 vertebrae. Our ribs attach to these vertebrae. Besides protection of the organs, the ribs give our mid back more rigidity. Thus, it is not injured as often or as severely as the neck and lower back which are more freely movable.
We will go over a few of the most common conditions:
Mid Back Scoliosis
This is a sideways or lateral curvature of the spine. As the curve progresses laterally, so does the rotation of the vertebrae. It has a genetic predisposition and is more common in females. In females, the onset of menses is important in scoliosis patients as it signifies the termination of the rapid growth phase during adolescence. If a scoliotic curve gets too large, braces or surgery may be performed. Very large curves may interfere with heart and lung function. Causes may be higher leptin levels, anatomically short leg on one side, a wedged vertebrae in the spine and misalignment of the first cervical vertebra (Atlas) which may begin at an early age. The upper cervical joints are rich in proprioceptors (nerve receptors for positioning). Chiropractors will evaluate the spine for a mechanical cause of the scoliosis. If found, treatment may be of benefit for individuals with alleviation of joint subluxations and increased spinal flexibility.
Shoulder Blade Pain
The shoulder blade is actually called the scapula. Problems in these regions are very common. The scapula articulates with the arm bone (humerus). The scapula is held onto the ribs of our backs entirely by muscles. The scapula also provides around one third of our shoulder motion. Muscle imbalance and weakness plays a large role in shoulder blade pain. Weakness in the muscles in our back like the rhomboids, rotator cuff and rear deltoids allow the shoulders to roll forward. This causes an imbalance which leaves those muscles overstretched. Now add powerful muscles like the pecs and lats which pull the shoulders in towards the body and rotate them inward, and we have more complications. Occasionally, problems in the liver and gallbladder can refer pain to the right shoulder blade. Chiropractic evaluation will check for subluxations in the thoracic spine, postural balance, trigger points palpated if any and muscular stretches applied. If motion is restricted in the scapular articulation with the back of the ribs, proper motion may be restored.
Chiropractors, like other doctors, cannot diagnose or treat patients without examining them in person. The information provided on this site is for general educational purposes only. If you are concerned about actual symptoms or complaints, consult with your own chiropractor.