Thoracic Back Pain

Chicagoland Pain Management

Interventional Pain Management Specialists located in Bolingbrook, IL & Hinsdale, IL

Thoracic back pain between your shoulders and down your lower back can have many causes, but the result is often severe, disabling pain. The highly qualified physicians at Chicagoland Pain Management in Bolingbrook and Hinsdale, Illinois, have extensive expertise in diagnosing the cause of chronic thoracic back pain and providing relief from the symptoms. Call Chicagoland Pain Management today to find out more, or book an appointment online.

Thoracic Back Pain Q & A

What is thoracic back pain?

Thoracic back pain affects the thoracic vertebrae in the middle section of your back, between the cervical (neck) vertebrae and the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae.

In comparison to the cervical and lumbar regions, the thoracic spine isn’t very flexible, acting mainly as a stabilizer for the rest of the spine and protecting the internal organs. As a result, the thoracic region is less prone to soft tissue injuries than the cervical and lumbar areas, but there are still many potential causes of thoracic back pain.

What causes thoracic back pain?

Thoracic back pain is most often caused by conditions such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Thoracic radiculopathy
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Post-rib fracture pain syndrome
  • Post-mastectomy pain syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Scoliosis

Another cause of thoracic back pain is intercostal neuralgia, which is pain originating in the intercostal nerves in the spinal cord, below your ribs. If these nerves are irritated, inflamed, or compressed, it can cause thoracic back pain. Intercostal neuralgia may be idiopathic, meaning there’s no identifiable cause, or it could be due to:

  • Chest trauma
  • Shingles (postherpetic neuralgia)
  • Trapped nerves

Some patients experience intercostal neuralgia following an operation called a thoracotomy. If you need surgery for conditions such as lung cancer, the surgeon may need to open your chest, which occasionally causes damage to the intercostal nerve and then post-thoracotomy pain.

What treatments are available for thoracic back pain?

The initial approach to treating thoracic back pain is medication, either over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medicines, or prescription painkillers from your doctor. A combination of rest and physical therapy using specialized stretches and exercises can also alleviate pain and restore function.

If these initial treatments aren’t providing the necessary level of pain relief, or if you have severe pain, your doctor at Chicagoland Pain Management can recommend further treatments, such as:

  • Thoracic epidural steroid injections
  • Thoracic medial branch blocks
  • Thoracic medial branch radiofrequency lesioning
  • Thoracic medial branch cooled radiofrequency lesioning
  • Intercostal nerve blocks

These treatments aim to block or disrupt the pain signals, preventing them from reaching the brain and thus relieving chronic pain. To find out more about the innovative treatments for thoracic back pain, call Chicagoland Pain Management today, or book an appointment online.