Thoracic Pain

Causes of thoracic pain include sudden injury or trauma, strain, or poor posture. More often than not, this type of pain seems to originate from irritation of surrounding muscles and soft tissues. Such irritation may be due to weakness, prolonged sitting, excessive weight bearing in the back region (e.g., carrying a heavy backpack), or repetitive motion. Furthermore, this region of the body often is affected by inflammatory, degenerative, infective, metabolic, and neoplastic conditions, all of which may lead to pain. Conditions such as primary and secondary osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and Scheuermann’s disease also are associated with thoracic pain. Some data suggest a connection between cervical spine stenosis and thoracic spine stenosis. Indicators of possible serious spinal issues include recent violent trauma, minor trauma (e.g., strenuous lifting), structural deformity, neurological issues of the lower extremities, constant pain (especially following two to four weeks of treatment), severe morning stiffness, fever, chills, unexplained weight loss, recent bacterial infection, and history of cancer, drug abuse, HIV, immunosuppression, or extended use of corticosteroids. While some episodes of thoracic pain will resolve without treatment, medical attention often is required when a secondary cause is present. Treatments include injection, physical therapy, and in some severe cases, surgery.