Many people encounter back pain at some time in their life. Mostly, people accuse back pain on their low backs or necks, but issues in the upper back are to blame. However, the thoracic spine doesn’t get much attention. It is the backbone of the lungs and heart, enclosed by a rib cage that covers vital organs.

Given the ability of the thoracic spine to move, the particular shape of your upper back and rib cage does not allow for as much mobility as you would expect. This is to protect your lungs and heart as excess motion could affect these main organs. Additionally, the vertebrae of the thoracic spine interlock with each other and serve as a strong halt during backbends, and again, to protect the internal organs.

Thoracic back pain is a discomfort that occurs in the thoracic spine. It seems to be more common in children and adolescents, particularly girls. 

Common Causes

The back has many tiny bones, muscles, nerves, and soft tissues that cover and shield the spinal cord. Pain can cause by a strain, stress, or damage to any of these structures, such as the following:

  • Inflammation of the muscles or soft tissues
  • Thoracic stenosis
  • Muscle and ligament strains
  • Slipped discs
  • Gradual wear and tear of tissues
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal infection
  • Shingles
  • Spinal osteoporosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Scheuermann’s disease
  • Spinal tumors

Not all pain in the thoracic spine arises from the spine itself. Other origins of pain in this area include conditions involving the lung, the uppermost portion of the intestine (the esophagus), the liver, the gallbladder, and the pancreas.


  • Sharp pain
  • Spasms
  • Throbbing pain
  • Weakening
  • Fatigue
  • Burning
  • Tingling or numbing pain


  • Resting the back
  • Limiting the activities
  • Taking OTC medications to ease the pain
  • Physical therapy

For years, it has been proven that physical therapy can help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion. When searching for the best and trustworthy physical therapist in the industry, look no further than Massage Rx!

See our video here to learn more about massage therapy for thoracic back pain:

All of our therapists here at Massage Rx are highly qualified to give you the best massage sessions available and enhance the healthy mobility of all your spinal joints so that lower back pain can be managed and treated.

For more information about us or to book our services, give us a call today!