Pain in thoracic spine (or more commonly called the mid back) can be quite scary. You can be fine and all of a sudden you get a sharp pain that takes the breath out of you and lock you up. But don’t worry, it’s very rarely a serious condition and it can recover pretty quickly provided it is managed well at the start!

How does mid back pain happen?

It can happen various ways – the most common ones we see are:

  • Doing a quick rotational movement like unloading the groceries in the car or picking up a child.
  • Sitting or being in one position for a long time.
  • Things like stress and lack of sleep can also contribute as well.

The first thing to do when it happens

BREATHE – take a slow, deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Your first couple of deep breaths might hurt a little, but as you do a few more it will get easier and easier.

I breathe 543256060 times a day, why do I need to focus on doing more?

There are close to 20 muscles that assist the body with breathing (not just the diaphragm!). Majority these muscles are in fact attached to the mid back as well. So if your breathing is restricted, it will affect how well the muscles are doing in the back – and vice versa. A slow and controlled breath can help these muscles settle as well as calming the central nervous system down.

Think about it like a pulled hamstring muscle

Once the pain and discomfort has relatively settled, just like you would for a pulled hammy, you will need to get it moving and make it strong. This is the best way to prevent you from having this nasty pain again.

As you move into the harder exercises – it is still important to time your breathing with your movements. We typically ask our patients to take a breath out as they go into the stretch or when they have to contract the muscle.


As always feel free to message us on the drift chat box, email or book in online at 1 of our 3 locations in Sydney;

iMove Physio Miranda

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  • Miranda
  • Sylvania
  • Gymea
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iMove Physio Panania

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  • Panania
  • Revesby
  • Revesby Heights
  • East Hills
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  • Padstow
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iMove Physio Rozelle

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  • Rozelle
  • Balmain
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  • Birchgrove
  • Drummoyne
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  • Marrickville