doctor checking the patient's mid-back pain

Breathing Troubles? Unraveling Mid-Back Pain Causes & Remedies

Concerned about pain in your mid-back during respiration? Read on!

From my experience as a former back pain sufferer, it's startling to learn - and as confirmed by Medical experts at WebMD - that about 1 in 4 individuals diagnosed with lung cancer had experienced back pain at some stage post-diagnosis - but is pain consistently severe? [1]

In this post, I'll decode the primary triggers, share proven solutions, and advise when to seek professional help.

Get ready to tackle this nagging pain once and for all.

Key Takeaways

  • Timely action against mid-back pain during breathing enhances successful treatment.
  • Adjusting posture and performing exercises are vital for relief.
  • Intense or continuous mid-back pain during breathing demands urgent medical care.

    Understanding Mid-Back Pain During Respiration: Key Indicators

    Breathing should be as easy as a breeze, but a sharp pain in the mid-back during respiration can be problematic. This pain may arise from muscle strain, lung complications, or issues with the thoracic spine—or something more serious.

    Before diving into potential causes and indicators, it's essential to consider the practical aspects of addressing such pain, including support options like braces. In this context, one might wonder, "Does Medicare cover braces?"

    Understanding the coverage details can be crucial when considering treatment options for back pain associated with respiratory distress.

    1. Weakness or Numb Sensations

    Symptoms like unexplained weakness or numbness, particularly on one side, require prompt attention.

    • A sudden decline in limb strength.
    • Experiencing numbness or a tingling sensation.
    • These symptoms persist or become more pronounced.

    2. Pain Coupled with Chest Ailments

    Mid-back pain paired with chest discomfort can be a red flag for severe health conditions.

    man with chest ailment

    Such symptoms include...

    • Pain radiating to your chest, neck, or shoulders.
    • An oppressive weight or tightness in the chest area.
    • Shortness of breath or dizziness accompanies this pain.

    3. Persistent and Escalating Pain

    While minor aches are often shrugged off, you shouldn't overlook a gradually intensifying pain. Symptoms to look for are...

    • Severe pain escalating over consecutive days.
    • Over-the-counter painkillers fall short in relief.
    • Pain interferes with basic activities like eating and rest.

    4. Post-Injury Pain

    Any pain resulting from an accident or unusual movement needs evaluation, even if seemingly trivial. These are...

    • Pain onset after an unexpected jolt, fall, or twist.
    • Visible inflammation or bruising at the pain site.
    • Pain exacerbated by movement.

    5. Difficulty with Deep Breathing

    Struggling with taking a deep breath might indicate underlying issues, especially without evident reasons.

    lady having difficulty in breathing

    These are...

    • Feeling restrained when attempting to inhale deeply.
    • Profound breathing results in intensified pain.
    • This symptom consistently emerges without external triggers.

    6. Night-Time Pain Surges

    When pain flares explicitly during the night, don't ignore these symptoms.

    • Pain spikes make sleep elusive.
    • Constant need to shift positions for comfort.
    • The pain seems unrelated to daytime activities.

    7. Fever or Unexplained Weight Loss

    If these symptoms accompany mid-back pain, seeking medical counsel is essential.

    • A persistent or high fever.
    • Sudden, unexplained weight loss over a short period.
    • Fatigue or a feeling of general malaise.

    8. Chronic Cough or Breathlessness

    These symptoms (consistent cough, shortness of breath, and back pain) can indicate respiratory issues.

    lady with chronic cough

    • Persistent dry cough without a clear cause.
    • Feeling breathless even after minor activities.
    • Symptoms persisting for weeks without improvement.

    Breathing is fundamental. When pain intertwines with such an essential function, it's vital to act. Your body is an intricate system that communicates issues through symptoms.

    While aiming for effortless, pain-free respiration, recognizing these signs is the first step toward a treatment plan...

    Now, scroll down for the common reasons you're experiencing such awful pain!

    5 Common Reasons for Mid-Back Pain During Respiration

    Different people experience mid-back pain for various reasons: from muscle overexertion to lifestyle choices. However, with timely action, most can find relief.

    The five usual culprits are:

    1. Muscle Overexertion

    • Muscle overexertions are a primary source of mid-back pain.
    • Repetitive actions or sudden twists can strain muscles, causing temporary or lasting pain.

    2. Spinal Complications

    • Problems like disc herniation or spinal stenosis can put pressure on nerves, causing pain in the mid-back.

    3. Pleuritis

    • Known as pleurisy, inflammation of the lungs' lining can make deep breaths painful, emphasizing the body's interconnected nature.

    4. Lifestyle and Stress

    • Continuous stress, bad posture, and inactive lifestyles can aggravate back issues.
    • How can flexibility training reduce the risk of back pain? By improving the range of motion and promoting muscle balance, flexibility training can play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of stress and poor posture on the back.
    • Chronic stress can tense back and neck muscles, adding to the pain.

    5. Lung Cancer

    • As mentioned, chronic mid-back pain can be a sign of lung cancer - so don't take it lightly.
    • This link stresses a profound connection between lung ailments and mid-back discomfort.

    Understanding these frequent reasons is essential for knowledge and restoring comfort and quality of life.

    NEXT: Let's delve into potential relief measures and preventive strategies.

    Exploring Treatments & Helpful Exercises

    Natural remedies coupled with exercise might be the holistic answer to back pain.

    Treatments and targeted exercises can help, offering relief and future prevention.

    1. Heat and Cold Therapies

    Both are essential for pain relief.

    Heat soothes muscles and improves blood flow, while cold reduces inflammation and numbs the area. Alternating between them often yields the best results.

    2. Magnesium-Rich Baths

    Bathing in Epsom salts, known for magnesium, can soothe and reduce pain.

    3. Natural Anti-Inflammatories

    Age-old remedies like turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties. A regular cup of tea infused with these can help.

    4. Customized Exercise Routine

    • Enhancing Flexibility: Daily stretches can improve flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness.
    • Cardio Workouts: Walking or biking can boost blood flow and stimulate endorphins, natural painkillers.
    • Strength and Core Training: A strong core can protect the spine and potentially prevent future pain.
    • Mindfulness and Meditation: These can not only divert attention from pain but also reduce stress, a known pain trigger.

      5. Yoga and Pilates

      Once you amp up your workouts with yoga and pilates, you'll notice something: not only will your spinal health, flexibility, and core muscles get stronger, but your energy will increase.

      A captivating 2013 study on Iyengar yoga found that after an eight-week intervention, participants reported improved physical function, better sleep quality, healthier dietary choices, and decreased stress and anxiety levels [2].

      So, say YES to yoga as an invaluable part of a back health regimen!



      6. Back Braces: The STOT Brace

      Offering structural support and promoting posture correction, back braces like the STOT brace can be beneficial.

      They aid in distributing pressure uniformly, alleviating strain from the affected area. Through consistent wear, they can mitigate pain and provide a conducive environment for healing.

      In this digital age, numerous resources on natural treatments and exercises are at our fingertips.

      While having this information is a blessing, it's important to personalize solutions to your specific health need(s).

      For more insights, FAQs, and tips, read on!


      1. How do I balance hot and cold back pain treatments?

      It's best to start with cold packs right after an injury to curb swelling. After a couple of days, you can alternate with warm compresses.

      Additionally, considering back braces for women can provide added support and stability during the recovery period.

      Using each for about 20 minutes at a time often works wonders.

      2. Can taking turmeric and ginger daily have any unwanted effects?

      While they're natural, high doses might upset your stomach or clash with other meds you're on.

      It's a good call to chat with a doc before making them a daily thing.

      3. How quickly can yoga or mindful breathing relieve my aching back?

      Based on what I've seen, diving into 15 minutes of yoga or focused breathing daily can start showing positive vibes in just a few weeks.

      But remember, it's all about making it a regular gig for lasting comfort.


      Experiencing mid-back pain while breathing is a sign from your body that deserves attention. 

      Regardless of the cause, whether muscle tension, spinal challenges, or conditions like pleurisy, early identification and intervention are crucial.

      Drawing from my years in the medical field, I emphasize the importance of being attentive to your body's signals. 

      Don't forget to get a proper back brace such as the STOT brace to support your back optimally and give your back the support it needs!

      Lastly, leave a comment and tell me about your experiences with remedies. I'd love to hear from you!

      Until next time...


      1. The Link Between Lung Cancer and Back Pain [Internet]. WebMD. 2021 [cited 2023 Aug 20]. Available from:

      2. Stephens I. Medical Yoga Therapy. Children. 2017;4:12.

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