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Mid Back Pain While Breathing: Causes, Symptoms, & Remedies

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Worried about mid-back pain when breathing? Look no further.

In my extensive research as a certified doctor, references like the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation have cited “muscular strain” and “spinal complications” as significant contributors to this unsettling discomfort[1]. Is there a way out?

In this article, I’ll unpack the root causes, delve into proven remedies, and guide you on when to consult an expert.

Dive in to finally say goodbye to this unbearable pain.

Key Takeaways

  • Early intervention for mid-back pain when breathing is critical for effective treatment.
  • Exercise and posture correction are often critical components of relief.
  • Persistent or severe mid-back pain when breathing warrants immediate medical attention.

Are You Struggling with Mid Back Pain When Breathing? 4 Signs It’s Time To Get Help

Breathing should be effortless, but mid-back pain disrupts this rhythm. This pain could indicate muscle strain, respiratory issues, or spinal conditions. 

woman having Mid Back Pain While Breathing

If you notice these signs, it’s time to get help!

1. Intensifying Pain Over Time

While occasional discomfort can sometimes be brushed off, a consistent increase in pain intensity is a red flag. Consider seeking medical help if:

  • Your pain level escalates over a few days or weeks.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t making a significant difference.
  • The pain disrupts daily activities like sleeping or eating.

2. Accompanying Chest Discomfort

Mid-back pain paired with chest discomfort can be indicative of severe conditions. It’s essential to consult a professional if:

  • The pain spreads to your chest, neck, or shoulders.
  • There’s a squeezing or heavy sensation in the chest.
  • These symptoms occur with shortness of breath or dizziness.

3. Weakness or Numbness

Any signs of weakness, tingling, or numbness, mainly if localized to one side, should be taken seriously. Reach out for medical assistance if:

  • You feel a sudden or progressive weakness in your arms or legs.
  • There’s numbness or a tingling sensation in any part of the body.
  • These sensations persist or worsen over time.

4. Associated with Trauma or Injury

If your pain results from a specific injury or trauma, even if it seemed minor at the time, it’s crucial to check it. This is particularly true if:

  • The pain begins after a fall, accident, or sudden movement.
  • There’s visible swelling or bruising.
  • Movement exacerbates the pain significantly.

Pain, especially when tied to an act as fundamental as breathing, should never be ignored.

While the body is adept at signaling when something is wrong, it’s up to us to listen, interpret, and act.

Recognizing these signs is the first step toward addressing the root cause and restoring the natural ease of every breath.

Dive deeper into the potential underlying causes of such pain and the range of treatment options in the next section.

Mid Back Pain When Breathing | 5 Common Causes

Mid-back pain manifests in myriad ways, affecting people differently: some may experience back pain while standing, others through muscle strains and sprains, while some might be influenced by stress and lifestyle factors (e.g., eating the wrong foods with inadequate physical activity).

However, the proper intervention often stops many of these conditions (see next section).

The five common issues are as follows:

1. Muscle Strains and Sprains

man showing muscle sprain at the back

A striking study by StatPearls Publishing stresses its global impact, highlighting that around 23% of adults worldwide deal with persistent low back pain[2].

Muscle strains and sprains are among the most prevalent causes of mid-back discomfort.

Repetitive motions, heavy lifting, or abrupt twisting can overstress the muscles, leading to acute or chronic pain.

2. Spinal Issues

Conditions like herniated discs, osteoarthritis, or spinal stenosis can cause nerve pressure, contributing to pain that radiates through the mid-back area.

3. Pleuritis

Also known as pleurisy, this inflammation of the lining around the lungs makes breathing deeply a painful experience.

It is a stark example of how interconnected our body systems are — an issue with the respiratory lining triggering significant back pain.

4. Stress and Lifestyle Factors

Chronic stress, poor posture, and sedentary lifestyles can exacerbate back pain.

The back, neck, and shoulder muscles can become tense and tight under chronic stress, contributing to discomfort.

5. Less Common, But Significant Causes

Though relatively rare, fractures, infections, and tumors can also be at the root of mid-back pain and must be addressed promptly.

This data reveals the cyclical nature of back pain, which is enlightening yet disconcerting—it is often not just a one-time event but a recurring issue for many.

This highlights the importance of addressing the pain and implementing preventive measures to break the cycle.

Educating ourselves on these common causes isn’t just an academic exercise; it’s a necessary step toward reclaiming comfort, mobility, and quality of life.

Let’s now explore strategies and remedies to alleviate this pain and prevent future episodes, aiming for a life where each breath is free and clear of discomfort.

Diving Deep into Home Remedies & Beneficial Exercises

Harnessing the power of nature combined with movement might be the holistic key to combatting back pain.

Traditional home remedies and specialized exercises can complement each other, offering relief and strengthening against future discomfort.

1. Heating and Cooling Techniques

Both play a pivotal role in pain management. While heat relaxes tensed muscles and promotes circulation, cold compresses can mitigate swelling and provide immediate numbing. For best results, cycle between the two.

2. Magnesium-Enriched Baths

Epsom salts, renowned for their rich magnesium content, can be a boon when merged with a warm soak. The result? Eased muscles and diminished pain.

3. Natural Pain-Relievers

Turmeric and ginger, revered for ages, are powerhouses of anti-inflammatory benefits. Regularly consuming these, maybe in a soothing tea, could pave the way for relief.

4. Personalized Exercise Blueprint

  1. Flexibility Boosters: Incorporating daily stretches can elevate flexibility and alleviate muscle tightness. Focus on movements that nurture your back and core.
  2. Cardio Activities: Engage in exercises like brisk walking or cycling. These amplify circulation and trigger endorphins, the body’s innate pain regulators.
  3. Strengthening and Core Workouts: Building a robust core acts as a protective shield for the spine, possibly warding off recurrent pain.
  4. Mindful Breathing and Meditation: These practices not only divert attention from pain but also diminish stress, a known aggravator of pain symptoms.

In our information-rich age, many insights on natural remedies and exercises await exploration.

While it’s a privilege to access this knowledge, it’s crucial to discern and adapt solutions that resonate with your unique health profile.

For more tips on treating your back pain, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/7mlnguqvrsA

Head to the next section for common questions, tips, and solutions!


1. Can anxiety contribute to mid-back pain when breathing?

Anxiety can cause muscles to tense up, which may lead to discomfort or pain in the mid back when breathing deeply.

2. Are there exercises that can relieve this pain?

Yes, stretches and strengthening exercises for the back and core can help alleviate this pain.

3. When should I see a doctor for mid-back pain when breathing?

If the pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like fever or shortness of breath, it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately.


Mid-back pain when breathing is more than just a physical nuisance; it’s a signal from your body that something needs attention.

Early detection and treatment are paramount, whether it’s a muscle strain, spinal issue, or a condition as serious as pleurisy.

As a seasoned healthcare professional, I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your body and acting promptly.

This guide provides actionable steps and professional insights to empower you to address this issue proactively and effectively.


1. Casiano, Vincent E., et al. “Back Pain.” PubMed, StatPearls Publishing, 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538173/#:~:text=Back%20pain%20is%20widespread%20in.

2. “Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation.” IOS Press, 30 June 2023, www.iospress.com/catalog/journals/journal-of-back-and-musculoskeletal-rehabilitation.

3. Nall, Rachel. “Back Pain When Breathing: 8 Causes and When to See a Doctor.” Www.medicalnewstoday.com, 26 Feb. 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324549#scoliosis. Accessed 19 Aug. 2023.

About Author

Lamia A Kader, MD
Lamia A Kader is a Medical Doctor and a Medical Research Professional with a Ph.D. in Clinical Research. ISMMS, USA. She had enhanced her medical knowledge of medical devices and equipment development and innovation by attending clinical meetings, local national courses, journal clubs, and conferences, in addition to e-learning, subscribing to major medical journals and keeping an eye on latest trends in medicine and keeping an eye on clinical trials industry and healthcare marketing current trends. She had participated in several medical device innovation projects by conducting clinical research studies, developing clinical trial protocols, writing patient safety narratives and “Medical Device Risk Assessment Reports” to transform new medical technologies into real products that save and improve lives. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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