Active trigger points, specific inflamed areas of the upper back from which pain radiates, are a typical symptom of certain forms of thoracic pain, states Spine Health. In addition, thoracic pain is often accompanied by muscle inflammation.
Malfunctions of the thoracic spine and surrounding tissue are a typical source of thoracic pain, states Spine Health. The most common cause of this form of pain is muscular irritation or tension, a condition known as myofascial pain. Compression fractures of the upper back vertebrae can also trigger thoracic pain; lower thoracic vertebrae are particular prone to this type of fracturing.
Dysfunctions of the joints at which ribs attach to successive levels of the thoracic spine can also cause this kind of pain, states Spine Health. Malfunctions of the shock-absorbing discs separating thoracic vertebrae that include disc degeneration and disc herniation can also cause thoracic pain; however, these problems tend to be rare due to the relatively immobile nature of the thoracic spine.
Arthritis can cause swelling in the spine, placing pressure on nerves and eventually triggering thoracic pain, states Spine Health. Deformities due to congenital conditions and posture, such as kyphosis, or hunchback, and scoliosis, an abnormal sideways curve of the spine, can also lead to thoracic pain. Unrelated underlying conditions such as certain forms of cancer, heart disease and kidney infections can also trigger this form of pain.