Where Are the Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Located?

Our back can be broadly categorized into three different regions: the upper, middle, and lower back. When we experience back pain, it is in either one of these regions. In this article, we will discuss the location of the upper, middle, and lower back and the causes of pain in these regions.

Where are the upper, middle, and lower backs located?

We should learn about the upper, middle, and lower back and their location before going into the causes of pain in these regions.

The upper back

The area above the lower back (lumbar spine) and below the cervical spine (neck) is referred to as the upper back. The thoracic spine (upper back) is linked to your ribs and sternum and is the most stable portion of the spine. It supports your upper body’s entire weight.

The middle back

The area above the bottom of the rib cage and below the neck is known as the middle back. This region has 12 vertebrae (backbones) numbered T1 through T12 and is known as the thoracic spine. Vertebral disks are located between them. This area is also called the lower thoracic spine.

The lower back

The lower back (lumbar spine) is the anatomical area between the top section of your buttock and your lowest rib. The lower back is made up of five vertebrae designated L1 to L5. The spine is naturally bent inwards. This area is located between the thoracic portion of the spine and the sacrum.

What causes upper, middle, and lower back pain?

Now we know about the location of the upper, middle, and lower back. Let’s take a look at what causes pain in these regions.

The upper back

The pain in the upper back is less prevalent than in the lower back. Overuse, muscular strain, or damage to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support your spine are the most common causes of upper back discomfort. These include poor posture, carrying heavy weights, vertebral fractures, osteoarthritis, and herniated discs.

The middle back

What causes sharp pain in middle of back? Sharp middle back pain can be caused by repeated pressure on the spine. This pressure can be contributed by obesity, falls, poor posture, fractures, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. It can also arise from injuries and sprains during accidents and activities that strain your back.

The lower back

Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain across all ages. The various causes include muscle strain, ligament sprain, sudden movements, falls, poor posture, fracture, blunt trauma, and twists.

The other causes are lumbar herniated discs, degenerative discs, facet joint dysfunction, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, osteoarthritis, and compression fracture. Abnormal spine curvatures like kyphosis, lordosis and scoliosis, sciatica, spinal infections, and tumors can also cause chronic lower back pain.


Now that you know the location and causes of pain in these regions, you can look to treat them. You can perform exercises, do physical therapy, apply heat and cold, pain-relieving creams, and take medications. Try to keep surgery as the last option.