Aching and Burning in the mid back

Client Description

These people complain of aching or burning pain over the kidneys. Many of them have already had their kidneys checked but have not found any problems. If they have not had their kidneys checked, I refer them to a medical doctor.

If this is your pain pattern, you should seek medical treatment before you consult a bodyworker.

It is usually an annoying pain that causes the person to stretch and fidget to get relief. Chairs that press into this area can aggravate the trigger point.

If they can name an activity that caused this, it involves a combination of awkward twisting and breathing, like this problem with iliocostalis lumborum, which creates pain in the same area. Reaching up and back while twisting in sports or construction work can twist these lower ribs and activate this trigger point.

The teetering and sudden shifts in balance that might occur in this standing bow pose are a prime example of what could activate this trigger point. but it is more likely to be caused by leaning back on a ladder to paint the edge of the roof or reaching back to turn that light off on the roof of the car.


Some research suggests that a sharp poke to the mid-back, just under the shoulder blade, can activate this trigger point.

This muscle is more active in coughing and barfing. I can’t help you with the hangover but this post has good information about how to stop the coughing with a little Ice-and-Stretch.

Self Care

Stay away from these weird activities that reach back and up while trying to balance oneself. As for the poking, stay away from those backstabbers. To stop the coughing, click here.

For Relief on the Go.

Put this one over the red spot in the picture above but make sure that the inside edge goes over the spine a little bit. This will help to mobilize those stuck rib heads. They’re available here on Amazon.

You will get some relief from heat and ice. Heat may make it feel good and be worse later if the costovertebral joints are at play here. Heat closer to the angle of the rib and away from the spine to avoid inflaming those joints. always finish with ice. You can reference this post on how to use an ice pack alone or with heat. together.  

If this pain persists, and you have been cleared of kidney problems by your doctor, see a bodyworker for lasting relief.

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Therapy Notes

This trigger point can be difficult to resolve. It is often overlooked as it is uncommon. Also, the muscle is often forgotten as it is difficult to determine its function with electromyographical studies.

This injury tends to be associated with binding costovertebral joints or blunt trauma. Releasing those joints can be tedious. Gentle myofascial work on the muscles after releasing the joints can offer immediate relief.



This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

Pain relief that is
quicker and more effective
than traditional stretching.

This post covers the basics of Ice-and-Stretch, a tool that is used extensively in these posts combined with Active Isolated Stretching and Yoga poses.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read, more accessible, and
to include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there will be inconsistency in formatting, content, and readability until we get the old posts updated. Please excuse our mess.