Trigger Points – 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 when getting into, or maintaining this standing bow pose are a prime example of what could activate this trigger point.

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

Self Care

You will get temporary 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. I better choice may be to use a vapo-coolant like Icy-Hot for relief while the tissues heal.

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

line - black 400


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.

line - black 400

Related Posts



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.

Question? Comment? Typo?

The Body

(404) 226-1363