Paresthesia describes the tingling or pins and needles sensation in the skin due to conditions affecting the nerves. Causes of tingling in the middle of the back can include infections or structural abnormalities of the spine.

Doctors can determine the underlying cause of tingling in the mid back based on the location of the tingling and the presence of other symptoms. Other diagnostic tests may also be necessary.

Home remedies may help relieve the tingling, but a person may sometimes require medical interventions.

This article explores some reasons a person may feel tingling in the mid back, how to tell if it’s serious, preventing back pain and tingling, and more.

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The vertebrae bones of the spine protect the spinal column, which runs down the middle of the back from the brain and connects to each nerve in the body.

An issue with the structure of the spine may cause a person to feel numbness or tingling in the mid back due to the effect the condition has on the nerves in that area.

Some underlying medical conditions also affect the nerves and may cause tingling, including:


Shingles is a painful, itchy rash that typically develops in a single stripe on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that usually form a scab within 7–10 days and go away in 2–4 weeks.

Before the rash occurs, a person may feel pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will appear. This can happen a few days before the rash shows up.

Shingles happens due to the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Learn more about shingles.

Herniated disc

A herniated disc in the spine means that the disc between the vertebra gets pushed out of place. Herniated discs are a common reason for back pain.

Unlike regular back pain, the pain from a herniated disc can feel more like a burning or stinging sensation and might even spread down to the legs. It can also cause weakness or tingling.

Read about the causes and treatment of a herniated disk.

Spinal infection

Spinal infections can happen after surgery or as a complication of other conditions, such as infections, fractures, and injuries. People with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of developing a spinal infection.

Spinal infections can cause irritation or harm to the nerves in the spine, leading to various symptoms, such as:

  • back pain and stiffness
  • numbness or tingling feelings
  • muscle spasms or weakness
  • warmth and redness in the affected area
  • fever

Treatment for infection may involve antibiotics and pain relief medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Learn about antibiotics.


Spondylolisthesis is when a vertebra in the spine slips out of place, causing pain or other symptoms related to the nerves, such as tingling in the back.

Spondylolisthesis can occur due to back trauma or other reasons, such as degenerative wear and tear of the spine. The most common area for spondylolisthesis is in the lower back or lumbar spine, but it can also happen in the mid back or thoracic spine.

Learn more about spondylolisthesis.

Experiencing tingling in the mid back can vary in seriousness depending on its underlying cause. In some cases, tingling may not cause immediate concern and could relate to temporary issues such as muscle strain or poor posture.

However, tingling in the back can also be a symptom of more serious conditions, which may require medical attention and treatment.

If other symptoms, like weakness, loss of sensation, or severe pain, accompany the tingling, it is important to consult a doctor.

Treatment for tingling in the back depends on the underlying cause. Here are some possibilities:

  • Physical therapy: This includes exercises to improve range of motion and strengthen affected muscles.
  • Pain management: Medications like NSAIDs or pain relievers can help manage discomfort.
  • Rest: This involves taking it easy and avoiding activities that worsen symptoms.
  • Bracing: A brace or splint may sometimes support the affected area and reduce nerve strain.
  • Antiviral medications or antibiotics: A doctor may prescribe antiviral medications or antibiotics, which may help shorten the duration and intensity of the infection.
  • Surgery: In severe cases when conservative treatments do not work, doctors may consider surgery to relieve nerve pressure.

While it is not always possible to prevent medical conditions that cause tingling in the back, a person can follow these measures to help reduce their risk:

Remember that each condition has specific risk factors and prevention strategies. Always consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and to understand the best ways to prevent or manage these conditions.

To help prevent shingles, people should get the herpes zoster vaccine after age 50.

It is important to consult a doctor right away if someone experiences severe tingling in the back that does not go away after a few days.

People should seek immediate medical attention if the tingling is combined with any of the following symptoms:

  • loss of coordination or trouble using the arms or legs
  • loss of bowel and bladder function
  • sudden, intense pain and numbness down one or both legs

Tingling in the mid back may occur due to a problem with the spine or a condition, such as an infection. A person should seek medical attention if they are experiencing tingling in the back and other symptoms such as weakness, numbness, or loss of bowel or bladder function.