The thoracic area of the spine comprises the upper and middle portion of the back. Pain in the thoracic spine can be completely debilitating for patients, as the thoracic spine plays a vital role for many types of movement. Pain in the upper and middle back can have a serious impact on functional abilities of patients, and a serious impact on quality of life and mental health.
We have set out below 3 starter exercises for targeting thoracic pain.
The thoracic spine is the longest section of the back, consisting of 12 vertebrae and the rib cage. It is an important part of the body, and plays a number of key functional roles. This portion of the spine needs to provide a strong and stable base for arm and neck movement, whilst allowing for rotational movement through the body. Simultaneously, the rib cage needs to expand and contract to facilitate inhalation and exhalation, whilst providing a stable structure to protect the internal organs. As a result, there are numerous structures at work within the thoracic spine, and each of these can contribute to pain, or become injured.
A common example of a thoracic spine issue is upper back pain related to posture. In our modern day, office based society, it is very common for days spent hunched over a keyboard to lead to joint overload and muscle pain in the upper back.
The major symptom of a thoracic spine problem is pain, which in turn often causes restricted range of movement. Generally, the pain is located across the middle and upper back, but it is also sometimes located across the chest, in cases where the pain has been referred.
The pain is often aggravated by some or all of the following triggers:
Stiffness can also be present, for example where patients are suffering from osteoarthritis.
As mentioned above, one of the major causes of thoracic spine problems is prolonged postures, where patients hold a stationary position for a sustained period of time beyond the tolerance of the muscles and joints. Conditions affecting the thoracic spine include:
In extremely rare cases, thoracic pain can be related to more serious conditions such as cancer. If you are suffering from any of these additional symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible:
Before setting out a treatment plan, your Home Physio will carry out a thorough assessment of your symptoms in order to ascertain the source of the problem. They will consider the history of the condition, as well as the presentation of the symptoms and pain.
Your assessment will include a physical examination, and consideration of your movement and strength. Your physiotherapist will also palpate the spine, feeling for joint restriction and muscle tenderness.
Treatment of your thoracic spine issues will be tailored to you, depending on the findings of the physiotherapy assessment. Treatment options include:
If you are looking for a local home physiotherapist to assist you with your thoracic spine pain or problem, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us for a consultation. Contact us on the form below, phone 0203 730 8062 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org